Sunday, August 12, 2007

Medellín, Colombia Now a Safe Fun City

Travel Reporter a Political Pundit?

See “A Drug-Runners’ Stronghold Finds a New Life” August 12, 2007 New York Times Travel section article by Grace Bastidas. A hellhole can be brought back to a desirable place for living. Article includes:
■ “Medellín, once considered the most dangerous place on earth”
■ “During the 1980s, Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city, was home to the drug lord Pablo Escobar, whose infamous cartel turned the city into a bloody battleground and the world’s cocaine capital. Gangs roamed the narrow streets, extortionists preyed on the city’s residents and narcotics traffickers staged attacks against police.”
■ “’You couldn’t step outside,’ said Bibian Gomez, 28, a commercial real estate broker who sought refuge in the resort town of Cartagena at the height of the violence. ‘Whenever you saw a young guy on a motorcycle you thought that he was an assassin’.”
■ “Mr. Escobar and his minions are gone and the cocaine trade has been largely dispersed. Bullet-riddled neighborhoods are coming to life with art museums and well-designed parks. And the constant rumble of construction — new shopping malls, flashy casinos and luxury hotels — can be heard throughout the city.”
■ “The renaissance is most noticeable in Santo Domingo Savio, a once impenetrable slum of tin-roofed shanties on a hillside in northern Medellín … now home to paved roads, colorful murals and the gleaming new Parque Biblioteca España. The hulking opal structure has a library, an auditorium, computer rooms, a day care center and an art gallery.”
■ “Getting there has gotten much easier, too. What once took an hour on a rickety bus, now takes 10 minutes, thanks to a shiny gondola that opened in 2004, part of a growing public transportation network that is uniting the city and making it more accessible, especially for the poor.”
■ “Sprawling nightclubs draw thousands with thumping Latin music that keeps the young crowd dancing until dawn.”


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