One news item in particular worried me lately in the Colombian press: theatre director Patricia Ariza is being accused of ties with the leftist guerrilla group FARC in Colombia. Her artistic work with poor communities supposedly is only a façade for the recruitment of the poor masses she would be doing for the FARC. She is not the only leftist person to whom accusations have been expressed. (The painting on the right was made by surrealist Max Ernst in 1921)
But the most curious thing is that her ties with nadaism in the past and her having been a hippy also is an indication for FARC-sympathies. If this wouldn’t be shocking and dangerous, you would laugh about it.
Yes it is dangerous. Just to mention an example: the sociologist Alfredo Correa De Andreis, who was also accused of relations with the FARC, was killed a few years ago. The lawyer of his family was threatened by paramilitaries, according to the weekly Semana in its edition of 28 April 2008.
Ariza told the press that she isn’t going to shut up because of fear, but obviously she should be careful. Fortunately she got a lot of national and international support. That is also a form of protection.
About Ariza I want to tell that in 2007 the Dutch government gave her the Prince Claus Award. She won the prize “for her outstanding work over decades to empower the disadvantaged, enabling them to transform their lives through cultural activities, for her efforts to counteract injustice and restore social memory, and for her energetic commitment to the reduction of conflict”.
According to the weekly Cambio what happens to Ariza is not new. The government of president Julio César Turbay (1978-1982) persecuted several artists because they were leftist. When he discovered that he was on a list of suspects, the famous writer Gabriel García Márquez fled Colombia and ever since he is living in Mexico.
It is a sad thing if this story really is going to repeat itself. Read also my post Holiday in Argentina.
And today 21 of January someone told me about a raid in a cultural centre, something which is similar to what is happening to Patricia Ariza. I must admit that I only know one side of the story, but I am worried.