Los Bolcheviques del Líbano

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Plaza del Líbano 1926. Foto Ricardo Pardo Farelo.

En este año del Bicentenario de la Independencia, la historia de los rebeldes tolimenses reclaman su puesto en la tradición libertaria en Colombia

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Hace 90 años, el lunes 29 de julio de 1929, Higinio Forero despertó convencido que el Sol asomaría entre las montañas como «una bomba roja», porque así debía ocurrir el día en que estallara una revolución triunfante. Antes del amanecer salió de su casa en el Líbano para subir hasta El Agrado, al occidente, a encontrarse con sus compañeros y bajar a tomarse el pueblo.

A esa hora debía estar ocurriendo lo mismo en puntos clave del país como los puertos de Buenaventura, La Dorada y Barrancabermeja. Se extendería la rebelión, caería el régimen conservador de Miguel Abadía Méndez y en Bogotá se implantaría un Consejo Provisional de Gobierno de nuevo tipo en Colombia.

Tres años antes, líderes sindicales y dirigentes políticos habían creado el Partido Socialista Revolucionario, PSR, que sostenía la necesidad de preparar un alzamiento armado de nivel nacional con golpes simultáneos en las principales capitales. Para el historiador Gonzalo Sánchez, el movimiento de los Bolcheviques se distingue de otras revueltas por su condición radical y estructural y su pretensión de cambiar las relaciones de clase y de producción, incluyendo la expropiación y redistribución de la tierra y de toda la propiedad. La revuelta estaba encabezada en El Líbano por un puñado de artesanos en alianza estrecha con miles de campesinos cafetaleros.

El gran asalto al poder debía darse entre el 20 de julio y el 7 de agosto, cuando buena parte del Ejército se concentraba Bogotá para conmemorar las fiestas patrias.

Antes de llegar al Agrado, en la cumbre de una colina, Higinio miró hacia el valle del Magdalena y vio que la luz del sol traspasaba a duras penas los nubarrones grises que cubrían el cielo. Lo esperaban 300 hombres, la mayoría campesinos, encabezados por el dirigente local del PSR, Pedro Narváez. Unos iban armados con viejos fusiles y escopetas de fisto y otros con machetes de doble filo. El arsenal se completaba con bombas artesanales.

El sol rutinario sugería que algo no marchaba bien, pero la suerte ya estaba echada. Higinio y sus compañeros desconocían que la orden de insurrección para todo el país había sido cancelada a última hora desde Bogotá. Nadie sabe qué pasó –si un telegrama en clave no llegó, si falló un emisario, si los directivos locales ocultaron la contraorden– pero los Bolcheviques del Agrado y del resto del Líbano siguieron adelante con el plan.

La organización

A pesar de ser un pueblo geográficamente aislado, El Líbano gozaba de un florecimiento cultural: tenía dos imprentas y un vigoroso periodismo de tendencias opuestas cargado de ataques ardorosos. Las víctimas de la intolerancia religiosa –abundaban los librepensadores, escépticos y seguidores de corrientes esotéricas– proclamaban con orgullo su condición de excomulgados por el obispo de Ibagué. Ávidos de publicaciones nacionales y extranjeras, asimilaban las ideas anarco-socialistas a veces mezcladas con mesianismo.

Por otra parte, la estructura social y local dependía de los altibajos de una economía agroexportadora basada en el café, en un contexto nacional de crisis exportadora y política que favoreció la creación del PSR, antecesor del Partido Comunista Colombiano.

El organizador principal de la conspiración en El Líbano fue Pedro Narváez, dueño de un taller de zapatería con decenas de obreros. En el pueblo funcionaba en secreto el «estado mayor» donde figuraban el carpintero Bernardo Villalobos, de amplia cultura general; el carpintero Higinio Forero y su hermana Bertilda, que cuidaba los documentos; la tesorera llamada «La Rubita»; Jesús Talero y el sastre Waldino González. No olvidemos a Yesid Valencia; al matrimonio Piraquive y sus tres hijos, agricultores de origen boyacense; a Julio Ocampo, Abel Galeano, Francisco Uribe y su esposa Leonor, a Luis Eduardo Gómez, Aristides Durán, Gregorio López, ni a Jesús Pava, entre muchos de varias regiones y climas del pueblo.

