Taraza, Colombia – Guerrillas, paramilitary and drug cartels

The blighter that is the night guard of the lunch snack bar would have earned a tip. But there it is again, the incorrigible greed that leads to get nothing. Before we even can take our wallet in our hand he claims that his boss wants 50,000 COP camping fee. Again impudent 27.50 $. I point out that this isn’t quite in accordance with the facts and simply refuse. Without contradiction he opens the gate. Right now, the North Colombians don’t maintain their image too much.

The Pan Am takes us further south. With many potholes, cruel flooding, road blocks, and many toll stations. Hopefully the money is at least used to improve the roads. Large sections of the country are under water, bridges and roads are washed away. We see poor people whose even poorer huts are flooded half-way. And something else characterizes the Pan Americana: police and military. They don’t only accompany the road, at many truck stops stand up to three tanks. This shall establish security at least along this main road. The situation in Colombia has improved a lot during the last years, and it can be considered a mainly safe country for travellers, but there are still left-wing oriented guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary and financially interested drug cartels that fight together or against each other. It might be recommended to sleep in guarded zones like the truck stop in Taraza. There is a nice and quiet lawn behind the gas station at a river, and free of charge into the bargain: N 07°35’15.0’’ W 75°23’41.9’’.

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