Altair Guimarães

From Drug Wars to Cable Cars: Medellin's Rise

In the 1990s Medellin, Colombia was known as the murder capital of the world. Home to Colombia's most notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar, it has long been synonymous with violence. 

In the last two decades, however, the city has turned itself around and is now the model for urban regeneration. Tourism has greatly increased from the dark days of violence and people have new hope for this intriguing and vibrant city. New initiatives. such as cable cars, outdoor escalators, and libraries now reach out into what were once the most dangerous slums. Half of Medellin's population is said to live there.

Escalators and cable cars have made a huge difference in a city where locals say in the 90s "you couldn't go from one neighborhood to another without getting killed." Cable cars now allow people who live in the slums in the hills to access downtown in as little as 15 minutes. With increased access, residents are hiking in the hills above the city and even having picnics.

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals call for all slums to be upgraded by 2030. While it seems that Medellin is making headway in this regard with increased transportation methods and access to learning centers, critics say the only people benefited are those living near the escalators and cable cars. They say these initiatives are dividing the neighborhoods. Also, some say the money to build this transportation and the library should have been used for more pressing matters, such as health, jobs, decent housing, and education. Some believe the gangs continue dominating neighborhoods and extorting locals without police interference. However, even the critics of the recent changes in Medellin admit that despite problems, community members are working together more easily and help one another more since their past days of horror.


Full Episodes

Upcoming Airdates

One Man, One City, Three Evictions

Rio de Janeiro has experienced several waves of development in the past century. For Altair Guimaraes the changes have affected him directly. Brought up in a favela, he has been evicted three times as a result of Rio’s developments. As Brazil tries to gain global recognition and increase tourism, locals like Altair are forced to relocate despite property titles. Now, their struggles are becoming a symbol of a global phenomenon.

Green at What Price?

In the name of environmental restoration, the Ugandan government is expanding the country’s forest reserves in order to sell into the global carbon credit market. But this program comes at a high human cost as the state is displacing long established villages, forcing people to relocate, and jailing those opposing the program.

  • 2020-09-25T06:30:00-07:00
    Link TV

Women's Work

Women from all over the world are trailblazing through gender barriers in difficult and often dangerous environments. They are defying cultural norms and finding ways to pursue their dreams and change their future. The women featured in this episode are giving a new meaning to the term “women’s work.”

Colombia’s Ghosts of War

The 52-year Colombian civil war is not ending without leaving deep scars. As rebels hand over weapons, an entire generation of Colombians are emerging from the conflict to rebuild their nation. While some are struggling more than others, many citizens are rolling up their sleeves to clear out the ghosts of war.

Life In Refugee Camps

More than a political buzzword, refugees are real people with real fears driving their decisions, and they take great risks to protect their families. A glimpse into the lives of immigrants living in refugee camps reveals their hunger for human rights and an opportunity to start over.

What You Can Do

Learn more about the topics covered in this episode with the following organizations:

Searching for Home

Immigrants around the world face unbelievable challenges on their journey searching for a new place to call home. While much of the reporting focuses on the backlash refugees face from their new host nations, many communities are opening their arms and minds.

Background image: Feryal Aldahash looks down on her third daughter Valgerour Halla at their home in Reykjavik, Iceland. January 8 2017. | Thomson Reuters Foundation/Filippo Brachetti

  • 2020-10-21T17:30:00-07:00
    Link TV