Photographer's Note

Bogotá - Sunday in La Candelaria

This is probably the most familiar picture of Bogotá:
the Catedral Primada de Colombia (Primary Cathedral of Colombia) on the Plaza Bolívar in the district La Candelaria.

It stands on the spot where Bogotá’s first ever Mass has been celebrated in 1538.
Here the construction of a church began in 1553. Later this became a cathedral that has been levelled by an earthquake in 1785. The construction of the building that you see on the picture began in 1805.

More to the right you see the Capilla del Sagrario (Sacristy Chapel). It is a separate building and not exactly next door to the cathedral but it actually belongs to it.

Sunday is very interesting to visit La Candelaria. There's a lot of people on the street and tourists are inferior in number to the local population who makes it an enjoyable day. See also the picture in the workshop.

The cheerful atmosphere made me think of a people who finally had a future perspective after a war that lasted more than 50 years. Therefore I was surprised to hear that a small majority had rejected the peace proposal with the FARC in the recent referendum.
However, this wasn’t a vote against peace. But the wounds of the terrible decades of war don’t make it easy to forgive and to grant political rights to those who have committed crimes against humanity during all those years.
Meanwhile, the government has also begun peace talks with the other rebel group, the ELN.

Nevertheless, I want to say that during my journey Colombians explained me several times that the cruelties have not only been committed by the rebels. The army and various paramilitary groups were also guilty at crimes.
My previous picture showed a homeless man in Bogotá. Years ago, during the war, the army and paramilitary groups received a certain sum of money for each corpse of a killed rebel. I heard stories about homeless people who were picked up at night and been carried far out of town. There they were forced to put on a rebel uniform after which they were shot …

The fact that the country is coming out of such a terrible time, had probably an impact on the voting in the referendum.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 24 N: 16009] (62746)
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