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Historical Background of the University of Quindío

(Taken from “Historia de la Universidad del Quindío y Otros Escritos Académicos”- “Historical Background of the University of Quindío and other Academic Written Works” by Otto Morales Benítez)

 

The miracle word: University

The word “university” arose slowly within the emotions of the people from Quindío, much like the cry “land ho, land ho!” amidst Christopher Columbus’ crewmates. It represented the thin sliver of hope that was yet to come. Accessions to it, which turned into sheer joy as the years passed by, slowly gained in strength. This miracle was spoken about almost cautiously. In the beginning, this aspiration was revealed to me amidst swift sleepwalking conversations, back when I had to deal with sudden work travels brought upon by my political managerial position in the Old Great Caldas. It was later on that we were waging war with me as the General Secretary of the Party- right beside the very “Chief of Liberacionismo[1]”, Alberto Lleras- against Rojas’ military dictatorship. Those were times of intense political devotion. Each one of my travels was to be carried out with the utmost precaution, so as not to stir up the regime’s hit-men, as they were so passionately wont to do. This species existed even back then, by the way. It has been one of the regime’s wretched inheritances.

When I started to frequent this neck of the woods, with an aim to explain what a referendum was and which was the proper way to vote so that we could return to democracy and to a constitution, we all used to talk about this ambition at length. The effect of this, however, remained unseen. I later spent several weeks working as a member of the Violence Research Committee, looking into how it all started in 1946 and how it spread its cruelty throughout the amiable hills of Quindío.

We often met with people from all backgrounds, from all social and economic contexts. I found the local women to be beautiful, vibrant and, as always, protestingof the collective pain that had spread out because of the existing administration. I now remember that there was a universal wound in each person’s soul, no exceptions. I felt dejected,for this was the pain of my friends, of my acquaintances, of my political peers, of the people who had shared both dreams and belligerence with me. Around those days, we went over the topic of education in Quindío. The word “University” went by like a faint light of hope. Us politicians, back then, did not hand out grants nor abusively take fiscal money to splurge it away on roof thatches, cements bulks, scholarships or other indignities which tormented the souls of Colombian people. What motivated our fights was a doctrinarian dream of vocation towards an ideology. What drove each word we uttered during the electoral struggle was a demand for the right attitude, behavior, vocation; a demand for a moral calling. The conquering of the world through unethical practices was not accepted.

I shall now remember moments from the time the university was founded. I apologize in advance if I forget names or details. 

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