Story

Down the Rio Tapaje

1052.jpg

1

An internally displaced child peers through from his home: a street market stall, El Charco, Colombia, July 7, 2007. Several hundred families were displaced from their farms in a coca growing region when the Colombian army and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, guerrillas exchanged fire on April of this year.

1051.jpg

1

A navy officer walks over an armored Piraña boat used to fight guerrillas along the Tapaje river, Pueblo Nuevo, Colombia, July 8, 2007. Pueblo Nuevo, also known as Pulviza, was the scene of crude battles between the Colombian army and FARC guerrillas last April, leaving the town without a single resident.

1050.jpg

1

The lone resident of Pueblo Nuevo looks towards the Tapaje river, Colombia, July 8, 2007. Pueblo Nuevo, also known as Pulviza, was the scenario of crude battles between the Colombian army and The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, last April leaving the town without any residents.

1049.jpg

1

El Diviso, a small town part of the Awa indigenous reservation, Colombia, July 10, 2007.

1048.jpg

1

A drummer walks the streets of El Charco followed by a parade of singers during preparations for the celebration of the Carmen Virgin, Colombia, July 8, 2007.

1047.jpg

1

Awa indigenous women prepare food for their people in the village of El Diviso, Colombia, July 10, 2007. Thousands of Awa people have come down from their reservations to participate in what is called an identification process designed to assign ID cards.

1046.jpg

1

Women washing clothes in the town of El Charco, Colombia, July 7, 2007. The town is now home to hundreds of internally displaced people who have fled their homes because of fighting.

1045.jpg

1

A girl bathes on the shores of Guachal de la Costa hamlet, Colombia, July 9, 2007. Most people in these hamlets are poor fishermen, but some have been driven to farm coca out of necessity.

1044.jpg

1

A view of the town of El Charco, Colombia, July 8, 2007. The town has been become a refuge for thousands of internally displaced people from the region due to fighting between leftist guerrillas, the Colombian army and newly formed paramilitary groups. While the government troops try to keep order, illegal groups fight for control over the region’s valuable natural corridor to the Pacific Ocean, a major drug passage.

Carlos Villalon chronicles life along the river Tapaje and the impact of the drug conflict between the U.S. backed-Colombian military, FARC guerrillas and paramilitary forces.