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Colombia - Political Flags

Last modified: 2005-04-09 by dov gutterman
Keywords: colombia | m19 | popular national alliance | farc ep | moir |
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Editorial Remark: It must be noted that all the opinions are of the authors and not of FOTW. Our site is non-political and concentrates only on vexillological issues.

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Traditional Political Parties - The Liberal Party and The Conservative Party

Partido Conservador Colombiano

Partido Liberal Colombiano

The flags of Colombia's traditional political parties. Both were founded in 1848, the Partido Liberal Colombiano - Liberal Party's traditional color is red, and the Partido Conservador Colombiano - Conservative Party's traditional color is blue. They've shared power for most of the XIX and XX centuries, a famous joke says that the true meaning of the Colombian flag is: Yellow for our riches, blue and red for those that distribute them among themselves. The "L" and "C" were adopted as "official logos" and featured in the flags.
Jaime Vengoechea, 10 Febuary 2003

Bolivarian Movement for the New Colombia (Movimiento Bolivariano para la Nueva Colombia)

by Guillermo Aveledo, 30 November 2000

Here's the flag of the Movimiento Bolivariano para la Nueva Colombia (Bolivarian Movement for the New Colombia), what has been instituted as the political wing of the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP), and founded early this year.
The flag is a typical Colombian tricolori, with a portrait of Simon Bolivar (in black and white and certain shades of grey) centered on it. The portrait used is a reproduction of the famous (and supposedly more accurate) portrait of Bolivar engraved by French artist Francois Desire Roulin (1796-1874) at Bogota dated February 15th, 1828.
Oddly enough, it seems an unbecomig choice for a revolutionary party/army: by 1828 Bolivar was serving as dictator of Colombia (then the Great Colombia; the union of Nueva Granada, Quito and Venezuela), allied with conservative and clerical groups who were interested in the union of the republics and, willing to support Bolivar, played for the predominance of Bogota in such an union. The rest is history. Perhaps this paradox is explained by the fact that, in the actual portrait, Bolivar faces rightwards, and not leftwards, as is used by the FARC-EP.
Guillermo Aveledo, 30 November 2000

Colombian Communist Party (Partido Comunista Colombiano)

by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

PCC stands for Partido Comunista Colombiano (Colombian Communist Party). This organization was established in 1930. Its official website is <>.
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Colombian Communist Party - Maoist (Partido Comunista de Colombia - Maoísta)

by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

The Partido Comunista de Colombia - Maoísta (Colombian Communist Party - Maoist) is a split group from the PCC (Colombian Communist Party). The PCC-M was established in 2001. It has an official wensite: <>.
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Colombian Communist Party - Marxist Leninist (Partido Comunista de Colombia - Marxista Leninist)

by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

The Partido Comunista de Colombia - Marxista Leninista (Colombian Communist Party - Marxist Leninist) was a split group of the Colombian Communist Party, established in 1967. The armed wing of the PCC-ML was the EPL (Ejército Popular de Liberación).
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Communist Revolution

In the 1960's communist revolutionaries in Columbia (FARC) proclaimed the Republics of Marquetalia and Riochiquitos, that is an experiment of comunist-countryman administration in Latin America.
The flag used was probably the FARC flag (red with the name?). But I found now the local flag of Marquetalia:
This is green borderes white. In the centre is a torch white and golden, with flamme yellow and red.
Another city of the territory is named MARULANDA, and this is the name of the FARC head, Manuel Marulanda named too "Tiro Fijo" (Fix Shooting). The flag of the city is black, white and green horizontal.
More information?
Jaume Olle , 24 November 1996

About the Communist Revolution and its flag, I'm not aware that they had a flag, but the actual Independent Republics were seven: Marquetalia (in the border between the Departments of Tolima and Huila), Río Chiquito (in the border between the Departments of Cauca and Huila), El Pato (in the Department of Caquetá), Guayabero, El Duda, Alto Ariari (all three of them in the Department of Meta) and Alto Sumapaz (in the border between the Departments of Meta, Cundinamarca and Tolima) Marquetalia being the most important. These existed from 1955 through 1965 but they became known in a Congress debate in 1964, and short afterwards there was a military operation against them. These 7 "Republics" were in an area plenty of mountains and forrest, along with tall hills and stuff, and they were pretty much together (if you have a Colombian map you can see that they are close to each other).
Ramiro Rivera Sanchez, 19 January 1999

