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Introduction to the project

The Other Colombia








Introduction to the Project

There is a Colombia left out, ignored. To meet her, most of the times you need to take some muddy tracks deformed by the hooves of the mules or embarked on a tiny little rowboat and then, travel several hours. This Colombia doesn’t know what are the effects of the growth. It’s still waiting for the next visit of a health brigade or the coming of a schoolteacher. But this Colombia isn’t only poverty and misery. It is also the liveliness, the ingenuity and the passion from those who learned to survive and to construct a world far from anywhere. You can meet it in the course of a vallenato refrain, on the rythms of a cumbia, or when you let yourself drive by the incredible stories of a local ranchera song. This is the other Colombia, out of the cities far away from the decision-making centres, living in the countryside at the pace of the harvest, the rainy period and the moon cycle. It built herself on some strengthening community ties, with reciprocity and solidarity’s strength, looking at the consumer society and its middle class with desire or disgust.

This Colombia experienced mistrust, harshness and violence too. Some people say it was born on April nine, 1948, when Jorge Eliécer Gaitán the popular liberal presidential candidate was murdered in Bogotá. The fights between conservatives and liberals give the first moments of the internal war and lead part of the liberal opposition to find a shelter in the countryside. Then the guerrilla emerged, like the FARC-EP (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – Peoples Army). A first block took shape gradually: the South Bloc in the Caquetá region. Based on a Marxist-Leninist approach, the guerilla set up in the countryside all along its history. Today, the other Colombia is the main stage of the armed conflict, while in the big city the effects of the war on daily life are rarely felt.

The project presented here is constructed around three distinct parts. The first one will present the other Colombia I meet in the Caquetá department. The second one introduces the FARC-EP combatants during unilateral ceasefires declared by the guerrillas. And the third one would document the concrete construction of peace in the territory, from the beginning, with the first public meeting with the guerrilla, to the return to civil life.

It’s an ongoing project and the main purpose is, beyond the unique military feature, using a social and political focus on this six decade internal war and its possible aftermaths. The project intends to photograph the attempt to find peace in these areas, where war was born and imposed itself day after day on the territories, the bodies, and the spirits of the people living there.

The project received a Emergency Fund 2016
from the Magnum Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund

The reportages contain more pictures, please contact me if you need to see more or, well, if you want to support!