When Law 13 was passed on November 3, 1947, which elevated Chocó to the category of department, an aspiration that had been promoted by the progressive sectors of the region since the beginning of the 20th century materialized.
The ‘departmentalization’ of the then mayor’s office was one of its most important flags. It was considered a sinecure of backwardness compared to other regions that offered some industrial and agricultural progress, a kind of citizenship letter in the national environment, a position of equality and a blow to the atavistic discrimination against Chocó by the dominant sectors.
In 1947, the production of gold and platinum by the gringo company Chocó Pacífico, the looting of immense volumes of precious woods, rubber and tagua from the tropical forest and trade with Cartagena grew. “Dreams of modernity” were promoted with education, roads, railways and agricultural colonies, previous controversies between Atrato and San Juan were overcome and regional identity and pride were affirmed.
76 years have passed since departmentalization was achieved. 76 years with dissimilar episodes about which an encyclopedia could be written, but which, as in all things, can be framed in two opposite shores.
On the one hand, the negative. We have had several decades of social, economic and cultural deterioration as a result of the application of central government policies to weaken the public sector and regional governments controlled by corrupt, careerist and opportunist sectors whose main purpose is the personal enrichment of their leaders.
As a result, regional and local institutions have been destroyed, embezzlement and prevarication have become a daily and praiseworthy practice, dragging Chocó to bankruptcy and to the bottom of the abyss, with the worst rates of misery, life expectancy, unemployment , mortality, unhealthiness and illiteracy.
76 years and a department crushed by debts and embargoes, its entities in liquidation, hospitals and schools falling apart, the economy dying, widespread unemployment, rampant insecurity.
On the other hand, the positive. 76 years of titanic efforts from different social sectors for true social progress, of tenacious work in the classrooms, commerce, transportation, and the countryside. Of struggles against dismemberment, of civic strikes that achieved important works such as electrical interconnections with Antioquia and Risaralda, the interconnection of Bajo Atrato, some paving, the Technological University of Chocó, the Yuto bridge. 76 years of defense and development of regional culture and folklore and resistance to the humanist values of work, dignity, honesty and solidarity.