Moravia Resiste: Resistance and Land Use in Colombia

Moravia has been a community defined by resilience and resistance since its settlement. Over the last 50 years, Moravistas have built a community and fought for its survival, and their fight is not over yet.     

In the 1960’s, left- and right-wing militarists moved their fighting to the countryside, making rural areas around Colombia unsafe. Without jobs, homes, or security, families living on the countryside migrated to urban centers of the country, hoping to find a new start.  

One of such settlements was Moravia, at the time, the municipal garbage dump of Medellín. Surviving in Moravia was not an easy feat. Without access to funding, electricity, running water, or government assistance, Moravistas leaned on each other to ensure survival.  

“” – Quote from doc

The growing population of Moravia caught the attention of national and local authorities and rose concerns about public health. To address these problems, in 1973, Medellín moved its dump to another location and police officials were sent to remove families from the area.  

In order to remove families and prevent further settlement, the police destroyed Moravian homes and building materials. Those who stood up to the police were met with violent beatings.  

Unwilling to abandon the community that they built from the ground up, the Moravia Resiste movement was born.  

Resistance took many forms. Community members tracked police activity to avoid detection and punishment. Without government funds, the community held weekly festivals to discuss communal issues and raise money for public projects and providing community members with necessities.  

Community theatre productions, music, and street art were utilized to express government opposition and rally the community to support the resistance movement.   

Hear more about the historical opposition movement in Moravia in the documentary below: 

Moravia Resiste Today:  

Today, Moravistas face a new threat of displacement: rising costs.

Revitalization efforts through a series of development and land use policies have successfully enriched the economy of Moravia and brought a wave of tourism into the area. However, these improvements of the economy and plans for developing infrasturcture bring a new worry for families about the ability to afford rising costs of rent in Moravia.

Today, the Colombian government wishes to place Moravian families in Vivendas de Interes Social, or public housing units, once again separating and displacing their community.

For Moravistas, displacement means erasing their history of resilience, bravery and survival. From their point of view, a government that long ignored outcries for help now intends to profit off what was built by Moravistas.    In the words of Moravian students Lesly and Angi, “” (nos da a la espalda…)