Graffitti in Puerto López. It reads “Brother Soldier Join the Fight”
The current conflict in the region is over control of the territory, for El Bagre is in a strategic position between Santander, Bolivar, Antioquía and Cordoba. It is also one of the largest gold deposits in the world, fertile soils, primary forests and a climate ideal for the cultivation of coca. It is also an area where there has been barely any investment in infrastructure, education or health care and with very poor access to external markets the economy relies on informal mining and the cultivation of coca out of necessity. Campesinos receive very little for the coca paste which they are forced of necessity to grow and legal crops would be more lucrative were market access available. The instability in the region serves the ends of those would profit by criminal means. The work of social organisations such as Aheramigua is a direct challenge to these actors. It is rumoured that the AGC have a list of 70 community leaders and activists they plan to assassinate.