Our training sessions are finally done, we got great reviews from all the newspapers we visited, and we’ve learned tons about Colombia and all the changes that have taken place here. The last six years have seen a sea change in the security situation – and the fact that you can now actually drive between cities, that you can go out at night without worrying about having a burlap sack stuffed over your head – has meant that business and society here have managed to rebuild.
Yesterday, talking with our driver, he told us stories about the 500 cabdrivers/informants that Pablo Escobar used to have roaming the streets of Medellin, the Hiroshima-like mushroom cloud that hovered over the chief of police’s house after 1,000 pounds of dynamite went off, the solid gold chess set given to a favored underling, and on and on … I’ll write more about those sad subjects later. But the point is that The Bad Old Days are something that people take great pains to point out are far, far in the past.
So here is a photo from the Minas de Colombia, a kind of wholesale emerald, art and golden artifacts store. I’d like to write something about how my joking around with the fuse to the dynamite is symbolic of the changes that we tried to make down here with the newspapers, of the way that we went around trying to tell them to blow up their old business models – but that might be abusing a metaphor too much even for me.