Independent Democratic Pole (Polo Democrático Independiente)

by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

PDI (Polo Democrático Independiente, or Independent Democratic Pole): A broad coalition of leftist movements, it is a legal democratic party in Colombia. Its official website is <>.
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

M19 Movement

[M19 Guerilla Movement (Colombia)]
by Ivan Sache

Vertically divided blue/white/red, with M-19 in black in the white stripe.
Source: Photography of the funerals of the murdered past-leader of M-19 Carlos Pizarro, flag over the coffin. (Encyclopaedia Universalis, Yearbook 1991, p. 40).
Ivan Sache ,10 December 1998

According to  Courrier International #711, 17 June 2004, M19 is the 19 April Movement, founded on 19 April 1970, mostly by students. The M19 entered the armed struggle against the Columbian government in 1973. On 6 November 1985, the M19 seized the Court of Justice in Bogota. The seizure ended in a bloodbath when the tanks of the Columbian army attacked the Court. In 1989, the M19 abandoned the armed struggle and joined the political legal life. His leader was murdered when candidate to the Presidential election in 1990.
Ivan Sache, 27 December 2004

Here is a photo of Additional flag (variant with a logo showing a map of Colombia and Simón Bolívar's sword).
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

AD M-19 Movement

[M19 Guerilla Movement (Colombia)]
by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Here is the flag of the former leftist group when it laid down arms. The group transformed into the AD M-19 (Alianza Democrática M-19, or Democratic Alliance M-19).
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

MOIR - Independent Revolutionary Workers Movement (Movimiento Obrero Independiente y Revolucionario)

by Santiago Tazon, 2 September 2000

Thousands of workers and students marched on the US embassy and other places in Bogota and Cartagena de Indias, protesting because Clinton's visit. They fly several red vertical flags of MOIR (Movimiento Obrero Independiente y Revolucionario) - Independent Revolutionary Workers Movement. MOIR is a Colombian political (communist) party.
Santiago Tazon, 2 September 2000

National Guerrilla Coordinating Board/Simon Bolivar Coordinating Board

by Jaume Ollé

by Jaume Ollé

This is the review on the (CNG - CGSB) taken from <>:
"Mothertongue Name: Coordinadora Guerrillera Simón Bolívar (CGSB). Base of Operation: Colombia.
Founding Philosophy: In the 1980s, several leftist terrorist organizations in Colombia created an umbrella organization, from which to coordinate negotiations with the Colombian government and to coordinate certain terrorist activities. The National Guerrilla Coordinating Board (CNG), formed in 1985, was the forerunner to a broader coordinating board. In 1987, CNG was reconstituted as the Simon Bolivar Coordinating Board (CGSB). CGSB was created as a unified front for the terrorist-organization members. While CGSB engaged the government in negotiations, the terrorist members simultaneously held onto their rebel-controlled areas and remained willing, at varying levels, to commit terrorist attacks. The Simon Bolivar Coordinating Board was comprised of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), April 19 Movement (M-19), National Liberation Army (ELN), Popular Liberation Army (EPL), Workers' Revolutionary Party (PRT) and the Quintin Lame Command.
CGSB participated in a series of government talks in the early 1990s. The talks were jeopardized several times by terrorist attacks of the FARC and ELN. Despite the continuing aggression of the two largest terrorist groups, CGSB did achieve limited success. Resulting from government negotiations, M-19 put down its arms in 1990. EPL's main body followed step, ceasing its operations in 1991. However, Colombia's largest leftist terrorist organizations, FARC and ELN, did not reach a settlement with the government and continue terrorist operations to this day. In fact, while some groups seriously negotiated for an end to hostilities, other elements of the CGSB continued to perpetrate terrorist attacks, claiming attacks both under the umbrella of CGSB and as individual terrorist groups.
Current Goals: The Simon Bolivar Coordinating Board (CGSB) disbanded in the early 1990s. While certain CGSB factions ceased terrorist operations in the early 1990s, the FARC and ELN remain significant terrorist organizations".
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

National Liberation Army (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional)

by Ivan Sache, 23 Febuary 2002

The flag of Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional is at <>. The flag and emblem of ELN is explained by the organization in this site.
Dov Gutterman, 8 March 1999 and Jaume Olle', 19 April 2001

