Biófilo Panclasta Timeline
1879 October 26: Vicente R. Lizcano, better known as Biófilo Panclasta (BP) is born in Chinácota, in the northern part of the Santander Department, Colombia. Santander is the traditional home of the Colombian liberals, as opposed to the centralist conservatives.
1882 Magón brothers found Regeneración in Mexico
1883 Anniversary of Paris Commune celebrated by anarchist group in Montevideo, Uruguay. Anonymous anarchist pamphlets circulate in Chile.
1885 Malatesta visits Buenos Aires. Elisée Reclus visits Nueva Granada in the north of Colombia and publishes his geographical work, Colombia.
1884–1886, 1892–1898 Joaquín Crespo is president of Venezuela.
1886 Malatesta looks for gold in Patagonia to fund the revolution.
1886 BP begins elementary school.
1889 Nietzsche’s collapse, followed by madness. Malatesta returns to Europe.
1890 Birth of Renzo Novatore.
1890 BP wins an award in History in a school in Pamplona. About this he later commented: “It was like an intuition of the eternal exile of my life”
1892 Death of Ravachol in France, by guillotine. First worker’s congress in Brazil, with anarchists in the majority. Alexander Berkman attempts to assassinate Henry Clay Frick. He spends fourteen years in prison as a result.
1893 Craftsmen riot in Bogotá followed by a crackdown on press freedoms and incarceration of opposition leaders by President Miguel Antonio Caro. The French governments’ report refers to this as an anarchist movement practicing by propaganda by the deed.
1897- 1898 BP studies in the Escuela Normal in Bucaramanga. He composes a small handwritten newspaper in which he fought the re-election of Miguel Antonio Caro. For this reason, and for “serious faults in discipline”, he is expelled by the principal.
1899 Libertarian periodical El pabellón rojo appears in Ecuador, defending Ravachol.
1899 With Eléazar López Contreras BP founds the first public school in Capacho Nuevo (Venezuela). He participates in Cipriano Castro’s overthrow of Ignacio Andrade’s government.
1900 Death of Nietzsche. El Acrata, anarchist journal, appears in Chile.
190? Jacinto Albarracín, a Colombian anarchist of indigenous descent, founds a commune in the jungle of Magdalena, Department of Boyaca. It was called “Otanche, a society without authority, concepts of property, or judicial powers.” Panclasta was later to meet him.
1900 BP is in Valencia, Carabobo State, Venezuela.
1899–1908 Cipriano Castro is President of Venezuela after overthrowing Ignacio Andrade, whose allegedly fraudulent presidency lasted only a year.
1899–1902 Thousand Days’ War, civil war between right- and left-wing parties in Colombia.
1901 Founding of Argentine Worker’s Federation. Flores Magón, now openly anarchist, in jail in Belén.
1901 Birth of Severino Di Giovanni in Italy.
1901 BP arrives in Cúcuta as a protest against neutrality in the War. An attempt is made to execute him.
1902–1903 Because of the non-payment of debts by Castro’s regime, Germany and England, and subsequently many other nations, blockade Venezuela.
1903 US activity (especially construction of canal) leads to a military uprising in the province of Panama, eventually leading to independence.
1904 BP takes on the pseudonym Biófilo Panclasta.
As colonel under Cipriano Castro, he arrives in Barranquilla and offers his services in favor of Colombian territorial integrity against US backed separatists.
In Bogotá he is made First Assistant General of the Fourth “Expedition to Panama.”
1904 Ecuador-Peru boundary dispute, which had been ongoing for decades, threatens to erupt into war after a series of confrontations in the Napo River basin.
1904 Argentine Worker’s Federation renames itself to Argentine Regional Worker’s Federation (FORA) to reflect internationalism. The next year it would formally declare itself anarchist. Flores Magón begins republication of Regeneración in San Antonio, Texas.
1904 Accused of conspiracy, BP travels to Ecuador and offers his service in the projected war with Peru.
1904–1909 Rafael Reyes is dictator of Colombia.
1906 BP travels to Argentina. He forms relationships with anarchist and socialist youth, going to their meetings and writing in their newspapers.
BP is invited to the Congress of the World Union of Free-Thinkers. It turns out to be a Conference of liberal thought. He does not go, and leaves for Europe.
