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The other face of Colombia: a journey into South American hotspot

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The other face of Colombia: a journey into South American hotspot

The other face of Colombia: a journey into South American hotspot

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https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/23194298.jpg” alt=”A piece by Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum, Bogota, Colombia. Botero sees his plump figures as evoking ” the sensuality of he insists that does not paint fat photo courtesy christine westmaas> < img src="https://newsday.co.tt/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/23194298.jpg"alt ="A piece by Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum, Bogota, Colombia. Botero sees his plump figures as stimulating"the sensuality of he firmly insists that does not paint fat image courtesy christine westmaas >
A piece by Fernando Botero at the Botero Museum, Bogota, Colombia. Botero sees his plump figures as stimulating “the sensuality of type. “He firmly insists that”he does not paint fat individuals.”Image courtesy Christine Westmaas-

JAN WESTMAAS

Being in front of my desktop today, I'm feeling nostálgico (homesick) for Colombia, as I see on YouTube Alberto Barros and his orchestra carry out Colombia's many widely known Cumbia– Mi tierra querida (My precious nation). This patriotic tune is as near a nationwide anthem you can get. Colombia has actually constantly enthralled me since my very first check out in 1974 to that huge, geographically and culturally varied country on the South American continent. That belonged to a two-month honeymoon experience on our own by land throughout 4 Andean countries– Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

My spouse and I flew from Piarco by Linea Aeropostale de Venezuela (45 minutes) to Maturin, Eastern Venezuela where our ground trip began and ended. The majority of the journey was on public buses and trains (Peru) however when the requirement occurred, we hitchhiked. In Venezuela and Colombia (Bucaramanga and Bogota), we stuck with buddies or with pals of good friends. Otherwise, for most of the journey, we looked for lodging in hostels or low-cost hotels. One specific in Neiva, Colombia ended up being a burdel (whorehouse). In a flash, we made our exit. The bus station was close by. What a life saver! The chauffeur of the extremely bus we prepared to take a trip in to our next location enabled us to board hours prior to it was because of leave the following early morning.

That was 49 years earlier. In mid-July this year, under greatly various conditions, glamorous in contrast with our journey in 1974, we reviewed Colombia with a group of 30 Trinis on a 13-day overland bus trip. We passed through 8 of the nation's 32 departments, to wit: Cundinamarca, Huila, Caldas, Quindío, Tolima, Cauca, Valle de Cauca and Risaralda. The trip began and ended in the nation's capital, Bogota, previously called Bacata, the base of the Chibcha Indigenous individuals prior to the Spanish conquest in the early16th century.

Brave and bold (the large bulk in their 60s and over), our well-travelled group depended on the job. As I recall at our odyssey, the veterans with their transmittable interest, their enthusiasm for and their desire to adjust, would put to embarassment individuals far more youthful than they are. “Colombia? You need to be insane”, was the response of a pal of a member of our group when he became aware of his strategies to take a trip there.

Polluted by images in the media of political instability, violence (guerilla activity) and narco-trafficking, to name a few things, Colombia barely includes in the pail list of lots of “uninformed” and unadventurous visitors. Without exception every member of our group returned with an alternative or various view of Colombia– “la otra cara de mi pais”– the other face of my nation, to estimate Paul, our affable and determined bus motorist.

Colombia is the only nation to be called after Cristobal Colon, the popular or notorious “originator” of the New World. Whether this deserves yelling about is arguable however without rewording history, it deserves keeping in mind the unfavorable effect of European “civilisation” on Colombia's native individuals. Our check out to the Museo de Oro on the day after we got here revealed the high level of civilization attained by the Muiscas and the Chibchas.

Colombia is likewise the most populated Spanish-speaking nation in the South American continent (51.52 million residents), according to a 2021 census. Its language is available in various ranges and accents. Highlanders or residents of the Andean area tend to spoke more gradually and less clipped than their equivalents, the costenos (residents of the coast) however the language stays Spanish and is comprehended by residents all over. Que chimba! That's cool! And if you occur to “mom gallo” (draw a rooster), you're merely putting things off. This might sound familiar to us in TT. With our part Hispanic heritage, we likewise utilize the term mamaguy (actually mom gallo) in our own method.

