The Bogotá Pendulum

The Bogotá Pendulum

On my first full day in Bogotá, I took a wrong turn near the edge of one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, La Perseverancia, and was mugged at knifepoint. On my last full day in Bogotá, I had coffee with Colombia's former two-term president in his office. These two experiences—one with the very poor and the other with the very powerful—are the bookends of an exciting week in the Andean capital and serve as a metaphor for the fragmented personality of one of South America's richest lands.

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Thibault Ehrengardt: Gangs of Jamaica

Thibault Ehrengardt: Gangs of Jamaica

"Out in the street, they call it murder ... ” Damian Marley's opening words from 2005 album, Welcome to Jamrockecho the violence in Jamaica’s capital city. The album’s subject links Damian's generation to his father Bob's with a blood-red through-line of bodies dropping in Kingston's poorest regions, and the gangs who rule there. 31 years earlier, in his song “Natty Dread,” Bob talks of a block-by-block stroll up to the Seventh Street border between Wilton Gardens (or "Rema") and Arnette Gardens (or "Concrete Jungle"), the front line of a politically-charged gang war. Today, American and European tourists rarely walk those neighborhoods—preferring Kington's more-manicured paths, and the pristine beaches of Montego Bay, to the swaths of Jamaica that exist as a Third-World nation. 

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