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World IN BRIEF / COLOMBIA

Thousands Mourn Assassinated Satirist

August 15, 1999|From Times Wire Reports

About 15,000 mourners paid a tearful tribute to beloved Colombian comic Jaime Garzon, calling his slaying a national tragedy and turning his funeral into a plea for an end to the country's long-running civil war. Garzon's coffin was shrouded in flowers as mourners filled Bogota's main Plaza Bolivar square outside Congress. Garzon, 38, who made his name with scathing parodies of politicians and who also was an advocate of peace amid the civil war, was shot as he drove to work at a Bogota radio station. Addressing the mourners from above the coffin on the Capitol's steps, Garzon's sister, Marisol, blamed a "culture of violence" for the killing. The mourners shouted slogans demanding an end to 35 years of civil war in which right-wing paramilitary militias and leftist rebels regularly target civilians whom they accuse of collaborating with their enemies. Thousands more mourners lined the route of the funeral procession as Garzon's remains were taken to a cemetery in northern Bogota.

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