Alfredo Molano

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Alfredo Molano
Alfredo-Molano-01.jpg
Datos generales
Nombre Alfredo de la Cruz Molano Bravo
Fecha de nacimiento 1944
Nacionalidad Colombiana Bandera de Colombia }}
Ocupación Sociólogo, Periodista, Escritor
Estudios universitarios Licenciado en Sociología de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia; École Pratique de Hautes Études de París.
País de nacimiento Colombia, Bandera de Colombia }}
Fecha de fallecimiento 31 de octubre de 2019
País de fallecimiento Colombia, Bandera de Colombia }}
Ciudad de fallecimiento Bogotá
Familia Alfonso Molano (Padre). Elvira Bravo (Madre).


Alfredo de la Cruz Molano Bravo (1944-2019) was a writer, sociologist and journalist born in Bogotá in 1944. He dedicated his life to touring the rural areas of Colombia with the intention of giving an account of other realities that inhabit it. Through his literary production, Molano has constructed fundamental texts that show another perspective on the origins and developments of complex social processes such as violence, forced displacement and rural problems.

Biography

Alfredo Molano Bravo was born in Bogota, and grew up and lived in the nearby mountains of La Calera amongst myrtle, Andean blueberry and eucalyptus trees. He roamed dirt roads and paths with his sneakers and backpack, traversing the country from end to end, from border to border and from river to river, speaking with people from that most forgotten Colombia to listen to their life stories, through which he narrated the origins of violence, forced displacement, colonization, land seizures, environmental damage, and cultural and territorial abuses against indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples, sketching out the map of over half a century of agrarian conflict in each of his writings. He was a keen student of social struggles, the peasant farmer population, the dispossessed and the abandoned of that rural Colombia, unknown and ignored by many which he roamed ceaselessly.

He studied sociology at the National University of Colombia, where he was a disciple of Camilo Torres, Orlando Fals Borda and Eduardo Umaña Luna, from whom he learned about the ‘possible country’, the ‘real country’ and ethics, respectively. These three masters influenced his life and he maintained a close friendship with them. Between 1972 and 1975 he worked as a professor at the University of Antioquia, where he met the philosopher Estanislao Zuleta and took part in his social gatherings. Between 1975 and 1977 he was a student at the École Pratique de Hautes Études in Paris, where he did not fall in line with the academic rigor imposed by the Cartesian method. He chose instead to recount the voices of the people that he spoke with, listened to and empathized with, succeeding in using his fine pen and shrewd, meticulous gaze to provide a thorough analysis and accurate account of the problems of the peasant farmer movements and ethnic communities affected by violence in the country. I wrote, Molano said, by “looking for people’s depths on their surfaces, in their afflictions, their bravery and their dreams. I erased more than I wrote; I dug around, I sought out the harmony between the feelings experienced by people and those that I myself carried around in a backpack. A swollen river, a dark night, a gasp, and the terror of hearing weapons in the shadows were paths along which the life that was at stake in the jungle entered, along which its breath reached my words. I believe that only there, in lying in wait, in danger, in fear, only there did the demand for justice appear that I was seeking in order to recount it” (from Molano’s speech at the ceremony of the 2017 Simón Bolívar Prize).

Alfredo Molano. Private file. Courtesy of the Molano family


His body of work, comprising over 27 published books and dozens of articles and studies, reveals the sociologist, the journalist, the writer, the historian and the human being, leaving behind a holistic vision and in-depth view of the Colombian reality from the mid-20th century to the present day.

In 1990 he received the Prize for National Excellence in Human Sciences from the Alumni Association of Colombia’s National University, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the same institution in 2015.

In 1990 he received the Prize for National Excellence in Human Sciences from the Alumni Association of Colombia’s National University, and he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the same institution in 2015. Colcultura honored him with the Antonio Nariño National Book Prize in 1992, and in 1993 he received the Simón Bolívar Journalism Prize for ‘best TV reporting’ for the program “Chenche: La Fuerza de la Tierra” (Chenche: The Force of the Earth), for which he was the director of the TV documentary series Travesías (Voyages). In 1997 he received a prize from the Colombian Geographical Society for a life devoted to researching and disseminating fundamental aspects of the Colombian reality, and in 2016 he was awarded the Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize for the “Life and work of a journalist”.

Alfredo Molano. Private file. Courtesy of the Molano family

He was a professor at several universities, and a distinguished columnist and reporter for the Sunday edition of the El Espectador newspaper since 1995. He also worked for Colombian and foreign media outlets such as Eco, Cromos, Alternativa, Semana and Economía Colombiana, and authored numerous research studies for different publications.

