BOGOTA – Bogota faces a new challenge as hundreds of drug addicts expelled from the lawless “Bronx” district now wander the streets suffering withdrawal symptoms.
“If this goes on, believe me, it will hurt the city, because where are they going to put all the drug addicts? We are sick people. Once a drug addict, always a drug addict,” Michael Mosquera, a homeless person who lived in the “Bronx” and whose yellow teeth betrayed an excessive use of drugs, told EFE.
Six days ago, some 2,500 soldiers and cops took back control of the two streets forming the “L” that constituted the so-called “Bronx” district, where for 16 years the derelicts were ruled by a parallel law full of kidnappings, dismemberings and violence of all kinds.
“It’s true. Don’t ask me about that...Tomorrow I could be the one who is dismembered,” John Fredy Rodriguez, another of the homeless, told EFE. After living 25 of his 34 years on the streets, he has a bedraggled look, few teeth and a strong odor.
By the same token, Julio Caicedo, another district inhabitant, confirmed that some of the barbarities reported after the police took over “were in fact true,” and added that in those days “people who behaved badly were punished.”
Those in charge of the punishment Caicedo spoke of were hired killers from gangs that dominated the sector and imposed a certain order with the greatest imaginable cruelty.
Meanwhile, the routine of those who hung out on those streets was fairly “simple” – they spent most of their time “smoking bazuco” (a mixture of cocaine and chemicals) in the “Bronx,” where drug use was not penalized, and going elsewhere to steal money and get more drugs, a group of vagrants told EFE.
Prostitution, even among juveniles, was another common activity on that skid row, where women, who numbered far fewer than men, offered sex in exchange for drugs or a little money.
Now that the “Bronx” no longer exists, many who used to live there wander about the city’s streets while others seek help at nearby aid centers provided by the municipality for the homeless.
However, despite all the repulsive stories about what went on in the “Bronx,” the indigents remember with a certain nostalgia the life they lived there: they had cheap food and booze, video games, music, and they did drugs without fear of ever being arrested.