Yesterday’s explosion in Lourdes Bogotá has left us reflecting on how much damage could have actually occurred if it had taken place half an hour later when the hundreds of commuters leaving the Transmilenio at Calle 63 and walking home from the station would have been passing by. It’s actually unthinkable.
According to newspaper reports, two individuals left the bomb – containing 500g of explosive pentonite – in front of the CAI police station. The suspicion is that this was a revenge act by people involved in “microtrafico” or low-level drug trafficking.
The clean-up process was still underway today as police juniors were involved in sweeping up shards of glass which littered Lourdes Park. The local government had called an 11am congregation for peace, and given the grey weather, it was clearly better attended by members of the media and the police than members of the neighbourhood.
As people moved beneath tree cover to listen to Father Jaime of the Diocese of Lourdes speak of peace and reconciliation, a taxi swung past, the driver shouting: “this is the peace of Santos, this is what he wants.”
In truth, most who heard this taxi driver shrugged off his ill-informed declaration. At no point did this attack bear any hallmarks of a guerrilla bomb. This hints at something more sinister and indeed more complex should a peace agreement be reached. How is the government going to deal with splinter groups, evolving from the potentially demobilized guerrillas, that continue to deal in illicit materials?
According to a source of mine in the police force, this area around Lourdes is one of the most complex in all of Bogotá. West of the park, passing the Avenida Caracas there are an indiscriminate number of brothels as the area stretches towards the Siete de Agosto (the traditional car repair district), and additionally, there are ollas.
Ollas are basic cook houses where drugs are cut and produced and then distributed. They can also refer to crack dens or similar locations. Given the proximity of this district to the leafy barrios of Chapinero and then Rosales, it’s no wonder that the police have their work cut out here. Dealers can just walk their product East and disappear into a middle class neighbourhood.
Apparently, this CAI police station is responsible for shutting down as many as 120 microtrafficking units and this resulted in the “payback” bomb left here yesterday.
Our thoughts are with the policeman who has been seriously injured in the explosion and those civilians suffering from trauma. No one should have to suffer this.
Internet trolls on the right and the left have been fast to point their fingers at various suspects. Most would like you to believe that political enemies are involved in some conspiracy or another, either to undermine a peace process or to promote insecurity to provoke a return to hard-line politics. This is all mindless and pointless. As Father Jaime said, “we need peace and reconciliation.”