Sep. 4th, 2017

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Needless to say, watching La Niña has made me curious about Colombia. My knowledge of it until now could be described by catchphrases from TV shows ("Colombian drug lords" "Cali cartel") and NPR headlines ("Colombia's FARC rebels [verb]" "Referendum on peace with FARC rebels"), plus an article on "biblioburros"--the project of a guy who acts as a bookmobile--only by donkey--bringing books to isolated communities--and the travels of someone I follow on Twitter, who visited there with her young daughter.

So first off, I wanted a better sense of where everything in Colombia is.

Here's a map, courtesy of the Rough Guide travel series:


Source

As you can see, pretty much ALL the large cities are in the northwest. What you can't see in the map is that a high mountain range extends along that easternmost diagonal of towns. Bogotá is up in those mountains, and in the show, you get a sense of its high mountainousness.

Here's a photo--not from the show--that gives a sense of that.


Source

Now here's a map, courtesy of Al-Zajeera, showing areas of guerrilla influence

Source

The peace that was signed in November 2016 was with the FARC forces. Negotiations are still ongoing with the ELN.
ETA: Wow, and breaking news today: "Colombian Government and ELA Agree Ceasefire"

I'm not very experienced with Latin American television, but one thing I noticed about this show, as opposed to 3%, the Brazilian sci-fi Netflix offering I watched some time ago, was that this show was relatively whitewashed. Here are some actual FARC guerrillas (credits below the photos).


Photographer: Stephen Ferry, for the Guardian


Girls on the eve of demobilization
Photographer: Raul Arboleda, for the Atlantic



Guerrillas and civilians
Photographer: Federico Rios, for the British Journal of Photography


Compare those photos with the actors' pics from the previous post, and you'll see what I mean.

On the other hand, it's interesting to see telenovelas' role as a vehicle of public education in action. For instance, the older of Belky's two younger sisters wants to go riding on motorbikes with boys, and Belky's mom is sure she'd going to end up pregnant. The show has them go and talk to one of the doctors at Belky's university, who explains about contraception, confidentiality, etc.

Nana, the older of Belky's two younger sisters.


And, Wakanomori noticed, *no one*--not a single person--is shown smoking. No one in the army, no one in the guerrillas, no one on the streets.

The theme song for the show is also very appealing. It's Herencia de Timbiquí's "Te invito"--take a listen.


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