Colombia: Monuments and Landmarks

Parque del Periodista, Journalist's Park

Parque del Periodista, Journalist's Park

A year ago we wrote about Vlog International, a network of Spanish speaking vloggers who send in videos on a certain topic, and then one of them puts them all together into a short collaborative video. This last one asked vloggers to show which monuments are an important part of their city, and the answers came from different parts of Colombia, Mexico, and the US.

Albornoz from Cali shows us the Monument to Solidarity, Cristina in Mexico City shows us the Jacaranda trees in bloom, From Monteria, CD shows us a statue of Bolivar with no Sword, other statues with no apparent relevance and a sculpture erected to show “a window into the future”. Alejo from Barranquilla picks out from all the different traditional monuments one that honors the traditional hat used in the coast, the “Sombrero Vueltiado”. Largo from New Jersey shows us the Manhattan Skyline. Mafe shows us a park in Bogotá, all decked out for Christmas and last but not least, Juan David brings us a political monument in Medellin, built to remind the population of the murder of several children back in 1992 by the Colombian armed forces.

Today we'll concentrate on that last 40 second clip, featuring a sculpture with children playing, located in a downtown park of Medellin, Colombia. The Journalist's Park is a no-man's land, where urban subcultures meet and meld in a drug induced haze, and it is also the home to this sculpture, which was built as a homage to the the 8 children and 1 adult executed by the armed forces as they were standing outside a store in their neighborhood back in 1992. It seems the members of the military were trying to retaliate against gang members who had been murdering police officers, but instead they ended up killing the young members of a Christian youth group. An eye-witness said:

“La niña tenía los pies quebrados y no podía correr; del carro le decían matala pues y él le disparó a la niña con un arma grande; luego se montaron en el carro y se fueron”. Ese doloroso recuento lo hizo hace 16 años Martha Elena Toro Álvarez a la Fiscalía General de la Nación al dar cuenta del asesinato de Johanna Mazo Ramírez, de 8 años de edad, una de las nueve víctimas de la masacre del barrio Villatina, ocurrida el 15 de noviembre de 1992, a manos de un comando de policías vestidos de civil adscritos al F-2.

“The girl had broken her feet and couldn't run; from the car they said to go ahead and kill her and he shot the girl with a big weapon; then they climbed on the car and left”. This painful account was made 16 years ago by Martha Elena Toro Alvarez to the National Attorney General when testifying on the murder of 8 year old Johanna Mazo Ramírez, one of the nine victims of the Barrio Villatina massacre on November 15th 1992 on the hands of a police command who were part of the F-2, dressed as civilians.

The Journalist's Park has been the subject of different videos, although recording there, according to Juan David, require a big dose of diplomacy and basically asking permition of the junkies and drug dealers that spend their time in the park.

The following video, although it has problems with the audio, shows us different characters who can be found in the park: they speak of tolerance, of freedom, and how the park changes and mutates according to the time of day or night.

Centropolis, on the other hand, is trying to change the reputation of the park, by including more cultural activities, trying to get a different, cleaner crowd at the park:

This is not a new endeavor by any means: the Pixelazo festival back in 2007 took a truck out to the park, set up screens and proceeded to have world-class Video Jockeys and DJs mixing images and music, surprising the locals and those just passing through the park.

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