Bernardo Jaramillo, presidential candidate of the UP, was assassinated, opened a Pandora's box.45 The cause here was the government's statement that the Extraditables had been the "intellectual authors" of the Jaramillo assassination.
As described in this chapter, the government of Virgilio Barco vacillated between a military policy and a policy of talks with representatives of the drug dealers. The final result was failure, as Pablo Escobar and other Medellín drug leaders were still at liberty, and violence continued at a level that was very high, even by Colombian standards.
One might ask, especially given the number of deaths that resulted from the military policy, why the government of Virgilio Barco did not make more attempts at conflict resolution through bargaining. One reason was that there was much opposition, both in the government and in educated Colombian society, for this kind of treatment for the narcos. The journal Semana captured the basis of the antagonism to bargaining with the narcos when it pointed out the difference between them and the guerrillas in juridical, ethical, and political dimensions:
To begin with, the amnesty decreed in 1982 for guerrilla groups covered political crimes, but did not include aggravated homicide, terrorism, and murder outside of combat, which are precisely the crimes for which the Medellín cartel is wanted. On the other hand, the guerrillas are recognized as having a political status since, independent of their methods of struggle, the reasons that lead them to take arms are ideological. Those who have studied the question affirmed that the motivation of the narcos was the desire to make money and that any possible political motivation they might have came from the defense of that interest. However, this interpretation might be arbitrary if one keeps in mind that today there are many guerrillas dedicated more to making money than to political ideals. . . . But, in addition to this, perhaps the principal reason that the state does not consider any negotiation with the narcos possible is out of respect for the martyrs who have fallen in this struggle.46
The last reason--respect for the martyrs--should be emphasized, as guerrilla violence almost always was in the countryside, with the deaths and injuries being to the peasants and the soldiers. When others were affected by guerrilla violence, as will be seen in chapter 6, the whole nature of negotiations changed. The narcos not only placed their bombs in the major cities, hence killing people of various social