Colombia: Political Pamphlets

Scope and Content

Pamphlets, reports, congress reports, documents, press cuttings, communiqus, and profiles issued by Accin Cultural Popular, Accin Sindical del Atlntico, Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery Society for the Protection of Human Rights, Asamblea Nacional Popular, Colombia Human Rights Committee, Comit Costarricense de Solidaridad con el Pueblo Colombiano, Comit de Solidaridad con los Presos Polticos (Colombia), Comit por la Defensa de los Derechos del Hombre y de los Prisonieros Polticos en Colombia, Consejo Regional Indgena del Cauca (CRIC), Corporacin Integral para el Desarrollo Cultural y Social (CODECAL), Grupo de Investigaciones para el Desarrollo (GIDE), Integracin para el Desarrollo y la Accin Social, Movimiento 19 de Abril Conferencia Nacional (7th : 1979 : Colombia), Primer Encuentro Internacional de Comits-Colombia en el Exterior (1979 : Paris), Solidarittskomitee mit Kolumbien (Austria), United Nations Working Group of Experts on Slavery, Union Revolucionaria Socialista.

Administrative / Biographical History

Colombia has a long tradition of both democracy and political violence, and this remains true for the period covered by the bulk of this collection. Prior to 1974 the country had been ruled for sixteen years by a National Front which allowed for the alternation in power of the two main parties, the Partido Conservador Colombiano (Colombian Conservative Party, PCC) and the Partido Liberal Colombiano (Colombian Liberal Party, PLC). This period also saw the emergence of a variety of leftist guerrilla groups, most prominently the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC), the National Liberation Army (Ejrcito de Liberacin Nacional - ELN), the Popular Liberation Army (Ejrcito Popular de Liberacin - EPL) and the 19th of April Movement (Movimiento 19 de Abril - M-19). The transition to open competition between the Liberals and Conservatives in 1974 failed to end the insurgency, which was further complicated by the increasing involvement in the fighting of drugs cartels and right-wing paramilitary organisations, the latter with suspected links to both the cartels and the government. The 1970s and 1980s bore witness to a cycle of repression, violence, human rights abuses and failed peace talks.

Of the parties actually involved in this conflict only the M-19 are represented here, along with other small radical socialist groups. However the causes and the consequences of the civil war, especially Colummbia's gross economic inequalities and the catalogue of disappearances and human rights abuses, dominate the agendas of the NGOs, pressure groups, trade unions, Church bodies and international organisations whose publications are held here. As the country remains volatile and in the front line of the US 'War on Drugs' it is likely that these issues will continue to predominate in any new material that is collected.


Randomly within boxes (at present)

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.


Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas.

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The majority of the materials held in the political archives of the Library of the Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) originate from the Contemporary Archive on Latin America (CALA), a documentation and research centre on Latin America which donated its holdings to the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) upon its closure in 1981. In 2004 ILAS merged with the Institute of United States Studies (IUSS) to form ISA, which inherited the political archives. The core collection has continued since 1981 to be supplemented by further donations and by materials acquired through the visits of Institute staff and their contacts to the relevant countries.


Further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also Political Pamphlet material for the rest of Latin America, as well as related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held in the ILAS library.