colombia's fugitives from woe - clear plastic corrugated sheets
In this slum outside Bogota, José Donato lives in a tin shed overlooking a quarry, like a light toxic rain, all day in his
15 miles away, one of Colombia's most popular talk show hosts, Fernando Gonzalez Pacheco, was in Miami at night in an apartment building with a swimming pool and tennis courts.
These people are both sides of Colombia's growing refugee crisis, a national disaster that has forced millions of people out of their homes as the United States injects and violence escalatesS.
Aid to the drug war
For the rural poor, escape means a dirty respite in the shantytowns around the cities of this country that has been torn apart by guerrilla warfare.
For the rich and middle class, this is a plane trip to Miami or Madrid, where more and more columnians have created an exile community of industrialists, politicians, actors and businessmen
The largest population outflow in the hemisphere has affected the country in many ways.
But perhaps the most damaging thing is that instead of creating a common sense of loss in a distant place.
On the contrary, the crisis in Colombia has deepened the divisions of the divided country.
In doing so, the flight of more than 2 million people since 1995-
This number is equivalent to one out of every 20 columnians. -
It reinforces the awareness of a society that has nothing in common.
This has also exacerbated the opportunity for peace, where the best, brightest overseas and the poorest and most tragic remain the targets of recruitment for gangs, guerrillas and death squads.
"This is one of the biggest tragedies in the current situation in Colombia.
"No one is boating together," said Bruce Bagley, a professor at the University of Miami who is an expert on Columbia.
"Colombia is not united.
"The massive chaos has also had a devastating impact on the economy.
The unemployment rate has soared to nearly 20%, as rural poverty flooded already crowded cities in the midst of a severe recession to find jobs that didn't exist.
At the same time, according to some estimates, the rich and middle class fled with their passbooks, resulting in more than $2 billion in annual capital losses.
The chaos in the countryside is the worst, and the entire village has fled violence in Colombia --
The number of armed groups is staggering.
Right-wing Left-wing guerrillas
Right-wing paramilitary groups and narco-
According to human rights groups, traffickers often attack civilians, either occupy the territory or clean up more land and plant coca plants.
Donato and his family of five are examples.
Three years ago, Donato was informed that his name was on a list of executions.
He thinks he's the target. -Whether it's narco-
Someone who smuggled cocaine or a local rebel. -
Because he resigned from his job as a fumigator on a cocaine plantation, he took part in government projects aimed at encouraging legal agriculture.
On the same day, he packed up his family and headed to the capital Bogota.
Like thousands of other refugees, their families finally arrived at Cazuca, a crumbling Tin House and dirt road that tilted towards Bogota.
Poverty, crime and despair make slums the wasteland of cities.
The hills of Cazuca are barren, with only blue plastic sheets as a shelter for thousands of people.
Through a dirty stream from the middle, the run-off from the quarry was dusty all day long.
The stream is like a laundry for women.
This is a community pool for kids.
Once in Cazuca, Donato pieced together a house of corrugated tin and plastic sheets.
He said a government official had visited him and offered to help his family.
He never saw that man again.
Donato is now worried all day about how to support his family.
He is looking for a job, but he can't find a job all the time.
He read the Bible and has faith in God.
But not the government.
"They promised to help us, but they didn't," he said . ".
"Everything we have is given to us by others.
"The violent activities of paramilitary, anti-government militants in rural areas have caused thousands of people like Donato who have little awareness that the government can protect them from violence, or once they have escaped
Therefore, refugee experts say they have become disjointed and discontented and have become candidates for paramilitary groups and guerrillas who wander through these slums.
"There is no concept of a country, a United Nations," said Libardo Sarmiento, a political scientist at the National University.
"This is a real Balkanization.
"To make matters worse, the government seems to repay the apathy of the displaced with its own indifference.
Even now, the debate between President Andrés Pastrana's office and local churches and charities is still raging, and it is estimated that the number of refugees in the country did not exceed 180,000 last year, this figure is over 317,000.
The government's aid program aims to help refugees receive retraining and education.
But critics say they are too red tape, too little resources to do a lot of good things.
"The government is working as hard as an ostrich," said Jorge Rojas, director of the human rights and displaced persons advisory company, which is one of the most respected NGOs in the country.
"Insecurity, fear and lack of opportunity in this country determine the pace of our development.
"The refugee crisis is not new to Colombia.
