« The Colombian Pacific Jungle is impressive and thick, from the plane you can see huge trees that contrast with the deep blue of the sea and the dark sand that show that we are not in the Caribbean. »
El Pacífico colombiano: el potencial de una región olvidada (The Colombian Pacific: the greatness of a forgotten region) is a documentary produced by DW Español, a German public broadcast service operating in Latin America. This non-fictional film was released in 2019 and is available in YouTube. Josefina Klinger is a 55 year-old community leader who has been promoting sustainable development and afro-descendant empowerment in Nuquí, Chocó. For more than 30 years she has done community work. In the last years, she has been carrying out an eco-tourism project named “Mano cambiada” (exchanging hands) which alludes to ancient times in which money did not exist and people used to exchange products or services. From her homeland, Klinger tells the world what makes the Colombian pacific so unique and encourages people to visit this beautiful and exotic place in South America.
Is everything all right in the department of Chocó? The answer is no. This region has been considered abandoned by the Colombian government and has dealt with violence, immigration and displacement for years. Because of this, the native people from areas such as Nuqui were reticent to conceive a better future and considered that “progress” meaning building highways was the only way to achieve the level of bigger cities. In the interview Klinger states: “We have never valued our particularity, so I think the biggest issue is that we have not yet identified (…) which is that model so interesting, so innovative…” That explains why increasing self-esteem collectively was one of the initial challenges the activist had to face. It was a hard task to be heard by her own people and to convince them to change their minds and trust themselves.
We have never valued our particularity, so I think the biggest issue is that we have not yet identified (…) which is that model so interesting, so innovative… »
There are many documentaries about the Colombian pacific region. Some of them focus on gastronomy, others portray scientific expeditions or are a form of protest to stop architectural interventions that may change the ecosystem. El Pacífico colombiano: el potencial de una región olvidada (The Colombian Pacific: the greatness of a forgotten region) is a good choice to know more about afro community in Colombia or to get prepared to do tourism there. Finally, as Klinger states: “At this destination, only arrive the spirits that are prepared, those who have been wondering for a long time if their life goes beyond how successful they have been in the different aspects they have chosen”…
Cover picture: Carolina CG