stories

Displaced people in Colombia

The armed conflict in Colombia has produced the largest displacement of rural population to the urban areas: over 3 million people on the past 10 years. A world record. The department of Caqueta is at the top of the list of affected villages. The situation is specially tense there since 2002, the moment when FARC (Colombian Revolutionary Army) withdrew from San Vicente del Caguan, a village in the center of the de-militarized area since 1999. The colombian army takes posession of the zone but the guerrilla remains active, specially on the rural areas. Is also in San Vicente del Caguan where Ingrid Betancourt has been kidnapped in 2002. The story of Adam, Eiden and their eight children symbolizes the issues that the inhabitants of these forsaken villages are facing nowadays. Adam is a carpenter, he lives with his pregnant wife Eiden and their eight children, two hours away from San Vicente, in the department of San Lorenzo. His house is isolated but near by the crossroad where many rural workers pass by. On January 26th 2008, two men arrived to Adam's house riding a motorcycle and they ask him for tools to repair their vehicle. While one of the man was repairing the motorcycle and the other was urinating, further away, a group of soldiers appeared and started shooting to this two individuals who, apparently, were suspected to be members of the guerrilla. Eiden was in the kitchen with seven of their children. She asked them all to stay lying in the floor when the shooting started. Her 13 year-old daughter, Ana María, was in the bathroom when she heard the fire guns. She hid... but the soldiers found her and they dragged her through the floor, pulling her hair towards her father. Adam had an injured arm. The soldiers kept hitting him and insulting him. They also hit Ana María. They said Adam is a guerrilla member and they kept asking him questions. Adam replied he didn't know anything. The soldiers said they were going to kill him. Eiden entered the room where was lying and she shouted the soldiers that if they were going to kill her husband they were going to have to kill them first. Finally, the soldiers locked Eiden and her children inside a room while Adam was being scorted by the soldiers on a helicopter with the dead bodies of the supposed guerrilla members. He was accused to be one of them and he was held prisoner in Florencia, city capital of the department of Caqueta. On the next three days, Eiden was forced to remain inside that room without the right of leaving. They were barely allowed to eat or drink. When they finally received the order to leave, Eiden travelled to San Vicente, where her mother lives. Adam had a trial but since january 2008 every court hearing has been posponed. Eiden lived with her mother and six of her eight children. The other two lived with Eiden's sister. She often went to Florencia to visit her husband. Adam was released on september 2008 after Eiden gived her testimony on trial. They don't want to return to their home in San Lorenzo. «It is too dangerous.»

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The Caqueta region begins in the west, at the end of the Andes and goes all the way to the east, within the amazonic rainforest region, in Ataracuara. Large and numerous rivers pass by this area and converge in the Caqueta river.... (+)

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Nearby San Vicente del Caguan, on our way to the house where Eiden, Adam and their children used to live until january 2008.

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San Vicente del Caguan. Colombian Army soldiers in the main square.

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Inside the abandoned house of Eiden and Adam, a hole made by the military bullets, right next to a drawing of one of the kids.

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The house of Eiden and Adam where they lived until january 2008 in the village of San Lorenzo. On the zinc roof there are bullet holes, shot by the soldiers on the day Adam got arrested.

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The house of Eiden and Adam where they used to live until january 2008, in the town of San Lorenzo. Eiden is in the very same spot where she was standing in the moment when the shooting started. «I was in the kitchen with out children.... (+)

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Florencia, at night, in the neighborhood where Eiden is staying, at a friend's house. Eiden came to the capital city to attend to one of the hearings of her husband's trial.

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Eiden and her husband's lawyer talk about what will happen on the day after the hearing. At the house of a friend of Eiden.

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Adam leaving after the hearing. It was postponed because the defense did not have access to the evidence: a cd and a book. Adam was accused of being a member of the guerrilla but he claims he's innocent. He's a carpenter.

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Adam and Eiden right after the hearing. They have only 5 minutes to talk until the van arrives to get Adam back inside jail.

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Eiden and her 15 year-old daughter Milady return to San Vicente del Caguan after the hearing to gather with the rest of the children at the house of Eiden's mother.

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A view of the route between Florencia and San Vicente del Caguán.

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San Vicente del Caguan, a neighborhood of displaced people.

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Eiden, her mother and 6 of her 8 children are staying at Eiden’s mother house, at San Vicente del Caguan. The remaining 2 are staying at Eiden’s sisters house. From the day his husband was arrested, Eiden moved with her mother.

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Eiden and her mother. San Vicente del Caguan.

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Ana María. 13 years-old, at her grandmother’s house in San Vicente del Caguan. This is her testimony: «I was inside the bathroom when the shooting started. I hid right next the room. Minutes later a soldier arrived and pulled my hair.... (+)

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Adam and Eiden’s house, where they used to live before January 2008, at the village of San Lorenzo.

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Adam and Eiden’s house, where they used to live before, at the village of San Lorenzo.

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