What Were The Chulavitas? Background And Consequences

The Chulavitas were an elite armed group formed in Colombia during the early years of the period known as “La Violencia”, a time of extreme aggression that occurred in the 20th century.

This period lasted sixteen years. Without having become a civil war, murders and aggressions predominated.

Jorge Gaitán, his murder caused the formation of the Chulavitas

They were called chulavitas because among their ranks there were many conservative peasants from the Chulavita village, belonging to the municipality of Boavita, in the department of Boyacá.

These peasants were recruited by the Boyacá police in order to counteract the chaos that existed in Bogotá after the assassination of the liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán.

Historical background

The Chulavitas were the result of one of the most violent moments in the history of Colombia, a period marked by the massacres and tension carried out by two parties: the Liberals and the Conservatives.

Political definitions of the Chulavitas

They represented the shock force of the conservative government of Laureano Gómez, and were responsible for the deaths and persecution of supporters of liberalism, whom they considered communists.

They operated by recruiting in demonstrations. The recruits were then taken to conflict zones, where they were trained and protected by landowners loyal to the Conservative party.

His modus operandi was harassment, torture and indiscriminate massacres. 

This paramilitary group began responding to a partisan contest. Following the assassination of liberal leader Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, the gaitanos organized to take revenge.

Gaitán’s assassination was recorded in history as an act against the democratization of Colombia and, according to many historians and researchers, the CIA participated in this assassination from the shadows, considering his communist political ideas as dangerous.

Political consequences

Due to the extreme violence in which both liberals and conservatives were submerged, agents close to power decided to promote the figure of the “birds”, who were contract killers hired to kill political opponents.

In 1953 the country was experiencing one of the moments of greatest political instability: the conservative party was divided, the liberal leaders had fled into exile and the population did not stay out of the violence.

In June 1953, the military coup carried out by General Rojas Pinilla did not reduce the confrontation between the two opposing forces.

To this was added the military repression focused on persecuting the liberal supporters, installed in the south of the department of Tolima.

Faced with the overflow situation, the Rojas government decides to decree an amnesty to achieve the disarmament of the guerrilla troops.

Some of the liberal groups, known as the “clean ones,” accepted the amnesty agreement. On the other hand, groups like the communists did not agree and continued with the armed struggle.

The chulavitas are remembered with respect by a certain part of the Colombian population, while others consider them murderers.

However, it is a known fact that most of the peasants who made up their forces were manipulated by the agents of power who, after using them, left them to their fate.



  1. Tobon Alfredo, “Los chulevitas de boavita”, 2012. Retrieved on December 20, 2017 from historiayregion.blogspot.com
  2. Drafting el Tiempo, “From the origin of Colombian violence”, 1991. Retrieved on December 20, 2017 from eltiempo.com
  3. Osorio Henry, “History of violence in Colombia”, 2009. Retrieved on December 20, 2017 from elrincrólashumnidades.com

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