The artists and the “performances” are the protagonists of the “tour”.
Víctor Hernández fans fill with tears and his voice is lost because of the emotion of seeing a dream come true and because of the sadness of the bitter gift of friends and relatives who died in a trial in which he did not never understood that it was incompatible. Víctor appears to be floating as he walks proudly along “La Isabel Pérez”, a municipal tourist route that opened on July 25 in Siloé, west of Cali.
“Three springs ago, we started to realize this dream,” remembers Víctor better than we had ever dreamed.
Banano, as Hernández is affectionately known in the sector of La Nave -the lower part of this mountainous area of Haber del Valle-, explains that witnessing how violence abducts the children of his friends during the clashes between gangs was – he insists – the reason that motivated him. and his community to realize this dream. They started by painting the streets and then spoke to young people about the gangs fighting for control of the area to convince them to lay down their arms.
“The most difficult thing in all of this is to chase away the hatred of children. Resentment because it is not only violently handled in the streets, but emanates from home; we have a lot of problems with ‘invisible borders’ and we also suffer from the stigma of foreigners,” warns Víctor, 57.
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The work started with community pots so people could get to know each other and connect. With the start of the quarantine due to Covid, up to 5,000 references were distributed, guaranteeing community support for a thesis that predicted a bright future. Then the Francoist strike took place in April 2021 and although his region was not affected by the violence in Siloam, the thesis was stopped due to a possible error.
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A city commitment
After the social break-up, many local businessmen came to this area to find out the feelings and position of the Silonese. The thesis was therefore reactivated. In this form, the union between the Task of Civilization, the Dispensed Museum of Manifesto Art of Colombia (Muli) and the software Compromiso Valle was born to return to the transformation of this county.
“La Isabel Pérez” is a one and a half kilometer tourist route that incorporates an eight-person branch that takes place in the municipality of Cali. The repression, which does not last more than an hour and a half, is adorned with murals, monuments, art and civilization spaces, and businesses run by the inhabitants of the commune.
Carolina Jaramillo, director of the mule, explains that the repression consists of several moments. “There are four stories: the interspecies, territorial resignation and human relations, the myth and the poster, and the professions of the periphery”, specifies the director. And he adds: “It is a process that takes a lot of time, in which our contribution is to attend certain depositions and which is self-sustaining. We learn to tell Cali through stories from the periphery”.
There are four stories: Interspecies, Territorial Renunciation and Human Relations, Myth and Sign, and Local Craftsmanship.
According to the cartel, Isabel Pérez was a woman of Spanish descent who bought the title deeds to the estate (which now forms Siloé) from the Spanish Crown in 1906 and then deeded the estate to allow people who came to the premises or worked in the area’s coal mines had a reason to continue.
The story is told by María Amparo Urán, 74, one of the beneficiaries of this tourist route.
“Before its official inauguration, I had already done about ten tours -said Amparo proudly-. You are tired, but wanting the crowd to be timely keeps you sane.” María Amparo, who arrived in the region at the age of three, assures that her seven children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren have seen her tell these stories from the outskirts in videos, because the inhabitants of the region ensure that these tours are only for tourists.
Like them, 350 families from 20 municipalities of Siloé and Alboroto are the direct beneficiaries of this thesis in eight courses. On the other hand, more than 160 direct and more than 28 indirect temporary jobs are generated. The final investment was just over 400 million; 300 of them were added by the civilization task.
In this context, the Minister of this area, Angélica María Mayolo Obregón, explained how important it is to support this type of scenario for municipalities. “It is a journey that studies the enhancement of Siloam through art and civilization, an examination of the landscape with monuments and history told through poetry and letters. It’s a model we’ve seen succeed in cities like Medellín, and it’s crucial for a suburb to be constrained by its art and civilization.
Walking the steep streets of Siloam is now a test of memory and dignity. This is what the neighbors feel, as in the case of Jimena Cangrejo, a circumscribed leader who promoted this thesis and who is also satisfied with the results.
“’Isabel Pérez’ is everything for us -said Jimena-. It’s paradise, it recovers our dignity. We have always felt more Siloeños than Caleños, and this is an opportunity for them to get to know us, because it is just as worthy”. And without dignity, even honey is bitter.
Small yellow butterflies can be seen in front of houses on the road as a tribute to those who died amid the gang fights. This is how they are remembered today at the official inauguration of the thesis.
Víctor Hernández finds his voice and proudly continues to tell what dreams can create. “We dreamed of changing that –repeats Víctor–. We have changed the hearts of children because there have been more than 10 years of litigation.
In this sector, Banano admits, “even the police haven’t invaded yet.” It is now an example of community work that is bearing fruit, but it is only hatching. “La Isabel Pérez” today is just the first step on a magnificent straightened path to support more families in Cali and Valle del Cauca.
MIGUEL ANGEL ESPINOSA
SPECIAL TRAVEL AMBASSADOR