I’ve to introduce this properly. Worked hard on these photos. I was sick. Couldn’t even move a finger. Anyway, I took this pictures in the village El Carmen de Bolivar, 110 kilometers southwest of Cartagena. I stayed there 1,5 month. Not many travelers end up in El Carmen. The last one was a French journalist two years ago. It supposed to be pretty dangerous down here. The village is situated in a zona roja and is practically surrounded by Farc-guerrillas and para-militaries. At night the army close the main roads. When I was there nine of them were blown up by the Farc only 12 miles from El Carmen. I didn’t know this was a delicate part of the country. I ended up here by accident. You see, during my first hour on the Colombian roads I got fined twice. I didn’t have a seguro for the bike. Nobody told me I needed one. First fine I paid off with 40 bucks. Second one was more complicated. A police chief called Dalmiro Betancourt practically took all my money in a place called San Juan, near El Carmen. I didn’t get a bill. I was pretty pissed off. So, next day I went to the alcaldia (local government) of San Juan and talked about this man Dalmiro. Surprisingly they took my complaint serious. I talked to a number of prosecutors; one of them was in El Carmen de Bolivar. That’s how I ended up in this town. To be honest; besides the police I have never met so many nice and sweet people as in Colombia. Colombians are incredibly hospitable. So, from day one I made many, many friends in El Carmen. I started to feel sorry for the Colombians en general. I mean they are sick and tired of being the asshole of the world. La mala fama. So I was thinking; if I can show you the Colombians I’ve met, you’ll see that they are not all guerrillas or narcotraficantes. They’re just people like you and me. In general they are friendlier than you and me.
About the pictures; I’m not a photographer. I just like to take pictures. Hardly ever work with flashlight at night, so some of them are of poor quality. I took them all in front of the church. I used the bike, because the people here absolutely love the Guzzi. Sometimes, especially in the weekends, 200 people surrounded me. So the biggest effort is that I have 100 pics. No names, because I thought it was better this way. I mean with the Farc and the para-militaries and all it could be too much information. Now I regret this. I mean Patricia Rivas Mendéz sounds a lot better than for example photo 56.
And what about Dalmiro Betancourt; he actually lost his job because of me. He is banned from police work for the next ten years. It turned out that I was the first one who complained about him. The people of San Jan had enough of Dalmiro who had the reputation of being a bandito. He’s probably selling hamburgers or polishing shoes now, hijo de cien perras.
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