Colombian Army helicopters break the silence of the night in El Guaviare, a large area of hot land in the southeast of the land of magical realism, Protecting a population that dreams of offering humanity an ecotourism paradise and a pantry of extraordinary richness and diversity, after putting an end to the nightmare of the endless crossfire between left-wing guerrillas and illegal armed groups. It is the forest where they spent six long years in captivity. Armed forces Colombian Revolutionaries (FARC) Ingrid Betancourt and her secretary Clara Rojas. It is also the forest where four indigenous children disappeared for 40 days after surviving a plane crash. They were miraculously rescued on June 9th.
Narcoterrorists settled there in the 1980s, too. who often fill the streets and hamlets of small cities with banknotes while driving through the tropical jungle. their secret cocaine labs. For over fifty years, El Guaviare greeted the FARC guerrillas in the midst of complete confusion. To the far-right paramilitaries and drug traffickers led by Pablo Escobar and Gonzalo Rodríguez ‘El Gacha’. Now its long-suffering residents have to learn to live with many hardships in an unfamiliar peace.
“Everyone here is involved in the cocaine business,” admits Arnoldo López, a tour guide. It proudly shows its visitors the riches of an abandoned world, the one with the greatest biodiversity on the planet, covered with abundant vegetation. and an exuberant fauna, accessible only to shamans, with as yet undated pictogram rock paintings carved into the impressive sacred tepui of the indigenous people. They pass through this paradise the rivers colored with beautiful aquatic plants and the magnificent view of the imposing Serranía del Chiribiquete soar, It is located in the Guyana Shield, one of the oldest rock formations in the world, crossing Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana and parts of Colombia. A fascinating sight.
Land of Cabuco, white mestizos and indigenous people, settlers of fertile Guaviare From the mid-1980s he switched from rubber marketing to the wild leather trade to devote himself first to the production of cannabis and later cocaine. It’s a drug that fills the pockets of Colombia’s most bloodthirsty mafia and the coffers of guerrillas and paramilitaries who came out of the jungle to rejoin civil society following the signing of the controversial peace deal on November 24, 2016. Between the Juan Manuel Santos Government and the FARC leaders. A serenity that is a grueling and endless road full of potholes.
The residents of El Guaviare have learned to cope with the silence and are faced with the opportunity to leave drug trafficking and violence behind with undisguised uncertainty. “It’s not easy,” admits César Arredondo, a tour guide Growing up in San José del Guaviare under the FARC dictatorship, where guerrillas were punished with severe beatings. minors caught smoking a simple cigarette. They were even less condescending to thieves and drug dealers. Although they didn’t mind doing business with the purest quality coca produced by drug traffickers, they simply killed them.
The second country with the most anti-personnel mines in the world
The ‘Timochenko’ commandos, led by Rodrigo Londoño, strictly ordered the villagers’ lives. They told them when they could plant, cut down trees, or hunt in an effort to control. He has finally protected this paradise from the destructive hand of man. In Colombia, the country with the most antipersonnel mines in the world after Afghanistan, There is more than a million square kilometers of virgin land that has been controlled by guerrillas from the left and right for the past half century, and by drug smugglers who, in a perverted barter, come to pay for the peasant labor of the naive natives in small cocaine cartridges. “When I was young, I couldn’t leave the house after eight o’clock in the evening,” recalls Arnoldo López, referring to the curfew imposed by fear of militia on the 60,000 residents of the department’s capital, San José del Guaviare.
They remain engraved with blood and fire in the memory of the elders. Footage of the 2002 massacre in Boyacá. Faced with paramilitary forces for control of the area and access to the Atrato River, the FARC killed more than 100 people who had taken shelter in a church temple. They cannot forget the massacre of 32 villagers in Maripián in 1997. Caused by an attack by Carlos Castaño Gil’s ‘paracos’ on those they see as collaborators with Southern guerrillas.
Everyone agrees that life is very difficult in El Guaviare, now he is finally determined to enjoy the beauty of his sights. But they demand the existence of the State, They reproach themselves for abandoning themselves to their fate in the course of more than 50 years of conflict. “Politicians only come here when it’s election time and very little,” says Abraham Ballesteros, who, with his wife, Sonia López, guards the entrance to the steep path to the Nueva Tolima cave paintings in the Sierra. nice thing too
The same criticism is voiced by residents of the extremely poor communities along the 1,497km-long Guaviare River. It was formed by the confluence of the Guayabero and Ariari rivers. “There was even a disco here in the late 1980s, when drug smuggling was at its height,” recalls a 66-year-old woman from Antioquia, who has lived with nostalgia in this town for 45 years. tormented by the army’s bullets war and Castaño Gil’s paramilitaries. In 2004 the “paracos” began to leave the areas they controlled in order to rejoin society. Not all did because some they created new criminal brigades that still scare the locals, They smuggle drugs and engage in illegal mining without the slightest remorse.
Serranía del Chiribiquete National Park
Serranía del Chiribiquete National Park pops up unexpectedly in this vast and lush landscape spread across the Caquetá region. It is better known as El Brócoli due to the incredible thickness of the vegetation and has a larger extension than that of the Netherlands. The 575,000-hectare El Chiribiquete was chosen by Pablo Escobar to hide the largest cocaine lab in Tranquilandia; Camouflaged in a dense Amazonian jungle filled with rivers, savages, remnants of local rituals, and hallucinogenic, poisonous and medicinal plants.
Discovered this frontier of the civilized world in 1987, some expedition team members from the Madrid Botanical Garden collaborated on the investigation in 1991. The gigantic sanctuary of the Karijonas tribe, home to hundreds of bird and butterfly species.
This is a paradise trapped in a conflict that has not yet fully calmed down to bring peace to the villagers of El Guaviare determined to swap the coca leaf planting for cocoa, coffee, sweet potato or pineapple. While cleaning the areas contaminated by airborne pesticides within the scope of the Colombian plan signed with the USA in 1999 to end vast fields of cocaine.
James Sean is a writer for “Social Bites”. He covers a wide range of topics, bringing the latest news and developments to his readers. With a keen sense of what’s important and a passion for writing, James delivers unique and insightful articles that keep his readers informed and engaged.