REPORTAGE: Cuentos Guajiros
LA GUAJIRA, COLOMBIA.
Located on the northernmost tip of South America, the harsh and arid Guajira Peninsula straddles the border of Venezuela and Colombia. Until recently, it was rarely visited by outsiders, due in part to its Wild West reputation as a hub for trafficking in humans, drugs, and other items, and as the home of the strong-willed Wayuu.
For 500 years, the Wayuu people have resisted all who have come to take their land or resources, from Spanish settlers in search of pearls to English pirates looking for treasure. The discovery of coal, oil, salt and gas, however, has succeeded in altering the equation, and rapacious multinational energy companies now threaten not only La
Guajira but also the culture and way of life of the Wayuu. The Wayuu are also caught in the ongoing war between the Colombian army, FARC and right-wing paramilitaries, placing the Wayuu in an extremely vulnerable position. In addition to drug smuggling, the paramilitaries have sought to assume control over the lucrative trade in gasoline and products from Venezuela that has traditionally been managed by the Wayuu, who are able to travel freely between the two countries and to bring goods into Colombia almost duty free. According to UNICEF, the Guajira ranks second among the poorest places in Latin America after Haiti I was exploring the every day life focusing mostly on the wayuus and their relationship with the land. La Guajira lives with it's own unwritten social and economic rules.