El ataque

Desde la madrugada del domingo 28 empezaron a avanzar sobre los cuatro costados del poblado contingentes de campesinos armados que daban vivas a la revolución y soplaban cachos de guerra. La señal convenida para el asalto era la explosión de tres bombas: en el cuartel de la Guardia Civil y en las casas del administrador de la cárcel y del alcalde. Los grupos urbanos debían entrar en acción y recibir el apoyo de los campesinos que asediaban la ciudad, especialmente desde El Agrado y desde las montañas que la rodean por el sur y el noroccidente.

Los conjurados urbanos lograron estallar una bomba, cortaron líneas de electricidad y recorrieron las calles gritando consignas, pero vieron con sorpresa que la población ya estaba en guardia para repeler el ataque. La Guardia civil y grupos de voluntarios armados resistieron el asedio de los hombres de Narváez, que se replegaron a su sitio de partida. Por la mañana la banda municipal tocó marchas militares para simular el arribo de tropas oficiales.

¿Qué había ocurrido? El finquero Agapito Velandia notó movimientos extraños y fingió apoyar a los conspiradores, pero la víspera los denunció y puso en alerta a las fuerzas oficiales y a los residentes.

En el corregimiento de Dosquebradas, al amanecer del lunes los rebeldes incendiaron casas y detonaron una bomba que dejó seis muertos. En Murillo, hacia el nevado del Ruiz, los revolucionarios «depusieron» al corregidor y obligaron a las autoridades a rendir honores a la bandera del movimiento. Tal vez las fuerzas oficiales asumieron el control en otros corregimientos con alta población campesina porque no quedó recuerdo de enfrentamientos.

En Bogotá, el Congreso Nacional llamó rápidamente a sesiones secretas angustiado por la insurrección bolchevique y los conatos de revuelta que hubo en Barrancabermeja y San Vicente de Chucurí.

La reacción

El veterano general liberal Antonio María Echeverry y el capitán de la Guardia Civil Marco Sáenz organizaron una fuerza considerable y persiguieron a los rebeldes hasta chocar con ellos en La Pradera, cerca del río Recio. Higinio Forero falló al lanzar una bomba para volar un puente y desde una trinchera cubrió la retirada de sus compañeros hasta cuando un balazo en el hombro lo inmovilizó. El capitán Sáenz acudió en persona a rematarlo a culatazos en un alarde de cobardía que nadie olvidó en la región.

El día 30 llegó al Líbano un pelotón de caballería como primer refuerzo militar y durante esa semana convergieron desde Ibagué y Manizales 400 soldados y policías y numerosos civiles armados. Días después, cerca de cuarenta ciudadanos notables del poblado –liberales y conservadores– telegrafiaron a Bogotá pidiendo establecer una guarnición permanente en el pueblo «debido a que el comunismo ha echado hondas raíces en esta región.» El gobierno central cumplió con creces.

Muchos de los alzados huyeron a Caldas y al Valle, entre ellos Narváez y Villalobos. La represión no se hizo esperar: a finales de agosto en el Panóptico de Ibagué se hacinaba un millar de campesinos forzados a marchar amarrados, que a lo largo del camino recibieron auxilio y alimentación de sus compañeros de clase, especialmente mujeres. En una escuela del Líbano encerraron a los que no cupieron en la cárcel local. Las esposas de los líderes revolucionarios fueron secuestradas para forzar la entrega de los que huían. Narváez y Villalobos fueron capturados semanas después.

El recuerdo

El movimiento de 1929 en el Norte del Tolima fue la primera insurrección comunista en América Latina –mientras no se demuestre lo contrario– y se inspiró en la Revolución Rusa de 1917. En este año del Bicentenario de la Independencia, los Bolcheviques del Líbano reclaman su puesto en la tradición libertaria de Colombia.

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    You can see the estimated delivery time and the amount of the fee for your followers.
    Finally, click on ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Cart’ to end the process.

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