For a country that has gone through more than 50 yearsand-
Outside the conflict, people who fled their homes are standard.
For example, in the 1940 s and 1950 s, when the country was shaken by the Civil War, the victorious soldiers played football with the beheading of the killed opponent, and it is estimated that more than 12% of the population was displaced.
What makes this particular outflow so damaging to the political body is that it happened during the worst recession in Colombia in decades.
Many displaced persons turned to common crime because of lack of work-
Unsafe factors have increased further.
"What you're talking about is a comprehensive breakthrough in social structure," Rojas said . ".
"Displaced persons have lost their capacity to participate in political life, their homes and their cultural, social status and everything.
"The rich and middle classes in Colombia face different problems, but they are equally harmful to the country's social structure.
While it is difficult to get reliable figures, some observers estimate that as many as 200,000 people-
In a country of 40 million people-
Leave the country every year and do not return, the vast majority of people go to the United States.
One of them is Pacheco, who appeared on Colombia's first talk show nearly 40 years ago and has since been king of Colombian television.
His Bogota office is full of photos of VIPs he has interviewed over the years, a pictographic record of the past of grief and violence in Colombia.
A portrait shows the well of Pacheco
The famous political satire who was later shot dead on Bogota street.
Another news anchor fled the country after being threatened with death.
Pacheco and a former president were subsequently accused of carrying out a political campaign with the support of Naco. traffickers.
A cousin of Pacheco decided to leave after being kidnapped.
Like thousands of columnians, he moved to Miami, where he rented a small house in a community full of fellow citizens.
In one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, Pacheco finally felt safe.
But he realized that he missed the day-to-day life in Bogota.
"This is my home.
This is my country.
"I want to die here," Pacheco said during his frequent visit to the Bogota office.
"I just hope this is natural death.
"According to economists and political experts, the absence of thousands of people like Pacheco has hurt the country in many ways.
First of all, when those who leave take the money and reinvest the money in the newly discovered home, capital flows out.
The economy has lost potential employers or consumers.
The government has lost taxes that can be used for social investment.
Then the feeling of insecurity.
If the government cannot protect its highest citizens, who can it protect?
After retirement, the head of the national police force had to transfer his family to the United States to seek the protection of hundreds of drug dealers he helped jailed.
But the most serious thing is the departure of XXX.
Called human capital-
The loss of intellectuals, they can work to solve the country's numerous economic, social and political problems.
The death threat led to the evacuation of academic departments from top universities.
The opinion pages of the main newspapers are filled with columns from journalists and politicians who now live abroad.
"With this escape, you have an expatriate of intellectuals who have lost contact with the situation," said Francisco Santos, one of the top journalists in the United States, after receiving the threat, he had to flee himself.
"In the peace process, you lose people who may offer different ideas, different types of solutions.
"For many columnians, the departure of the middle class is one of the most worrying features of the current crisis.
Colombia has long had a large middle class, which is part of the reason why the country's political and economic history is more stable than most other countries in the region.
Among the guerrillas who are constantly demanding to flee is Maria Nelly Valencia, who runs a small shop in the western city of Cali selling copier supplies.
The guerrillas forced her to pay for the blackmail, but asked for more on multiple occasions.
One day a group of people tried to kidnap her when she left the store.
She ran away in the car but decided it was time to leave.
She left the children she grew up with who could not afford to leave.
Valencia, who now runs a florist in Miami, said she didn't want to go back much.
In an interview with the Columbia American Service Association in Miami
She is at the center of Colombian immigration, and she talks carefully about her new home and the country she left behind. "It's safe here.
I can walk in the street.
"There are many opportunities," Valencia said . "
"It's not like Colombia.
Experts said: "The departure of the middle class will only exacerbate the growing gap between the rich and the poor.
This heralds further trouble.
"If the middle class leaves the country at their current pace, you 'd better turn on the lights in Colombia," said Michael Scheffer, a Colombian expert at Inter Milan.
American dialogue, Washington think tank.
For Maria Dilia Obando, the lights are off.
Another resident of the favela, Obando, 55-
Make a living on gallon drums.
Her husband picks up lemons in the bin behind the Bogota market, hoping to sell them on the street.
A group of masked men came to the door and told them that after leaving, the family fled their home.
They believe that perhaps Cazuca will provide more opportunities for a safer place to live.
On the contrary, things will only get worse.
There is no sign of stopping.
"Our lives were much better before," said Obando.
"It's too hard now.
No one can help.