For years, it has been a place of lawlessness, where scavengers preyed on the destitute of Colombia’s capital, the flipside to the country’s recent story of economic success. Locals called it the Bronx and it became a synonym for the urban decay and crime in Bogota.
Even though the majority in this city of 8 million people have heard of it, very few even dare to venture there, and most just rather forget it exists.
The Bronx became a haven for criminal organizations to operate freely, effectively turning into a hub for drug trafficking in Bogota. A place where the city’s forgotten consumed their lives with “Bazuco”, Colombia’s version of crack cocaine, turning to crime or prostitution to fuel their addition, often meeting violent ends.
But after many years of neglect, the local government is making an effort to care for its most vulnerable citizens and transform this grimmest of spaces. Is there room for hope in the gates of hell?
Correspondent Toby Muse goes into the darkest corners of one of South America’s megacities to report on this social experiment and its results.