1907 International Anarchist Congress in Amsterdam.
1907 BP arrives in Europe as delegate of the Federación Obrera Nacional Argentina [National Argentine Workers’ Federation] to the Amsterdam Worker’s Congress. He acquaints himself with all its countries, if only superficially: France, Spain, England, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and Holland.
In Holland he debates Bestraud at a session of the “Social Studies” group.
He is confused with the Colombian delegate to the World Congress for Peace, Mr. Santiago Pérez Triana.
1908 BP is exiled from Spain at the request of Rafael Reyes. He arrives at Puerto Colombia with the intention of continuing to Bogotá, but he must go to Panama. Reyes has him thrown out of Panama where he had taken refuge, and he is turned over as a prisoner to the authorities of the Department of Chocó, in the northeast of Colombia. In and out of jail for the next three years.
1908–1935 Juan Vicente Gómez is dictator of Venezuela.
1909 From Central America BP announces the new periodical The Antichrist to be published in Bogotá.
He heads to Cartagena, in the Bolívar Department, and he is detained by its governor, De la Vega; he is sent in a German boat to Colón, in the Putumayo Department, where he is once again taken prisoner.
BP appears before the Supreme Court of Panama and the police places him on a boat and abandons him in Colombian territory.
1910 Mexican Revolution.
1910 Juan Francisco Moncaleano’s newspaper Ravachol published in Bogotá. Strongly anticlerical, it evolved from socialism to anarchism, also advocating equality of the sexes.
1910 BP is jailed in the police barracks in Barranquilla, Atlántico Department and writes his “Datos Autobiográficos” for the newspaper El Pueblo, edited by Aurelio de Castro.
Thrown out of the country, he travels to Curacao, where he is expelled again. He heads for the Dominican Republic; he is expelled once more. He writes various letters about this.
1911 El Único, individualist anarchist periodical, begins publication in Colón, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Magonists enter Baja California to make revolution. Flores Magon ends up in jail again.
1911–1912 Bonnot Gang active in France.
1911 In the newspaper Maquetas, someone writing as “Juan el Cruzado” demands the death sentence for Biófilo Panclasta for “disturbing social order with his revolutionary ideas”
BP is interviewed by journalists working for El Gráfico and El Republicano in the Bogotá jail where he is held.
1912 A news item states that Biófilo Panclasta has bombed Monsignor Brioschi, Archbishop of Cartagena.
In the Santa Teresa jail in Cartagena BP writes “Y sueños de ambición”. Soon after he publishes the poem “Efímeras.”
1913 Trial of Bonnot Gang, followed by prison and executions.
1914–1918 First World War
1917 Russian Revolution
1918 Strong anarchist influence (direct action, sabotage) in strikes in Colombian coastal cities.
1917–1920 Massive wave of anarchist strikes in Brazil.
1914 BP returns to Valencia, Venezuela. Jailed, supposedly for a speech given in praise of France a few days after the beginning of the war. More likely it was due to those close to Juan Vicente Gómez, hostile to Biófilo for his friendship with the now deposed Cipriano Castro.
1914–1921 Seven years of prison for BP in Venezuelan jails.
1919 “Tragic Week” in Buenos Aires: wave of strikes and then riots led by anarchists followed by brutal police repression.
1920–1921 Peasant uprising in Patagonia led by anarchists. They are massacred by the army.
1922 Death of Renzo Novatore
1923 Kurt Wilckens kills General Hector Varela, responsible for the suppression of the Patagonia strike, in a bomb attack and shooting in the streets of Buenos Aires. He is murdered in a hospital later that year.
1923 BP is named delegate of the Mexican Anarchist Association to an anarchist congress in Barcelona. He proposes “the formation of an international committee tasked with organizing, planning, and carrying out, in one day, the assassination of the Czar of Bulgaria, the king of England, the king of Italy, the king of Egypt, the Archbishop of Mexico, the president of France, the cardinal archbishop of Toledo, and Léon Daudel”, which he referred to as “Operation Europe.”
1924 First Worker’s Congress in Colombia. Strong anarcho-syndicalist presence. Strike against the Tropical Oil Company, a division of Standard Oil, in Barrancabermeja, organized by anarcho-syndicalists. Anarchist workers’ movements in Bogotá.
