Friday, March 28, 2014

The Displaced People, an Endless Tragedy

"The guerrillas left my town a ghost town," she said. Guerrillas and paramilitaries had been fighting to control the region. 
Colombia's armed conflict has made fewer headlines recently - except for incidents like the two policemen murdered by the FARC the other day. But in the countryside, where armed groups still terrorize campesinos, the conflict remains very real.
Displaced people camped on Plaza Bolivar,
in front of City Hall. 

These people camped in Plaza Bolivar walked for 40 days from Valledupar to Bogotá to demand assistance for displaced people which they say the government owes them. The 13 adults and 3 children come from different parts of Colombia, and were driven from their homes by various armed groups, they said. This woman is from Cesar Department, and said that the guerrillas attacked her town, driving out all the residents.

Displaced women. 
"They left a ghost town," she said.
Guerrillas and paramilitary groups were fighting to control the region, she said.

Colombia's displaced - often the nation's poorest, most humble people - receive very little attention, despite the fact that Colombia may have the world's largest number of displaced persons, according to human rights organizations.

With FARC-government peace negotiations advancing in Havana, Cuba, stories like this woman's also make one ask whether the guerrillas really deserve a role in politics after any peace treaty. But they also provide the hope that, if the conflict ends, perhaps displacement will too.
A mural on 26th St. near Bogotá's Central Cemetery memorializes Colombia's millions of displaced people. 

Photos in the Centro Memoria illustrate the sufferings of displaced people.

Displaced people carry their belongings as they seek a new home. 

A girl amidst the wreckage of her town. 

Boats and violence.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

No comments: