Medellin , Colombia. The district Alto La Torre in the Comuna 8 of Medellin . This is a district with a high risk of erosion still largely under the control of criminal gangs and inhabited by many desplazed families such as the family of Cecilia and Marina Estrada.
Cecilia Estrada, 32, is portrayed in her home in the neighborhood El Alto de La Torre in Comuna 8. Walls of exposed wood, earth floor, tin ceiling, rooms divided by tents. Cecilia lives here with her family since 2000, when together with her family she's forced to leave the house where she has grown up in a rural area of the state of Antioquia. The mother, Luz Marina Estrada, in order to support the medical expenses for the treatment of a rare disease diagnosed to one of her children, decides to sell part of the land of her farm. Realizing only later that the buyer was the wife of a paramilitary. Slowly the new neighbors claim the entire property. They decide that the farm resides in a strategic point for control of the area. Marina and her children are settled with little money and forced to move to Medellin. With few economic resources remained she buys a piece of land from the gangs who control the area. El Alto de La Torre is an illegal urbanization at high risk of erosion, under the control of local criminal gangs linked to paramilitaries who sell portions of land. Cecilia's house is haunted by fleas. She has five children and works at night mixing and frying arepas in a small factory owned by a man linked to a group of paramilitaries. Wages below the minimum threshold and the obligation to her and to the neighborhood families to purchase a certain amount of arepas per week.
Ana Giu Lady Blandon Arboleda, 24 years is portrayed inside her house in the neighborhood of Funeraria in Medellin. Ana was 12 years old at the time of the operation Orión and during that time together with her family she was forced to leave the house where she grew up in the Comuna 13. The house became necessary to the guerrilla groups FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) to control the armed battles against the governmental army and the paramilitaries groups. In late 2002 the government ordered the army to intervene to dismantle the urban militias of the FARC and the National Liberation Army and regain control of the Comuna. The operation was called Orión, and was implemented with the help of the paramilitaries. About a thousand armed men entered the neighborhood from the sky led by two Black Hawk helicopters that began firing indiscriminately upon everything and everyone was standing in the neighborhood. The operation caused at least 72 deaths. According to several human rights associations, more than 90 percent of the victims was made up of civilians who had nothing to do with the conflict. There were over three hundred disappeared. The home of Ana Giu was burned down by the army and the family was forced to emigrate to another district of the city . Ana Giu’s past has been marked by a severe drug addiction. But after the birth of her second child she decided to dedicate her life to her family and to the building of a profession. Today she's studying to become a professional beautician.
Alba, Ninfa Arcila Manrique’s daughter is seeing packing to get ready to move from the house in the district of El Limonar in the northern outskirts of Medellin. After a displacement suffered in the year 2000, Maria and her family is again forced to leave the apartment that the government assigned her to move to a more central and liveable district in the city. Alba and her mother Maria hope that this move will help her disappeared brother Manuel to come back home. Manuel had been targeted by some young neighbours related to the “Urabeños
Luz Geraldine, 16 years, is 8 months pregnant. She is portrayed with his sister Valentina at her grandmother's house in the neighbourhood Alto La Torre in the Comuna 8 of Medellin. District with high risk of erosion, inhabited by many internally displaced families.
The wall of the house of Luz Marina Estrada in the neighborhood Alto La Torre in the Comuna 8 of Medellin. District with high risk of erosion, inhabited by many internally displaced families.
Maria Ninfa Arcila Manrique, 57, is portrayed inside her apartment in the district of El Limonar on the northern outskirts of the city. Maria is originally from Argelia, Antioquia, a predominantly rural country southwest of Medellin from where she was forced to emigrate. She was married to an old man of 85 years who had several other children from a previous marriage. They were fighters belonging to the guerrilla group of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). After the death of her husband, her stepchildren promptly asked her to leave their home with her new three children. Otherwise they would have killed her. Forced to leave her homeland in the year 2000, Maria Ninfa reaches the city of Medellin and decides to denounce her story. The government assigns her then an apartment in the neighborhood of El Limonar. The Uribe government has developed programs to help displaced population providing official recognition of their status and benefits to health and housing. It has created neighbourhood specifically addressed to displaced family, “forgetting” to develop the areas around those neighborhoods, often located very far from city centres. These districts are then deprived of necessary services and soon infested by criminal gangs who have found fertile ground to manage and offer their services. El Limonar is controlled by the “Urabeños
The house of Villa Gladis Elena Estrada , another daughter of Luz Marina Estrada, in the district Alto La Torre in the Comuna 8 of Medellin. District at high risk of erosion , inhabited by many internally displaced families.
Ruth Elena, 49 years old, is portrayed along with Adelina, a little girl who is trying to adopt, within her home in the Comuna 6 in Medellin. She was 24 years old when she found the lifeless body of her husband. He was 25 years old he was the city councillor for the town of Santa Marta, in the coastal region of Magdalena. The mere fact that he represented the law was enough to justify the motive of his killers: A paramilitary group in control of the area. Ruth had two children, a small one of 22 months old and a second of only 6 months old. The paramilitaries granted her six hours to pack her bags and leave the city, where she and her husband wanted to spend their entire lives. Ruth Elena walked for days with two babies hanging from her body. Being the wife of a municipal leader assassinated by paramilitaries resulted into a sentence of solitary confinement, no one had the courage to help her in fear of becoming in turn target of her husband killers. She arrived after three long months of wandering in Medellin, looking for any kind of work to support herself and her children, careful of not revealing her story to anyone, conscious of the discrimination that might attract to herself and her children. It has been 25 years since that terrible year that changed her life and now Ruth Elena is a civil lawyer. Only 10 years ago she has found the courage to report her story under the exhortation of some of her legal colleagues. An American commission for human rights has opened a process to track down those responsible for the murder of her husband. The government has compensated the loss with a compensation of only 3 million pesos (about 1,100 EUR).
