They warn that Magdalena is dying before the eyes of Colombians

They warn that Magdalena is dying before the eyes of Colombians
They warn that Magdalena is dying before the eyes of Colombians

This first detailed description of the lower part of the Magdalena river conceives the basin as something that goes beyond a communication route, and assumes it as a symbol of national unity and an invaluable cultural heritage.

The teacher Fabio Rincón Cardonafrom the Faculty of Administration of the National University (UNAL) Manizales Campus, coordinator of this project, mentions that “although much has been said and the river has been studied, little has been delved into about commerce, transportation or its territorial value. ”.

To achieve this characterization, in 2023 visits and interviews were carried out with more than 100 inhabitants of these areas, most of them rural, for example fishermen; In addition, more than 500 investigations carried out at UNAL on this iconic river course were analyzed.

Among the aspects identified so far is that the navigability of the river has been crucial for the transport of a wide range of products, from traditional cigars to the coveted Colombian coffee.

Today the Magdalena continues to be a vital artery for commerce and tourism, transporting cargo and passengers from the interior of the country to the ports on the coast. Caribbean such as Barranquilla and Cartagena, in addition to the shipment of wood and coal. Agricultural products such as coffee, bananas, cocoa and sugar cane stand out, along with fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and fish.

Such economic activities are not only means of subsistence, but also deep-rooted expressions of cultural identity and connection to the land and the river.

In this area of ​​the country, the vital role of women in these economic activities is highlighted, as fishermen, farmers and guardians of culinary and craft traditions. As for agriculture, they are responsible for planting and harvesting a variety of products, from cassava and corn to bananas and squash.

“For example, riverside carpentry, a skill passed down from generation to generation, is used to build and repair traditional boats such as canoes, rafts, or small boats without motors,” notes the teacher, who with experts from the Magdalena River Museum in Honda (Tolima) present the results of this first approach in a permanent exhibition, in the Fluvial Independence Hall of the Magdalena River Museum.

Likewise, the Magdalena is a refuge for biodiversity and a living laboratory. It is home to a variety of aquatic birds, alligators, crocodiles, river turtles, amphibians and mammals such as the jaguar, anteater and howler monkey, as well as various species of fish.

Likewise, this first characterization highlights that the river has been a nerve center of commerce and communication, forging links between peoples and cultures – such as the Taironas, Muiscas, Panches and Zenúes – long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors; Today there are an estimated 132,156 inhabitants.

The Dam Canal

The construction of the Canal del Dique in the 20th century transformed the dynamics of the delta, which is a kind of cut triangle and the current landscape of Bocas de Ceniza, the end of the continent above the sea and the final point of the river, the result of the constancy of change. facilitating navigation, but also altering its landscape.

However, although the connection between the river and the sea continues to be fundamental for life in the region, marking a balance between the salty and the sweet, between the human and the natural, the morreros, inhabitants of Morro, located in the Ciénaga de Pajaral, expressed their concern about how ancient pipes and bodies of fresh water have disappeared or been drastically reduced due to the construction of the Troncal and oil projects, affecting both aquatic life and the communities that depend on it.

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