Geographically, the nation is special. It's the just South American country to surround both the Atlantic Ocean (the Caribbean Sea) and the Pacific Ocean. Colombia likewise shares a land border with 5 nations– Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Panama. In 1903 Panamanians revolted versus the Colombian federal government and stated Panama an independent republic. Colombia is likewise the just South American nation where the high and rugged Andean mountains divided into 3 unique chains or cordilleras- the Oriental, the Central and the Occidental.

A sculpture by Fernando Botero. Image courtesy Ken Jaikaransingh. –

If all this is not remarkable enough, approximately May, Colombia was ranked amongst the most bio-diverse nations on the planet. And with 1966 types of birds, representing 20 percent of the world's overall, it topped the list in range of birds. Found in the equatorial tropics with a range of environments and eco-systems from Amazon tropical rain forest to freezing paramos, Colombia is extremely ranked as an eco-tourist location.

The official economy– narco-trafficking aside– is sustained mostly by petroleum (34 percent of exports), mining (coal and copper), production, a fast-growing information tech market (the biggest fiber optic network in Latin America) and farming (16 percent of labour force). In coffee production, Colombia ranks 3rd worldwide. We experienced this very first hand as we drove along the mountainous roadways of the nation's Unesco decreed eje cafetero (coffee axis) that connected the towns of Manizales, Ibague, Pereira and Armenia.

Politically, Colombia has actually been on a roller rollercoaster trip given that it stated self-reliance from Spain on July 20, 1810. Complete self-reliance did not come till 1819 when Gran Colombia was formed. This was a union of 4 entities (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) that was developed and crafted by the Venezuelan-born, Simon Bolivar. In 1831 in reaction to the liberator's dictatorial propensities, the union was liquified. In impact, the 4 states stopped working to settle on how power was going to be dispersed. Colombia's liberator Francisco de Paula Santander ended up being Bolivar's primary enemy. Perhaps, Colombia attained reliable self-reliance as a different state from that point on.

Torrents of water– tidy and unclean– have actually flown under the numerous bridges of this interesting nation ever since. After abounding years of violence (the duration described as La Violencia) in between the primary competing celebrations- the Liberals (the Reds) and the Conservatives (the Blues), Colombia's nascent democracy has actually had the ability to withstand relentless risks from the narcotraffickers and from the severe left- wing guerillas (the FARC).

Settlements in between Colombia Humana, a celebration formed by, Gustavo Petro, an ex-guerilla and the FARC, caused the development of the popular Pacto Historico which moved Petro to success in a union in 2022. Petro won the popular choose president by the greatest margin in Colombia's electoral history!

It's not all honky dory. As I compose, news has actually simply concerned hand that Petro's child, Nicolas, is being charged for corruptly getting cash from drug lords to fund his dad's project. Unclean water certainly however the encouraging news is that his daddy has actually asserted that he will not pertain to his defence if the accusations show real. The president has actually 2 years left in workplace and by law can not serve a 2nd term.

To get to Bogota from Trinidad we left by Copa Airlines by means of Panama at the ungodly hour of 4 am. By mid-afternoon we had actually settled in to Hotel Dann on Avenida 19 as near city centre (La Candelaria) as you can get. The whole city, higher Bogota consisted of, covers 1,587 sq km and has a population of near 11 million occupants. It lies approximately in the centre of the nation and rests on a high savannah and upland basin 2,640 metres above water level at the foot of the Cordillera Oriental. Due to the fact that of its height, the environment year-round can vary from cool to cold, or perhaps cold when it is windy.

To the east, ignoring the city is Cerro Monserrate (3,152 meters above water level). On it stands a 17th century church with a shrine. The day after we returned from our bus trip to the south of the nation, we took the teleferico (cable television cars and truck) to the top. From there, in spite of the cloudy night, we had a commanding view of the city. In the misty insanity listed below, traffic was bumper to bumper as unlimited streams of bikes weaved in and out of their lanes while the prolonged, articulated buses of the transmilenio, Bogota's response to the city, moved unencumbered in their devoted lane.

And with a little effort, I had the ability to think where the narrow streets of downtown Candelaria, the Plaza Bolivar, the Alcaldia (city center), the Archbishop's Palace, the Cathedral and the Capitolio (House of Congress lay. It was much easier to determine the stretching south where the low and middle classes lived and the extensive north where part of the city's Gran Sabana was taken control of by many high-rise buildings, going shopping malls and well-off areas.

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