Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Justice for El Chocó!

Protesters from Choco Dept. symbolically chain themselves by the entrance to the Cathedral of Bogotá.

Panning for gold in a Choco River.
On Plaza Bolivar today a group of people from El Choco Department demanded government help for their region's many problems, including corruption, lack of resources and flooding of the Atrato River.

El Choco, on Colombia's Pacific Coast, has become almost allegorical for poverty, violence and low human development levels. The region, whose residents are mostly Afro-Colombians, as well as indigenous, has been wracked by Colombia's armed conflict, as well as environmental degradation. Altho the region has great biodiversity, that has suffered from deforestation and destructive gold mining. Much of Colombia's cocaine production is trafficked across El Choco to the Pacific Coast, where it's often shipped north in submarines.

The protesters demanded dredging of the Atrato River, which they said has killed dozens of people in floods. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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