This document is of vital importance to both the political and the cultural spheres. The twenty-five intellectuals who signed the letter include Colombian artists Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo (1910–70) and Alejandro Obregón (1920−92). In this same issue of Mito, Obregón published a foldout image of the canvas 4 de mayo, a painting that makes references to the day in 1957 when military tanks under the command of the dictatorship patrolled the streets of Bogotá. Tensions were mounting as General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla had issued an arrest order for conservative politician Guillermo León Valencia (1909−71) and other members of the opposition.
Those early days in May witnessed the “Huelga de las tachuelas,” an uprising in which students blocked access to downtown Bogotá. The words “muera el tirano” (death to the tyrant) also appear on the canvas, which supported the protest on a symbolic level. The text urges citizens and politicians to fight for a democratic government that ensures individual and collective rights. It supports students determined to expose the restrictions imposed by a regime that attempts to hide its authoritarian nature under progressive policies. This open letter attests to the clear commitment of the intellectuals and artists who signed their names; Obregón, an outstanding figure in Modern art, presents an allegorical painting against the dictatorship akin to works like Espantagenerales (1955) and Velorio para un estudiante muerto (1956) he had produced in previous years.
The twenty-five individuals who signed the letter were Gaitán Durán, Jorge; Gómez Jaramillo, Ignacio; Valencia Goelkel, Hernando; Obregón, Alejandro; León Valencia, Guillermo (who would be president of Colombia from 1962−66); Sanín Cano, Baldomero; Rodríguez Piñeres, Eduardo; Téllez, Hernando; Caballero Calderón, Eduardo; Zalamea Borda, Eduardo; Lozano y Lozano, Juan; De Greiff, Otto; Camacho Ramírez, Arturo; Posada, Jaime; Barco Vargas, Virgilio (who would be president of Colombia from 1986−90); Fadul, Miguel; Arango, Daniel; Peñalosa, Enrique; Caballero Calderón, Lucas; Martínez Rueda, Hernando; Zalamea, Alberto; Canal Ramírez, Gonzalo; Uribe Rueda, Álvaro; Ruiz, Jorge Eliécer; and Fajardo, Julio José.