On my way to school I saw earlier regularly bodies on the road. We heard helicopter noise, fled, we as quickly as possible in one of the surrounding houses and hid under a bed, because the helicopter meant danger, and the corrugated metal roofs in our neighborhood Comuna 13 and the messenger in the Colombian city of Medellin hardly any protection from the shots. Once a tank behind me even went, I was just seven years old.
The district of Comuna 13 in the 1980s and 1990s, to the world, sadly, as one of the most dangerous places in the world. Here is a drug war, the cocaine smuggling was raging boomed, various guerrilla militias fought against each other. The state gave out from all of this for years.
For the inhabitants, there were often only two options: working either with the police or with a drug gang. My family tried as much as possible to stay out of this. All residents had to be careful not to that you entered accidentally a different district, because the drug terrorists did not hesitate to defend their territory and to kill "intruders" on the spot. The shots and screams in the night, we had been accustomed for a long time. We asked children at the time, what they wanted to be later, then they said: police officer – to kill the Gangster. All of this has changed fortunately in the last few years radically.
We have tired of it, that Colombia is seen as a Drug stronghold.
Today I can walk the streets without fear of me. In the quarter you can hear laughter and music, colorful graffiti covering the shot-holes littered the walls, you can see children playing and people drinking coffee. In 2002, the first change came with the new President, Álvaro Uribe. Through the "Operation Orion" and other interventions, the military eliminated the gangsters and paramilitaries, to a large extent. Properly peace was not yet, smaller groups took Power. Only in 2010, thanks to various projects such as a library, and the open-air escalators that make the on a steep hillside, Quartier easier to walk on, a returned peace.
Clearly, there are still problems. The drug business continues to flourish. I feel the night is still not sure and try to be in front of the twilight home. Violence takes place but, in General, only the drug gangs, the population will be left in peace. To pay if a price: Many of the shops and even the public buses have a protection money to the Gangs, so they are not attacked. The police know this, but she is not lubricated by the gear heads, in order to intervene. Corruption remains a major Problem in Colombia.
However, there are also numerous social projects, whose goal is a positive future of the Comuna 13. In addition to my studies to become a teacher, I lead for two years on a voluntary basis the organization "Stairway Storytellers". We give young people from the district free of charge English lessons, take care of a community garden and organize Christmas concerts with gifts for the children. In addition, we offer daily guided tours for tourists, each of them is for a collection, as much as he likes. Abroad, it brings Medellin is still the drug Empire of Pablo Escobar's poison in conjunction in the popular Netflix series "Narcos" is he glorified. For us, it was nothing more than a Terrorist. We are tired of it, that Colombia is seen as a Drug stronghold. This is the image we want to change and show the world that one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world now has new life and hope for the future. Used to be a taxi driver would not even be in this area – that today tourists visit our district and makes us happy and proud.
Created: 06.02.2019, 15:35 PM