Monday, May 25, 2015

The Trash Man Cometh

This colorful one-man plaza performance took place today on the Universidad Nacional's Plaza del Ché. Altho when I asked her about its meaning, one person involved shrugged her shoulders, the message carried by this masked man dragging coattails of trash seemed quite evident to me.

Dead in his trash pile.
As for Bogotá, decide for yourself whether Petro's 'Basura Cero' (Zero Trash) program has been anything more than just a slogan. 

Bogotá's paks and sidewalks have become repositories for used tires. They've held meetings about this problem, and that's about it.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Back to the Bad Old Times?

In yesterday's El Tiempo, the coincidence of two headlines sent a disturbing message about the danger of bad old times returning.

In the upper left-hand corner, a report about the end of the informal truce between the government and the FARC guerrillas. The peace negotiations in Havana, Cuba look to be in danger of breaking down, in the wake of a FARC ambush which killed 10 soldiers and military bombardments in which the government claims to have killed two dozen guerrilla fighters.

The peace talks have bogged down over the past year, primarily over what the guerrilla leaders' fate

Free man: Para leader Julian Bolivar.
would be after a peace deal. The guerrillas want to become politicians, but the overwhelming majority of Colombians wants to see them in prison.

In the lower right corner, the paper reports the release from prison of Julian Bolivar, the first major paramilitary leader to win his freedom after serving the 8-year prison term stipulated by the controversial Law of Peace and Justice. Under the law, paramilitaries who confessed to their crimes and ceased committing crimes receive maximum 8-year prison terms. Bolivar, whose real name is Rodrigo Pérez Alzate, had confessed to responsibility for or been convicted of crimes including massacres, recruiting children, driving peasants off their land, torture, narcotrafficking, assassinating union leaders, money laundering and 'barbarous acts' as head of a paramilitary group in the Antioquia and Magdalena Medio regions.

The crimes were committed as head of the Bloque Central Bolívar, under the pretense of battling leftist guerrillas.

The succession of paramilitary leaders being released has victims worried that they will return to crime and terrorism and take vengeance on those who denounced them. And the ohe ongoing resurgence of the conflict with the guerrillas makes that seem all the more possible.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dancing for Delia

The Fundación Delia Zapata is one of the little-known jewels of La Candelaria. Named in honor of
Delia Zapata Olivella
Delia Zapata Olivella, who dedicated her life to researching and popularizing the music and dance of Afro-Colombian peoples of Colombia's coastal regions. Later in life, she traveled to Africa to find the roots of AfroColombian melodies.

The foundation, housed in a grand old building on the south side of Calle 10 between Carreras 2 and 3, offers dance classes and musical events.

Delia Zapata was born in 1926 in Cordoba and died exactly 14 years ago on May 24, 2001. Ironically, she was killed by a disease she contracted during a research trip in Africa.

Delia Zapata and friends.
The Delia Zapata Foundation on Calle 10.

Delia Zapata at rest.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Andrés Arango's Wry Eye

A Coca Cola bottle plays the role of Llorenti's famous flowerpot.
Andrés Arango's paintings reflect his wry view of Colombian society: Llorenti's famous flowerpot, symbol of the revolution, converted into a Coca Cola bottle; plastic bottles used to keep a bather floating; hangers on on the backs of buses. 

arango's perspective, which he says mixes in elements of magical realism, is on display now in the Gabriel Garcia Marquéz cultural center. In his telling, Colombia is a zany place, semi-disfunctional, with a sense of humor about itself. 

Hanging on on the back of a bus.

Which goes faster? Which goes the right way?
Riot police wield shields decorated by rioters' paint balls.
Take that!
Take a walk, won't you?

A family which hangs together rides together. 

Short circuit?
You're better off riding a donkey.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Monday, May 18, 2015

Nudists and a Nude in the National Park

Today, these folks with the Nudism and Naturist Association of Bogotá were in the Parque Nacional asking the public what we thought of nudism. I think it's great, for those who want to do it, but it's obviously not for everybody. While nudism isn't big in Colombia, the Santa Marta/Tayrona Park region has several nude beaches.

Is nudism natural? Scientists believe that at least some humans have been wearing some sorts of clothing for close to 200,000 years - at least. That's far longer than humans have been doing, for example, agriculture, which I think most of us consider to be natural.

Just a few meters from the nudism activists, a young woman was standing practically nude, her body colorfully painted, as part of a university art project. The nudists seemed a bit embarrassed by her, hurrying to point out that theirs was an unrelated activity - perhaps because they're in favor of nudism, but not exhibitionism.

For her part, the students were doing a project for their Social Communication course at the Universidad Cooperativa. And nudism is unquestionably a form of communication that's very social.

Can a naked, painted woman be art? they asked me. Sure, she can. Of course, anything at all can be art these days.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cosplay in the Parque Nacional

Who are these guys?
Today, these folks were showing off their costumes, of Star Wars, Dr. Who, Sailor Moon and other stuff which I either couldn't identify or understand, probably because of generational issues and my lack of a television.

Straight out of Dr. Who.
Dragon Ball???


No lack of photographers. 

We are Sailor Moon. 
Star Wars is back!
Who is this guy?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours