Once upon a time a town’s authority

Jhon Jairo


Jhon Jairo

Retired soldier from the National Army of Colombia. Joined a the age of 19, remained in the group for 4 years.

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That is part of Caquetá, that is Cristales.

What I am showing you, is the way the town used to be. The FARC rebels were the only authority here. Everything was under their control. If there was something that needed to get done, everyone had to help, no one could refuse.

They had their own trucks, they had their cars. They had large camping grounds, so they could roam around freely, they had no worries. They could organize activities and throw parties.

Sometimes they would kill somebody who was consuming drugs. If there was a theft, or anything like that, they would go around asking, who is this guy, where does he live, where is he from, he is not allowed to be here, anyone knows him?, No one? Then, they would just take him away somewhere and kill him. That was normal there. If anyone wanted to speak up they would kill him/her. So no one spoke up, no one would say… this is my relative, I know him, nobody cared…

I was about 13 or 14 years old, I was a kid; that is when I started to scrape coca leaves of the plant. You make good money doing that.

Now there are fewer people who live in Cristales, the population has dwindled…. it looks pretty run down, you can tell there is a crisis…poverty everywhere….Pastures gone, destroyed, there is weed everywhere, no more coca plants, people have even lost their cows, shops have closed down…there is nothing left. More than one house has been abandoned…Everything’s ruined.

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Vinyl paint on MDF

35 x 300 cm

A054 - 0348


Drug trafficking Execution Territorial control

Armed group: