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Life in Colombia, During Coronavirus

Life in Colombia, During Coronavirus

Culture, International Politics and Issues, Lifestyle

Oh shucks, I just scheduled two appointments for a day I don’t have for going out. And, then I am automatically re-calculating where I get off the bus to avoid the CAI, or local police checkpoints where the “Papers Please” types tend to hang out. Life in Colombia is getting weird.

Life in Colombia

In times of Coronavirus, everything is a weird play of subversive activity, in an attempt to live “normal.” Even breathing air without cumbersome breathing situations, is now illegal – and you will be extorted for it. Violators can be fined approximately $300 USD for failure to comply. If you run to a nearby city, and admit to it, you could get 14 days of closely monitored house arrest.

Here’s what Life in Colombia looks like,
in Bogota

On May 29th, 2020, The City Paper Bogota published an article about how Colombia is currently on track to be the country with the longest Covid lockdown. Read more about it here:

Meanwhile, Colombia is on a landslide towards economic repression and government corruption scandals. As I write this, the governor of Antioquia, whose capital city is Medellin, is under arrest for government contracts gone wrong. It is after all, just another day in paradise.

Much of this whole lockdown craziness is actually driven by the mayor, Claudia Lopez, of Bogota. While we wait for the result of her rabies test, let’s review the damage she has done so far… Read about the war zone here:

Or, in a nutshell…

  1. Creating ghettos to separate areas into high/low infections zones. Lockdowns which restrict some neighborhoods more than others.
  2. Mass protests are allowed, but sitting in and outdoor cafe is not.
  3. We aren’t really sure who has rights and who doesn’t.
  4. The country has only had about 1,000 “Coronavirus” deaths, which is 0.000014% of the total population of 50 million. (In May)
  5. A contact-tracing app was even made mandatory, but then overturned after a swift public backlash.

Meanwhile in Manizales, Colombia.

Life in Colombia

We are living a strange reality of Life in Colombia being controlled in the name of “health”…

  1. You will be fined ~$300 USD if you are not wearing a mask in public, even if there is no one within 2 meters.
  2. Urban gardening is ok, but going to a bar together, is not. In fact, all bars, and discotecas, are closed. No dancing.
  3. You can buy a lottery ticket at any time, it is protected under the quarantine provisions. Gambling encouraged.
  4. Campesinos (farmers) are only allowed to go to La Galeria on Saturdays. July: Now it is even or odd number of cedula for Saturday/Sunday.
  5. Bicycles now have their own lane, but the busiest avenue in the city is reduced to one lane, which has since caused back-ups and accidents.
  6. The mayor is nowhere to be found, unreachable. Has no plan for Art/Culture/Small Business. If he does come out, he rides a bicycle with a little campaign flag in the back. How cute.
  7. Somehow an elevated bicycle path is going to bring us into the future as a “green” city. Not sure who is going to pay for it.
  8. Contact Tracing is alive and well in shopping malls and large multinational stores like Homecenter and Arturo Calle.

Nothing about Life in Colombia during times of Coronavirus really makes sense anymore. Our daily normal isn’t really that normal. Everywhere we look we have friendships and families being divided across political and social lines we never encountered previously.

I had thought that the tide was turning in Manizales. We were seeing a lot of people starting to go out regardless of what day it is. But, the new protocols being implemented have caused some businesses to make the decision to close their doors forever – especially in the cafe/restaurant sector. Who wants to stare at each other through a clear plastic barrier.

Can I sign a paper saying I won’t sue if I get infected?

It does feel like the police are backing off some. We also haven’t seen the military out and about, as much. With a little bit more resistance, maybe things will loosen up even more.

We Need To SUPPORT our Local Economy NOW

The time has come to #supportlocal more than ever before. It is VITAL that we start supporting smaller businesses of value, also. When you buy local products and services, you are giving someone the ability to buy school uniforms for their children, or pay their rent. THAT, is what truly serves the Greater Good of YOUR community, neighborhood and family!

With a bit of effort we can pull this economy back onto its feet. Here are a few tips:

  • Buy local food, services and products wherever possible. Ex: Virtual Farmers Market Pilot Run By Alcaldia, in July 2020. We hope this continues.
  • Avoid corporate stores as much as humanly possible. Try to buy high quality, long lasting replacements. Find local artisans to help.
  • Do not support government tyranny by downloading applications or giving out personal information at stores and restaurants. Say NO to CoronaApp.
  • Get involved when someone is being harassed by Order Followers. Listen, observe and record video. Intervene only if you see the welfare of your neighbor being threatened, or attacked with violence.

Finally, it is of an utmost important to observe one more precaution.


We are in strange and unusual times. The world is on its ear. Choose NOT to be a lemming. Try to help others instead of hurting them. The best way to create good things in your life, is by doing something positive, and helpful, for someone else. We need neighborly love more than ever before.

This isn’t a fight for your vote, this is a war for your mind. The decisions you make now, predict your outcome in a Post-Covid world, whatever that may be.

Erin Donaldson

In a previous post by The Open Minded Traveler talking about Life in Colombia…

Please comment below about YOUR Coronavirus experience. What is Life in Colombia, or your country like? What are you doing to try to return to “normal”?

About the author

English Teacher, Freelancer, Chocolate Entrepreneur and Traveler!!

1 Comment

  1. Mónica
    July 16, 2020 at 12:34 am

    Me parece interesante el artículo, considero que comprar al mercado local es lo que puede estabilizar un poco la economía, actualmente todos los países pasan por momentos críticos en cuanto a la salud, la economía, el estudio de niños y jóvenes.
    El aislamiento social está dejando estragos como la violencia social, se ve muy marcada la violencia al género femenino. También las personas y niños están afectados psicológicamente por el encierro, por no tener colegio, ni contacto con amigos o familia. Europa ya tiene algo de “normalidad” pero esto ha dejado secuelas en cuanto a la salud por el virus, la parte psicológica, la economía, a nivel social y mundial. Lo importante es tratar de mantener la calma y evitar tanta noticia negativa que altera nuestro estado emocional, que no es fácil pero alejarse de la agresividad por todos los medios pero puede ser el inicio de una paz muy íntima.
    Reparar está fractura social va a tomar años y solo depende de todos nosotros hacer lo mejor para continuar la vida. Muchas gracias.

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