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Calle del Cartucho, Colombia
2008

Displaced by the armed conflict that tears apart the country since over 60 years, dozens of thousands of homeless people are invading the streets of Bogota, the capital of Colombian. Abandoned by the system, entire families have been left to sink into poverty and criminality.
Located right in the heart of the city, two blocks away from the presidential palace, the district of the Cartucho became their refuge.

Facing poverty and a huge drug calamity that keeps spreading, this place has quickly changed into a vast assembly of more than 20.000 odd residents. Most of them are beggars, robbers and criminals, and they have gathered in a brotherhood and call themselves the “Neros”, from the word companeros, companion or friend. The word “Neros” (proncounced nieros) is a general term, which refers to all those considered by society as being a part of petty crime. These city pirates have a lot In common with the pirates from the XVIIIth century: their clothing, their social rules and a fierce sense of freedom. The Nero has no God and no master, the Nero won’t submit to any social or to religious doctrine. He is an unconventional figure, a desperado that will not take any constraint and who is rather on the run, ready to die.

Overdoses, knives slashes, shootings… Considered by its inhabitants as the gates of Hell, the Cartucho is a kind of torture island where the only values respected are money, the lead of the bullets, the law of silence and the survival of the fittest.

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