Home » Perspective. Sumapaz: Bogotá’s strategic and environmental rearguard

Perspective. Sumapaz: Bogotá’s strategic and environmental rearguard

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Perspective.  Sumapaz: Bogotá’s strategic and environmental rearguard

THE HISTORY of Sumapaz dates back to the pre-Columbian period. The páramos bordering the Bogotá savannah were occupied by the Chibcha linguistic group. In the region of the Sumapaz river, the Suatago indigenous people lived, of Carib linguistic affiliation, with the Doar and Cundayo subgroups.

For the culture that developed here, the moors acquired a mythical importance: beyond these cold lands reigned the domains of nothingness. In this large expanse of land made up of 78,095 hectares, in the middle of mountains, rivers and lagoons, in the largest páramo on the planet, approximately 4,000 peasants live.

For more than 100 years, hundreds of peasants have managed to adapt to the challenges of a land to till it and produce potatoes, corn, cubios, peas, aromatic herbs, arracada and other foods.

Sumapaz is town number 20 in Bogotá, it is located on a massif of the Eastern Cordillera of the Colombian Andes, in the extreme south of the urban area of ​​the city.

Sebastián Saldarriaga, local mayor of Sumapaz, spoke with THE NEW CENTURY about the importance of citizen participation in the locality.

“Currently the Sumapaz Local Mayor’s Office is executing project 1691: “Strengthening of citizen culture and its institutionality”, with which, through courses in methodologies, it is intended to train the community on issues such as community communication and rights for inclusion of the vulnerable population, learning processes that promote training in citizen skills and tools, which allow the inhabitants of different ages of the locality to participate, organize and communicate efficiently within community organizations and with the different State entities, guaranteeing the inclusion of all and all”, explained the Mayor.

Likewise, from the Administration and, taking into account the conditions of the locality’s territory, an effort has been made to guarantee the logistical conditions of provisioning and transport so that the community can attend the different participation spaces.

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Coexistence managers

To date there are 89 ‘sumapaceños’ who have graduated as managers of coexistence and conflict resolution in the districts of Betania and San Juan within the framework of the “Security School” project.

The “Workshop for the promotion of citizen coexistence and community security” provided the participants with strategies for conflict management and self-composition of the different problems of the communities. Through conciliations, the inhabitants of Sumapaz can avoid the escalation of problems to the real roads and manage to manage security.

The community hall of the village of Peñaliza was the place where the local mayor, Sebastián Saldarriaga, delivered the certifications to the inhabitants. “This is the first cut of the workshop, a 60-hour training, which was carried out in alliance with Red Summa, so that sumapaceños and sumapaceños can be mediators of justice and coexistence,” he explained.

For her part, Luz Helena Diosa, community leader, indicated that the lessons learned from this training process were different tools to solve conflicts and how to sustain them over time, to support justice processes in her community.

At the graduation ceremony, in addition to the certification, each graduate was given a ruana that identifies them as a manager, and which represents a symbol of the peasant struggle and the ancestral peasant knowledge of this territory. The new managers pledged to promote these good practices in their community and thus continue building dignity in Sumapaz.

A town with love for animals

In the populated center of Nazareth, the Local Administration carried out a veterinary medical brigade for dogs and cats. The activity, supported by the Sumapaz Local Mayor’s Office, together with the District Institute for Animal Protection and the Ser Sumapaz organization, aimed at caring for pets to raise awareness about the importance of their well-being.

During the day the ‘sumapaceños’ arrived from 9 in the morning with their pets to receive an assessment by professionals, vaccination, internal and external deworming and, later, a medical recommendation, if necessary.

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“The idea was to summon pet owners to receive specialized care and raise awareness about responsible ownership,” said Óscar Barajas, a veterinarian from the Sumapaz Rural Development Fund.

On the other hand, the activity was well received by the inhabitants of the town, who highlighted the importance of the brigade and requested that these activities be carried out more frequently.

“We must be aware of the health condition of our animals to improve their quality of life. They are fundamental beings and they are part of us, ”said Andrea Rubiano, who attended the brigade with his cat, and recognized the importance of carrying out these activities in the territory.

A celebration in style

At the beginning of the current year, the celebration of the Day of the Farmer was carried out, a date that seeks to commemorate the work carried out by men and women who work in the fields in the town.

During the celebration, held at the Betania City Hall, various activities were carried out that sought to highlight the culture of Sumapac, among which were: Song Contest, typical costume and dance, culture and knowledge, wood splitter, linker, Sumapaceño markets, musical shows, children’s games, among others.

“The space is opportune from different cultural, artistic, gastronomic samples to vindicate the essence of the peasant. I am very pleased that these customs are maintained from the very young and that this essence is encouraged through these activities,” said Andrea Rubiano, one of the attendees.

Simultaneously, in another of the spaces planned for this meeting, the coplas contest was held, where the tradition of Sumapac was highlighted and the pride that one feels in being from this region, “it does not matter that there are two basins, we are all Sumapaz. Let’s live together in community!” Said one of the contestants.

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The celebration of the Day of the Farmer had the participation of the families from Sumapac, who at the end of the celebration expressed their appreciation for this day of integration.

“We had the active participation of the community and all the villages. The event passed with absolute normality. It was a pleasant space to share with all the families from Supacá”, concluded Mayor Saldarriaga.

How did the accountability go?

The Mario Upegui auditorium in the populated center of San Juan was the epicenter for the “Sumapaz has a lot to tell” Public Accountability Hearing of the 2022 force.

There, the local mayor Sebastián Saldarriaga Rivera and his work team reported on the budget and the programs carried out during the past year before more than 200 sumapaceñas and sumapaceños, who mobilized from all the villages of the town.

“This year of work has been full of super interesting challenges and, above all, wonderful personal growth. I will always be grateful, especially with the Local Administrative Board and with the Sumapaceño community, with the peasantry that has believed in this process and that recognizes it”, said the local president in his opening speech of the day.

The Public Accountability Hearing was accompanied by the District Oversight Office, the Local Development Management Department, the Local Planning Council (CPL); the Local Administrative Board (JAL); the Union of Agricultural Workers of Sumapaz (SINTRAPAZ); the Community Action Boards (JAC), among other actors who actively participated in the day that lasted four hours.

One of the most important achievements was having achieved a greater investment execution compared to 2021. In 2022 the allocated budget was 45,543 million pesos for different projects for the social and economic development of the town and 42,652 million pesos were executed. , which meant an execution percentage of 93.7%.

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