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.

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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?"

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Geopolitics

Why Ghosts Of Hitler Keep Appearing In Colombia

Colombia's police chiefs must be dismally ignorant if they think it was "instructive" to expose young cadets bereft of historical education to Nazi symbols.

Nazi symbols were displayed in public at the Tuluá Police Academy

Reinaldo Spitaletta

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — Adolf Hitler was seen in 1954, wandering around the chilly town of Tunja, northeast of the Colombian capital. The führer was, they said, all cloaked up like a peasant — they even took a picture of him. Later, he was spotted nearby at the baths in the spa town of Paipa, no doubt there for his fragile health.

A former president and notorious arch-conservative of 20th century Colombian politics, Laureano Gómez used to pay him homage. A fascist at heart, Gómez had to submit to the United States as the victor of World War II. He wasn't the only fascist sympathizer in Colombia then. Other conservatives, writers and intellectuals were fascinated by Nazism.

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