From <>:
Mothertongue Name: Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN). Base of Operation: Colombia.
Founding Philosophy: The ELN is a Cuban Revolution-inspired group, heavily influenced by the early actions and theories of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The ELN emerged following the overthrow of the Cuban government by Guevara and Castro in 1959. The National Liberation Army was founded by two distinct groups. The first group comprised of urban, left-wing intellectuals with strong ties to rural farmers. They co-founded the group with a radicalized group of oil sector unionists from Barrancabermeja's oil industry. Radical members of the Catholic clergy joined the group in late 1965. This was the first time that Christians and Marxists had joined together in a Colombian revolutionary movement.   The ELN's unique founding philosophy strongly emphasized socialism, mixing Castro-ism with the liberation theology of the Catholic Church. More concretely, the ELN's self-appointed role was to represent the rural poor and decrease the foreign presence in Colombia. The ELN's goal was to take power from the Colombian government and replace it with a more egalitarian "popular democracy" that would represent all Colombians equally under the law. The ELN strongly opposed foreign investment, in part due to its location in an oil-rich area and its connections to trade unionists in the energy sector.  
The Colombian Department of Administrative Security estimates that in 1998 alone, the ELN obtained U.S. $84 million from ransoms and U.S.$255 million from extortion. Employees of oil companies constitute a large percentage of the ELN's targets. The kidnapping and extortion of oil company employees is ELN's primary source of income. This is a natural legacy of ELN's formation in an area rich with oil wells and oil companies. A third, more recent source of income is the collection of a "property" tax from coca and poppy cultivators. It is not known whether the collection of property taxes is a centralized or decentralized activity.  
Current Goals: Throughout its history, the National Liberation Army steadily gravitated towards violence and armed struggle as a means to attain a socialist Colombia. At the ELN's 1996 national conference, the group decided to decrease emphasis on creating a purely socialist Colombia. Instead, the ELN has returned to its founding objective: popular democracy for all Colombians, propagated at the local level. The ELN has not given up the use of violence in its efforts.
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

National Liberation Army- Camilista Union

by Jaume Ollé

The National Liberation Army- Camilista Union, (ELN-UC), insurgent group in Colombia, uses also Black & Red flag and generally, with the abbreviations of the group on the division of the stripes in yellow letters. Given the bonds of ELN with Cuba, it's possible that the ELN's flag is based fundamentally on the one of "July 26' Movement".
Carlos Thompson, 30 September 2004

Popular Liberation Army (Ejército Popular de Liberación)

Original EPL Flag
by Jaume Ollé

New EPL Flag
by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Esperanza, Paz y Libertad (Old Flag)
by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Esperanza, Paz y Libertad (New Flag)
by Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

From <>:
Mothertongue Name: Ejército Popular de Liberación (EPL). Base of Operation: Colombia.  
Founding Philosophy: The Popular Liberation Army grew out of the Colombian Communist movement of the 1960s. In 1967, the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (ML-CP) broke off from the larger communist political party, the Colombian Communist Party. Dissatisfied with the political chaos of 1960's Colombia, the ML-CP augmented its political organization with an armed wing in 1967. The new group soon embarked on terrorist activities under the name People's Liberation Army. Both the ML-CP and EPL advocated the Maoist ideology of sparking a national socialist revolution by beginning in the countryside. Efforts to indoctrinate the peasantry largely failed and the EPL never reached the size of larger Colombian terrorist insurgencies such as the FARC and ELN. In an effort to expand their support base, the EPL abandoned strict Maoism in 1980. The group continued, however, to work toward the goal of overthrowing the democratically elected Colombian government and replacing it with a communist state. Furthermore, the EPL continued to pursue these insurrectionist goals through terrorist activities.  
Current Goals: The EPL was one of the principal groups that pushed for a peace accord with the Colombian government in the early 1980s. With the signing of the peace accord in 1984, the EPL attempted to join mainstream Colombian politics. Their efforts were blocked, however, by the newly formed right-wing paramilitary groups, such as the ACCU. In an effort to derail the efforts to grant the politicization of the EPL, the right-wing paramilitary groups attacked political representatives of the EPL. The peace accord soon unraveled as other leftist groups, the paramilitaries, and the Colombian Army continued their attacks on one another.  
Following the failure of the peace accord, the EPL attempted to rejoin the violent fray involving the guerillas and Colombian security forces, but this attempt proved futile. The EPL essentially disbanded in 1991, when it signed a truce with the Colombian government, although a breakaway faction operating under the same name refused to accept the truce. This breakaway faction continues to operate today, despite the arrest of its co-founder and principal leader, Francisco Caraballo, in 1994.
I reccomend you read the article on Wikipedia to understand the flags.
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Popular National Alliance

by Ivan Sache, 6 August 1999

Horizontal blue-white-red. Similar colors to M19 Guerilla Movement flag. Source is Smith (1975) [smi75a], pp. 340-341 ("Symbols in politics"). Smith says that these are real flags and not only party emblems, which may differ in colours when used as emblem or in a flag.
Ivan Sache, 6 August 1999

