Vichada: Recorriendo la otra Colombia / (Vichada: A journey through the other Colombia)

Vichada: Recorriendo la otra Colombia / (Vichada: A journey through the other Colombia)

Organisation: Rutas del Conflicto (Colombia)

Publication Date: 04/04/2017

Description presented an journalistic special investigation about the Departament (read State) of Vichada, where conflict’s marks were left by several armed actors who had interest in the land and the drug traffic. Vichada: Recorriendo la otra Colombia (Vichada: A journey through the other Colombia) aim to document the history of violence and expose its relation with land ownership in Llanos Orientales (Eastern Plains of Colombia), an area excluded from traditional journalistic coverage. As part of the first investigation Vichada: tierra de hombres para hombres sin tierra (Men’s quarrel for a no man’s land), we gather data from several public databases (nation cadastre office, notaries, Chamber of Commerce and public records from Office of the Public Prosecutor) and reviewed carefully property records of at least 50 properties – some of them reach 3.000 hectares and gather tens of farms, owned by farmers or claimed by indigenous peoples through collective titling. The team used multimedia tools, as well, to document and explain which armed actors were involved, how violence was related to the possession of land and violent facts of the region. Lastly, we checked out which figures were used to accumulate land in an irregular way, how they did it and how Government didn’t take useful actions against them. In the second part, called Chupave, por una vida sin coca (Chupave, looking for a life without coca) we told the story of a region that lives between the memory of the peak of coca production and the reality of its decadence. Without the money from illicit cultivation, there have been revealed deficiencies in infrastructure, mobility, health and education, as well as the lack of the State, which only has been present with military force. Chupave is where the savannah meets the jungle, in the city of Cumaribo, Vichada. Coca crops have attracted thousands of settlers to this inspection since the 1980s, and their cultivation gave economic stability to the the settlers over 20 years. The same leaf of coca, however, also brought violence from different armed groups and left marks which are still visible, such as the use of cocaine paste as the currency of the town. In the second investigation, made and published in 2016, we narrated how the land in the south of Vichada was historically the target of illegal groups, in order to cultivate coca. In addition, we tell how these crops impacted the social and economic life of this region, forgotten by the State, during the peak of drug trafficking and its decline.


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