Archive for March 14th, 2011

March 14, 2011

Bogota’s new beat

[From “Bogota rolling with optimism”, published in the Toronto Star on February 12, 2011]

BOGOTA — Luis Grisales thinks of December 2, 1993 and remembers the rain. It fell on his hometown, Medellin. It fell as if the world had been flipped, the ocean trading places with the sky.

“It was like a flood. It was like the city was being cleansed,” says Grisales, a health-care professional and actor who now lives in Vancouver, a long way from a time and place when he couldn’t leave his home after dark or travel outside of Medellin for fear of kidnapping or death.

He discussed his life in Colombia while helping me prepare for a visit to his homeland, which I discovered has moved ahead too.

The great change for Colombia began to unfold on that late autumn night saturated with rain and the blood of a villain. Pablo Escobar was killed in a hail of bullets and when it was done much of Colombia, it seemed, was able to see a day when it might finally breathe with ease. It took seven more years of being ruled by drug cartels ruthless like Escobar before the 11th-largest nation in the world would truly begin to redefine itself.

In Bogota, its capital, the transformation is tangible.

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