Quintin Lame Armed Movement (Movimiento Armado Quintín Lame)

by Jaume Ollé

by Jaume Ollé

In 1984 a new guerrilla group emerged in Colombia: the Movimiento Armado Quintín Lame (Quintin Lame Armed Movement), named after a NASA tribe leader (Manuel Quintín Lame Chantre), it was a guerrilla group, thus an illegal armed organization. It entered peace talks with Colombia's government and laid down its weapons in May 1991.
Esteban Rivera, 23 March 2005

Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP Fuerzas Arnadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito Popular)

by Pascal Gross and Guillermo Aveledo, 3 June 2000

I found the official site of the FARC guerrilla group on the web, and you can see their flag. It's the same as the colombian flag, but it has a Colombian map along with two assault rifles crossed . There's also a little squared thing, but I can't see much. The link to it is <>. Their official name is: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) or Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia-People's Army. The guerrilla group known as FARC-EP was created in 1964.
Ramiro Rivera Sanchez,19 January 1999

I belive that the" little squared thing" is an open book.
Jorge Candeias,20 January 1999

Revolutionary Armed Forces, People's Army (FARC-EP Fuerzas Arnadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito Popular) - This well-known guerrilla group is the main guerrilla movement in Colombia, above from the National Liberation Army (ELN). The flag of the FARC-EP is a regular Colombian tricolor with the group's logo on its centre. The logo consists of a Colombiam continental map, in white, fimbriated in black. Within the map we see the letters 'FARC-EP' in a bold type, an open book and a pair of crossed, semi-automatic, rifles.
Guillermo Aveledo, 3 June 2000

A photo of a variant with shield of the FARC flag, appeared on the front page of today's (29 June 2001) Miami Herald, with the headline "Rebels Free Colombian Troops" and the caption describing the release of "242 government soldiers and police released Thursday by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC] outside La Macarena, in the heart of a 26,000 square-mile area of jungle and savanna under FARC control. The troops were freed by the rebels in a unilateral hand-over after more than three years in captivity".
Al Kirsch and Jaume Olle', 29 June 2001

The correct name of the movement is: Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejercito del Pueblo. A short presentation of the FARC, based on Courrier International #711, 17 June 2004 (French translation of a paper by Eduardo Pizarro Leongomez, originally published in El Tiempo, Bogota):   On 9 April 1948, the Liberal leader Jorge Eliecer Galtan was murdered, which triggered violent riots in Bogota, known as Bogotazo. The next ten years are known as the Violencia period, a civil war between the Liberals and the Conservatives that caused more than 200,000 dead. In 1958, the two parties signed the pact of National Front, by which they abandoned violence and shared the power. The President of the Republic was alternatively chosen in each party. The system lasted until 1974. On 27 May 1964, the Colombian army attacked Marquetalia, which was the headquarters of Communist revolutionaries and farmers' self-defense militia, ruled by Manuel Marulanda, aka Tirofijo (Bang on target). Following the assault, the militia were organized into guerillas. Initially called Frente Sur (Front South), the guerillas were renamed FARC two years later. The FARC were reorganized and renamed FARC-EP in 1982. On 28 March 1984, the FARC-EP signed an agreement  in La Uribe with the Colombian government. A cease-of-fire was implemented on 28 May. The agreement included the creation of a legal political party by the FARC-EP, called UP (Patriotic Union). More than 3,500 members of the UP were murdered in the next two years, including two candidates to the Presidential election. In December 1990, the bombing of the Casa Verde, the FARC-EP headquarters, by the Colombian army ended the peace process. A new round of negotiations started on 7 January 1999 between the FARC-EP and Andres Pastrana's government in the demilitarized area of Caguan (42,000 sq. km). The area was placed under the control of the FARC-EP until the breakdown of the negotiations in February 2002. The FARC have today some 15,000-17,000 members.
FARC-EP homepage at <>.
Ivan Sache, 27 December 2004