They are the divine landscapes of my land

They are the divine landscapes of my land
They are the divine landscapes of my land

This is how the square in the San Isidro neighborhood usually looks when there are no cleaning days.

By Omar Eduardo Gómez Reina / Special for Meta Newspaper

South side of the old San Isidro Market Square. 19 years have passed and 6 municipal mayors have rotated since, on the night of May 6, 2005, 550 ESMAD agents from Bogotá, Bucaramanga and Pereira will evacuate, with the launching of smoke grenades and the use of tear gas, to almost 2,000 people who derived their livelihood from the formal and informal use of the market that operated in this place since 1968, and from the old Market Square of August 7, opened in 1981.

The order was given by Franklin Germán Chaparro, mayor of the time, who is still in jail today. The Pillory for the murder of his predecessor Omar López, (of the Colombia Democratic Party, founded by former senator Mario Uribe Escobar, convicted of paramilitary politics and cousin of Álvaro Uribe Vélez).

The merchants were cunningly induced to move to the Villavicencio Central Market, Llanabastos, where they would be legally relocated.

The promise was not kept, and in a matter of days, they were also evicted from there. Most of the premises had already been allocated at a high price to other merchants. The cost of the new leases proved unviable for most people in San Isidro and 7 de Agosto. Thus, hundreds of families were thrown into poverty thanks to this ruse. Today, For more than a decade, in the perimeter of this overgrown property, many of these former vendors, and others who have arrived in recent years to the sound of the searchthey resist in an irregular manner and in the midst of the worst health conditions, to the apathy and politicking of that succession of mayors.

Read: ‘Meta has to look at international markets’ – former governor of Meta

According to the testimony of the same informals, due to this governmental ineptitude, These 19 years have been enough to settle the legal dispute brought by the heirs of the deceased donor of the lot, who left clear testamentary instructions for the exclusive use of this land as the site of a public market square, and not for any other urban planning purpose or real estate speculation.

Despite government neglect and the existence of other markets in the city (e.g. the market square of the Popular neighborhood, Galería 7 de Agosto, and the network of the Association of Farmers’ Markets of Meta), This commercial area of ​​the San Isidro neighborhood, adjacent to the city center, demonstrates day after day its full validity as a popular, economically and socioculturally functional center, of living articulation between the urban dynamics of Villavicencio and the rural areas of Meta and other departments of the country.

The epicenter of this epicenter, paradoxically, It is still this monumental and overgrown reminder of the pettiness, corruption and incompetence of the local and historically prevailing state.


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