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Old lady, paramilitary and God. The Mountains of Valle Del Cauca from Cali to Popayán

​​Popayán Province, Valle Del Cauca, Colombia ​🇨🇴​

After a few days in Cali, I took the bus to Popayán towards Ecuador. This moment was captured during a bus layover in the middle of the Colombian mountains.

Colombia is a country that has been devastated for over 50 years under the reign of terror of the guerrillas and paramilitaries. This armed conflict, which was one of the longest internal armed conflicts in Latin America, pitted the two main guerrillas - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) against the paramilitary forces and the army.

Paramilitary groups emerged in Colombia in 1960 as a private defense mechanism against the far-left guerrillas.

Over time, these paramilitary groups also called "self-defense groups" that grew in power became affiliated with local elites, the armed forces, and narco-traffickers, leading to excessive use of violence to defend their political and economic interests.

A peace treaty was signed on June 23, 2016, which was declared the last day of war between the FARC and the government. Although the situation has greatly improved since then, paramilitary groups continually control some territories where the Colombian state is not present, making fear a regular part of daily life in Colombian society.

Even today, few Colombians have suffered the after-effects of the political and social violence of this half-century of armed conflict.

This photo shows the contrast between vulnerability and authority. This sweet old lady against the cruel reality of military surveillance.

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