|A displaced man holds his son on Plaza Bolivar this evening.|
|A displaced man uses a piece of cardboard as shelter from |
the rain on Plaza Bolivar today.
The guerrillas "killed my father and brother and took the land for themselves," said Ligia, who fled her farm in Tolima eight years ago.
"One group arrives and demands something," recalled 78-year-old Pastor Oyuela, who was driven from his farm near Villavicencio a decade ago; "then others arrive, and if you don't give them what they want, they kill you."
|Pastor Oyuela, 78, left, was driven from his land more than a decade ago.|
The terrified campesinos gather a few belongings and run, usually to cities, where they struggle to survive in these strange and frightening places.
"In the city, a campesino is lost," said Alberto, who fled his land a decade ago and has since sold empanadas and washed cars.
|Displaced people huddle under plastic |
sheeting in the rain on Plaza Bolivar.
|A few days ago, displaced men set up another |
tent on Plaza Bolivar.
Late Tuesday night police arrived on Plaza Bolivar and knocked down the tents and took away mattresses and other other belongings, which were thrown into a garbage truck, the displaced people said. Wednesday evening, under a cold rain, many of the people were still on the plaza, huddling under plastic tarps and wondering where they could go next.
When presidential election voters go to polls on Plaza Bolivar on Sunday, they won't be reminded of this huge tragedy. Presidential candidates have barely mentioned the problem of forced displacement during the campaign.
|The encampment that was.|
Oyuela puts little stock in the peace talks.
"That's great that they're negotiating," he said. "But what kind of peace can there be if people are dying from hunger? If they're searching for jobs and there aren't any?"
|A cross rests against a tent on Plaza Bolivar |
a few days ago.
"Here we are begging for help from the government," said Oyuela, "I was never like this before."
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours
|Tents and clothes hanging on Plaza Bolivar, under Garcia Marquez's portrait.|
|Lining up for soup by City Hall.|
|Receiving soup by City Hall. They said it was donated by neighbors.|
|Dislodged people with their mattresses beside the Simon Bolivar statue on Plaza Bolivar.|
|Packing up to go.|
|Police watch over recently dislodged displaced people.|