1924–1929 Publication of La Voz Popular, anarchist newspaper, by the syndicalist group “Antorcha Libertaria” in Colombia.
1924 In Sao Paulo BP helps to organize a coffee-growers’ strike. The government deports him to Oyapok, in the far north of Brazil. He escapes. From Cayenne, French Guiana, the “League of the Rights of Man” sends him to Martinique. He returns to Colombia after visiting fifty-two countries.
1925 Severino Di Giovanni founds Culmine, an Italian-language periodical, in Buenos Aires. New anarchist newspapers in Bogotá: La Antorcha, El Sindicalista, Pensamiento y Voluntad. In Barranquilla: Via Libre. In Santa Marta: Organización.
1926–1927 Second strike, more combative, in Barrancabermeja.
1927 Execution of Sacco and Vanzetti in U.S. Massive demonstrations all over Latin America.
1927 BP imprisoned in the San Gil jail with the syndicalist Raúl E. Mahecha and other comrades.
1928 Anarchist-led banana-grower’s strike in Colombia against United Fruit leads to declaration of martial law and massacre of 1,500 workers by the army.
1928 In Bogotá BP founds the Center for Revolutionary Action and Unity. Their motto is: “Revolutionaries of all ideals, unite!” It was his only attempt to create an organization. It published a Manifesto directed to workers, peasants, and students. It was censured by the government and its signatories were investigated judicially.
In El Socialista BP publishes “I don’t rectify, I ratify”. In various issues of the newspaper Claridad, he publishes his “Psychological sketches of criollo revolutionaries.”
1929 “The Voice of the Peasant” anarchist-indigenist manifesto published in La Paz, Bolivia, by Luis Cusicanqui.
1930 Beginning of overall decline of anarchism in Latin America due to State repression and growing influence of Marxism.
1929 BP’s book Mis prisiones, mis destierros, y mi vida is published by Aguila Negra Editorial.
1930–1934 Enrique Olaya Herrera is president of Colombia.
1930 BP writes an open letter to Enrique Olaya Herrera entitled “Pariahs of the Desert: Voices of the Desert?”
1931 Death of Severino Di Giovanni.
1932 Death of Malatesta
1932 Publication BP’s Seven Years Buried Alive by Tipografía La Libertad.
1934 BP begins a relationship with Julia Ruiz, an ex-nun who works as a fortune teller in Bogotá. A period of his life dedicated to writing begins
1935 In the newspaper La Democracia, BP publishes “What Colombia Is Like” and “Rebirth”.
1934–1938 Alfonso López Pumarejo is president of Colombia.
1935–1941 Eléazar López Contreras, Panclasta’s old companion, is president of Venezuela.
1936 The Diario Nacional newspaper publishes BP’s open letter to President Eléazar López Contreras.
BP sends two letters to president Alfonso López Pumarejo requesting his intervention in expediting a passport to travel to Venezuela, and one thanking him for the help.
Rafael Gómez Picón interviews him in Bogotá.
1936–1939 Spanish Revolution and Civil War.
1939 J.A. Osorio Lizarazo publishes his article about Biófilo in El Tiempo.
In Bogotá, BP’s companion Julia Ruiz dies.
1940 Death of Emma Goldman.
1940 BP attempts suicide in Barranquilla, electrocuting himself with electrical cables and slitting his throat with a straight razor.
BP participates in the 5000th issue of El Deber with the article “Remembering the past.” El Deber had just published a note on his suicide attempt a few months before!
The Bucaramanga police orders BP’s expulsion from their city. He is charged with loitering and drunkenness.
1942 March: Biófilo Panclasta dies in the Old People’s Home in Pamplona at 10:00 a.m. of a massive heart attack.
In compiling this timeline we relied heavily on the section “Biófilo Panclasta: Itinerario de lucha y sufrimiento” in Biófilo Panclasta, el eterno prisionero. We also found the Spanish-language Wikipedia page useful, as well as a “Cronograma del anarquismo en América Latina” we found on the Internet. This is also a good place to note that there were hundreds, maybe even thousands, of anarchist periodicals in Latin America during this period, and we have only enumerated a few representative examples.