Comuna 13 was considered one of the most dangerous communities in Medellin if not the world. Many may remember our fear of even so much as visiting Colombia due to the rampant drug trafficking and the violence that surrounded this trade. Stories abounded with kidnappings, drug lords taking over small communities, the crime rate soaring. After the death of Pablo Escobar in 1993 however, the government decided to intervene in the ongoing destruction of its youth in Comuna 13 one of the hardest hit communities where a life of violence and crime seemed to be the only option open to its residents to climb the social ladder, or so they were led to believe.
Investment was made in the infrastructure of the community allowing everyone access to schools and public transport instilling in them not only a new vision for their future but a sense of pride in themselves and their community that has transcended from generation to generation. A community that truly embraces the spirit of ‘each one help one’.
Today Comuna 13 is considered one of the safest districts in the world, its walls covered in graffiti art depicting not only the struggles faced by their inhabitants and the evolution of its community, but also embodying messages of peace and unity amongst its people. As you walk the streets, you are entertained by self made dancers, hip hop artists, singers – all intent on making an honest living while promoting a life of honesty and integrity.
We thought we were going to visit an exhibition of the finest street art Medellin has to offer. Instead we were silenced by the beauty and humility of its people, the exuberance of a new culture of youth who look out for each other and who understand the value of community living. We felt safe and secure exploring the ins and outs of the many shops and thoroughly enjoyed the talents of the local artists who performed on demand for our voluntary contributions.
You can visit on your own or with a tour guide (Aeroturex). You will be welcomed with open arms at all times.
4 thoughts on “La Comuna 13”
That must have been quite an amazing experience.
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It certainly was
Yes, we have to give up on the idea that punishment is the only answer to communities in crisis
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Totally agree – the Medellin example shows that respect is critical in the development of any relationship or community.