Maria Rosalba Pareja Redondo, 58 is portrayed inside her apartment in the district of El Limonar in the outskirts of Medellin. She lives there along with her three grandchildren, children of the eldest daughter disappeared nine years ago while going to look for work in the city of Valledupar. Maria Rosalba was forced to abandon her home in Doveiba Antioquia in the year 2000 following the assassination of her husband by the guerrilla group of FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo) .
Gladis Elena Estrada, daughter of Luz Marina Estrada, is portrayed together with her three children in the district Alto La Torre in the Comuna 8 of Medellin. District at high risk of erosion , inhabited by many internally displaced families.
A view of the suburb El Limonar in Medellin, where the government has equally distributed houses to internally displaced families and families of “desmobilizados
A painting depicting a religious scene in the house of Ana Giu Lady Blandon Arboleda, in the district of Funeraria Medellin.
Marina Luz Estrada ,63 looks out from her house in the district of Alto La Torre In Comuna 8 of Medellin .Luz Marina lives in this neighborhood with the her family since 2000, the year she and her family was forced by violence to leave the house inherited by her parents in Uraba' Mutata , an agricultural area of the state of Antioquia . n order to support the medical expenses for the treatment of a rare disease diagnosed to one of her children, decides to sell part of the land of her farm. Realizing only later that the buyer was the wife of a paramilitary. Slowly the new neighbors claim the entire property. They decide that the farm resides in a strategic point for control of the area. Marina and her children are settled with little money and forced to move to Medellin. With few economic resources remained she buys a piece of land from the gangs who control the area. El Alto de La Torre is an illegal urbanization at high risk of erosion, under the control of local criminal gangs linked to paramilitaries who sell portions of land to many displaced families.
Alba, Ninfa Arcila Manrique’s daughter is seeing packing to get ready to move from the house in the district of El Limonar in the northern outskirts of Medellin. After a displacement suffered in the year 2000, Maria and her family is again forced to leave the apartment that the government assigned her to move to a more central and liveable district in the city. Alba and her mother Maria hope that this move will help her disappeared brother Manuel to come back home. Manuel had been targeted by some young neighbours related to the “Urabeños
Ermilda Usuga Lopez is portrayed inside her room in the center of Medellin. Ida comes from a small town in the western side of the state of Antioquia, Caño Gordas. She lost two sons. Her only two sons. Ida was forced to leave her homeland in 2001 when her first son, Robert Alonso, was 14 and was approached and threatened by a group of paramilitaries that wanted to enlist him in their group. She then decided to move with her children to the city of Medellin to find a job and a house to raise them. After few years in Medellin, his son returned to his native town to visit a friend and was found dead few hours later his arrival. Ida was pregnant with her second child. Cristian Alberto, who was born in 2007, a few hours after the discovery of the death of the first child. Cristian disappeared a year ago after a visit to one of his cousin in another district of the city. She has looked for him everywhere, desperate to know what happened to him.
Valentina, one of Cecilia Estrada’s daughters is portrayed within her house in the neighborhood Alto La Torre in the Comuna 8 of Medellin . District with high risk of erosion , inhabited by many internally displaced families.
Marina Luz Estrada is portrayed with her niece inside her house in the district of Alto La Torre In Comuna 8 of Medellin.
A boy repairs the tin roof of his house in anticipation of the next rains in the district Alto Tower in Comuna 8 of Medellin.
The association Las Sabinas founded by Dora Neli Restrepo gathers once a week all women who were victims of forzed desplacement, sexual violence and discrimination. The association encourage them to build nets by orginezing several activies such as cooking and sewing classes. They are seen here in a group prayer before starting a cooking class.
Ana Giu Lady is portrayed in her house in the district of
uris Inelda Moreno Pino, 39, is portrayed along with her two daughters aged 7 and 13 years in her apartment in the district of El Limonar. As for many other families that suffered a displacement she was assigned an apartment in this district as a partial help and compensation . Nuris is native of the city of Boyacá in the region of Chocó. In 2002 the city of Boyacá suffered a strong attack by the guerrilla group of ELN who intended to terrorise the inhabitants of the region and to fight the paramilitaries groups that were occupying the town.On a Sunday morning a bomb exploded inside the main town’s church killing 180 people. Nuris and her husband took their children and they fled deciding to head to the city of Medellin. Nurris husband was killed after a violent aggression in the city centre. Nuris and her daughters now lives alone in el Limonar, a neighborhood specifically created to accommodate displaced families. El Limonar is a very peculiar neighborhood. Together with the families that suffered displacement, the government has also housed families of former members of paramilitary and drug trafficking groups who have surrendered to justice and have dealt with the State. The victims has often found themselves in front of their perpetrator.
A view of the apartment where Nuris Inelda and her children live.
Margarita Villanta is portrayed in her home in the district of “la Frontera”, a suburb northwest of Medellin, on the border with the city of Bello. Margarita is 57 years old and lives with her mother. Five years ago she has been forced to leave her home after she witnessed a murder committed by one of the "Strianas" member, one of the most powerful criminal gangs in the city, once linked to Pablo Escobar. Margarita then moved to San Rafael with her two children. The experience and the obsession of this persecution have traumatized her to the point of developing a cancer and a form of madness. Even the 24 year old daughter has suffered the traumatic experience developing an addiction to drugs. Today Margarita lives locked up in her house, that has no electricity, helped by her sisters who bring her food and medicine, terrified by the city.