Colombia: Where there once was war is now the Route of Peace

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An article for El Tiempo

A family weekend to the beat of drums in San Basilio of Palenque, or to the rhythm of porro by the composer Lucho Bermúdez in El Carmen de Bolivar, and do not return home without bringing a hammock from San Jacinto.

These towns are part of the Ruta de la Paz, a strategy promoted by the the Ministry of Culture and the departmental government of Bolivar as part of the project ‘Bolívar si avanza’. The project promotes tourism and cultural development in regions and municipalities that were affected by the Colombian armed conflict. Today they are areas full of life, progress and courage, where the inhabitants show their natural beauty, share their cultural wealth and generate economic development.

The Route of Peace includes the municipalities of Santa Catalina de Alejandría, Turbaco, Arjona, San Basilio de Palenque (Mahates), María la Baja, San Juan Nepomuceno, San Jacinto, El Carmen de Bolívar, Magangué and Mompox. Here the traveler will find natural beauty and cultural wealth, such as the filigree artisans in Mompox, the magical port on the Magdalena River, whose renowned colonial architecture still breathes the spirit called Macondo by Gabriel García Márquez.

The route, as a tourist product, is articulated with the Caribbean Corridor that has been designed by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to strengthen employment, productivity, competitiveness, sustainability, formalization, safety and education through the schools for tourism.

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Question related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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In Magangué, for example, work has started at the José Francisco Chico Cervantes Cultural Center, under the project ‘Bolívar si avanza’ and Icultur. Here, 343 young people have begun their studies in different cultural programs, among which are vocal technique, piano, guitar, percussion, dance, theatrical performance and communication. All this with teachers hired by the Office of the Mayor.

Julio Rojas Cultural Center

One of the jewels of the Montes de María, a land full of folklore and traditional costumes, is San Juan Nepomuceno. It already has a cultural center named Julio Rojas Buendía, in honor of the famous musician and lawyer who was born in those lands on July 9, 1959 and died in Barranquilla on June 20, 2016, accordionist and twice the king of the Festival of La Leyenda Vallenata, in 1983 and 1994. The center was inaugurated two months ago by the Government of Bolivar and Icultur in an event attended by the director of the National Planning Department, Luis Fernando Mejía; the director of the National Federation of Departments, Carlos Felipe Córdoba, the mayor and other personalities.

As explained by the general director of Icultur, Lucy Espinosa Díaz, “this inauguration consolidates the Departmental Network of Music Schools in Bolívar, It was made with resources of the General System of Royalties (SGR), In general, there will be six cultural centers in Bolívar, of which four have already been established by the the departmental government and Icultur. The Municipalities of Santa Rosa de Lima, Magangué, Cicuco and now San Juan Nepomuceno already have a cultural center. Those of Regidor and Tiquisio remain to be established. Thus we have cultural infrastructure at the service of all in Bolivar, above all for children, who are the ones who hope to take advantage of these spaces for culture.”

Now the people of San Juan will be able to advance artistic vocational training in the programs of band music, accordion music, acoustic guitar, bagpipes, whistles and drums, folk dance and plastic arts.

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