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How one man’s killing changed a nation

The shock waves from the assassination of Colombia's Jorge Eliécer Gaitán can still be felt today

By Daniel Hahn   June 2018
Monuments to assasinated Colombian politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán © Flickr

Monuments to assasinated Colombian politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán © Flickr

As Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s new novel opens, Carlos Carballo has apparently just failed to steal a suit. The outfit in question belonged to the (real-life) Colombian politician Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, who was assassinated in April 1948—the suit has the bullet-holes to prove it. Carballo, a conspiracy theorist, has become obsessed with Gaitán’s murder, and is determined to prove the flaws in the usual explanation for the crime that shattered a nation.…

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