We take a taxi through Medellín, the city of eternal spring, as the residents affectionately say. However, over the pleasant climate and friendly people, a dark shadow hangs over the city: the legacy of Pablo Escobar.
Pablo Escobar was one of the most notorious drug lords in Colombia’s history and his influence on the city of Medellín and especially the Communa 13 neighborhood was enormous.
Communa 13 was a violent area in the 1990s, dominated by gangs and criminal groups linked to drug trafficking. Under Escobar’s regime, the neighborhood was one of the most dangerous places in Colombia, where gang wars and brutal murders were part of everyday life.
About this topic, There is a popular show called “Narcos” in Netflix right now.
However, much has changed in recent years and Communa 13 is now a place of peace and hope. The government and residents of Medellín have been working hard to improve the situation in the district.
Various projects have been implemented to improve social and economic conditions, and police presences have been increased to ensure security.
The street art is incredible!
In the souvenir shops you can buy fake ID cards of the drug lord, savior and nemesis, Pablo Escobar.
Despite this, Escobar remains an integral part of the history of Communa 13 and Medellín. There is a special tour in Communa 13, the “Graffiti and Peace” tour, led by former gang members who now work in the community.
The tour takes you through the streets of Communa 13, showing the murals and graffiti that were created as expressions of hope and peace. Some of the graffiti also features images of Escobar, a reminder that his presence and influence is still felt in the region.
Overall, for many, Communa 13 is an example of how a community can achieve positive change through hard work and collaboration despite major challenges and difficulties. Although Escobar and his crimes are still part of the story, the community has chosen to create the future and leave the past behind.
Today, for many, Comuna 13 is a place of hope and inspiration, showing the power and will of people capable of making a difference in their communities.
A place of dried blood, now full of hope, but between the small cafés and colorful street art soldiers still show clear presence!
However, we explore the district without a guided tour, although I am sure that we would have liked a personal connection to this district. With Leon, however, such tours are a difficult undertaking as he needs his own time.
Nevertheless, the Communa 13 impresses us very much. The graffiti is incredibly beautiful and with some interpretation related to the story, the motifs have a completely different depth. Via escalators we can come up the hill and dive into the streets.
Instead of gangs, artists and street cafes now dominate the scene. Many tours with tourists meet us. But also a number of soldiers. Relaxed, but with machine guns in their arms, they take the escalator in the direction we are coming from. It seems that their presence here is still necessary. Even if only symbolically.
We return to our place in the center of Medellín and prepare to see the extraordinary Piedra del Penol.