Colombia Tears Down Infamous Slum Known For Drug-Running

Photo: REUTERS/David Mercado

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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Colombian authorities started tearing down the Bogota slum called “the Bronx” Wednesday.

Mayor Enrique Peñalosa’s office referred to the Bronx as “a true epicenter of crime.” It’s infamous for drug trafficking, and the city plans to open new stores in the neighborhood. Sixty-six buildings came tumbling down on the mayor’s orders. The first one destroyed was House of Pique, one of the main crime dens in the neighborhood where, “People were imprisoned and suffered all kinds of torture,” according to the mayor.

Authorities set their sights on ridding themselves of the troublesome neighborhood back in May, when they evicted 2,000 people and saved 136 children. Other than drug trafficking, the neighborhood is notorious for underage sex trafficking.

Some look at the downfall of the Bronx as something positive, which will bring down crime in the Colombian capital, but others think the neighborhood’s problems will now just spread to other parts of town, according to BBC News. The drug-running culture was so entrenched in the neighborhood that a secretive tunnel connected a store to someone’s home, just for the purpose of efficiently moving drugs.

The Colombian government is hoping that there will be a notable decline in drug trafficking and drug consumption as a result of a June ceasefire it struck with Marxist rebel organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). FARC fighters have long used drug trafficking to fund their over 50-year-long war against the Colombian government.

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