His works are testament to a forgotten, invisible society without a voice, containing testimonies that constitute historical evidence of the complex conflict in which Colombia has been mired for the last few decades

Alfredo Molano. Private file. Courtesy of the Molano family

His works are testament to a forgotten, invisible society without a voice, containing testimonies that constitute historical evidence of the complex conflict in which Colombia has been mired for the last few decades. His first book was published in 1979 and dealt with the history of education in the country. From that moment on he continued to write tirelessly, leaving behind an extensive body of work that includes:Two journeys in the Orinoco region ; The bombardment of El Pato ; From the flat plain ; Deep in the jungle ; On muleback ; Journey into the heart of the FARC ; Apaporis ; Following the cut ; Tales of war and land ; The years of the hordes ; Dirt roads and rifles ; I’ll leave those guns there for you ; The land of the caiman ; Just like that ; The Darien Gap ; Great hustle ; Mule tales ; Drug traffickers and cargo ; Outcasts ; Pains and chains ; Wet backs ; From the other side ; Other directions ; Peasant farmer dignity ; From river to river ; The destiny of the light. Alfredo Molano was capable of describing and speaking out against fundamental events in the history of violence in Colombia in a fearless and even-handed manner. Due to his denunciations he received death threats from paramilitaries, and as a result lived in exile in Barcelona for five years and in the United States for two years on a scholarship from Stanford University, where he was a visiting professor.

Alfredo Molano was capable of describing and speaking out against fundamental events in the history of violence in Colombia in a fearless and even-handed manner. Due to his denunciations he received death threats from paramilitaries, and as a result lived in exile in Barcelona for five years and in the United States for two years on a scholarship from Stanford University, where he was a visiting professor.

He was a staunch defender of peace, and formed part of the Commission for the Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Repetition that resulted from the peace agreement signed between the FARC guerrilla group and the government of Juan Manuel Santos, in which Molano acted as the commissioner for the Orinoco region (comprising the Meta, Caquetá, Guaviare, Casanare, Vichada, Vaupés and Guainía departments, regions that he had roamed from his youth until his final days). They called him the wise man of the tribe; a man of few words, “but when he spoke he grounded us in the fact that the truth had to be told on the basis of people, of the territories; that the truth lay in life stories, not in fragmented accounts … until his final hours, his life was the truth of the peasant farmers” said Father Francisco de Roux, the president of the Truth Commission.

Molano died in Bogota on October 31, 2019.

Timeline

Alfredo Molano in the Art Collection

Articles and reviews in the Cultural and Bibliographic Bulletin

Theses and academic articles

Véase también

Credits

1.April 25, 2020. Biography written by María Elvira Molano for Banrepcultural

Related links in Banrep cultural

  • [1] Text on the colonization of the Macarena, written by several authors, which includes testimonies and chronicles of the inhabitants of the area, as well as a scientific reflection on the environmental problems generated by this phenomenon in that part of the Colombian territory. Includes bibliographies. Jorge Ortega Torres Collection. Orlando Fals Borda Collection.
  • [2] Del Llano llano. Book in which Alfredo Molano presents stories and testimonies about the Colombian plains. The colonization of the plains.
  • [3] Review by José Eduardo Rueda on the book Yo I tell him one of things, by Alfredo Molano, Darío Fajardo and Julio Carrizosa.
  • [4] travels a hundred years apart. Review by Camilo Domínguez on the book Two trips through the Colombian Orinoquía, 1889-1988, by Fray José de Calazans Vela and Alfredo Molano.
  • [5] The memory of our days of anger Review by Raúl José Díaz on the book Los años del tropel, by Alfredo Molano.
  • [6] The other unknown country. Review by Jaime Eduardo Jaramillo on the book Selva inside, by Alfredo Molano.
  • [7] Journey through the jungle of today Review by Juan Sierra on the book El plug del Darién. Diary of a journey, by Alfredo Molano and María Constanza Ramírez.
  • [8] The other country is never the same. Review by Miriam Cotes on the book Likewise, by Alfredo Molano.
  1. [9] Opinion columns in El Espectador.
  2. [10] Opinion columns in Rural Press.
  3. [11] Curriculum Vitae Alfredo Molano Bravo.
  4. [12] Articles and columns in El País de España.
  5. [13] Vea la

interview "Kaleidoscope of RP: Alfredo Molano - Tierras Series".

  1. [14] Artículo

"A disobedient loneliness" by Marianne Ponsford, published in Arcadia Magazine.

  1. [15] Artículo "Five reasons why the establishment will never love Alfredo Molano".