When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Graffiti artists at work in Bogota
Graffiti artists at work in Bogota
Catalina Erazo

BOGOTA Bogotá"s new mayor, the technocratic Enrique Peñalosa, wants to remove some of the Colombian capital's abundant graffiti — those deemed to be "non-artistic." But the move is being perceived by some as a reversal of the socially oriented policies of his predecessor, leftist Gustavo Petro, who essentially considered all such street art socially valid.

Some have called Bogotá the continent's premier graffiti city, and even Petro regulated it to some extent, most recently banning it on public infrastructure such as pedestrian overpasses. Social networks recently lit up about reports that city agents were painting over graffiti on one of the city's main roads and popular graffiti canvasses — the downtown part of 26th Street, not far from hotels and tourist spots. But Daniel Mejía, a security official at city hall, said the sections were actually being prepared for new street art commissioned by the city's arts council, Idartes.

[rebelmouse-image 27089572 alt="""" original_size="1024x683" expand=1]

Bogota mayor Enrique Peñalosa — Photo: Dodo

Peñalosa recently said that "some graffiti" created a threatening environment, and deputy Miguel Uribe Turbay agreed, saying that any graffiti damaging public property would be removed. "Graffiti done ... in an authorized zone is one thing," Turbay said, but "vandalism that ... destroys public infrastructure is quite another. We're going to act with that order in mind."

One graffiti artist, Antrax, is calling such declarations "absurd," while Petro himself reflects ponderously, "Who decides what art is? The state? A censor?"

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