El Cartucho

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El Cartucho
Tercer Milenio Park currently where before was El Cartucho
Tercer Milenio Park currently where before was El Cartucho
El Cartucho is located in Bogotá
El Cartucho
El Cartucho
Location in Bogota
Coordinates: 4°35′51.396″N 74°04′52.955″W / 4.59761000°N 74.08137639°W / 4.59761000; -74.08137639Coordinates: 4°35′51.396″N 74°04′52.955″W / 4.59761000°N 74.08137639°W / 4.59761000; -74.08137639
Country Colombia
DepartmentFlag of Bogotá.svg Distrital Capital Cundinamarca
LocalitySanta Fe

El Cartucho or Calle del Cartucho was a street in the neighborhood of Santa Inés in Bogota which was destroyed and replaced by a park. At its time, it was one of the poorest and most dangerous areas in Colombia, known for rampant drug trafficking and inhabited by the poverty stricken. El Cartucho was widely considered to be a symbol of urban degradation.[1]


Originally located on the 9th and 10th streets of Bogota between carreras 13 and 13A, the area expanded over the years to occupy most of the neighborhood of Santa Inés.[2] The name El Cartucho had been used for this area since the mid 20th century due to its proximity to an open air market dedicated to reclaiming materials such as bottles, cardboard, and construction material (collective called "cartucho" in Colombian Spanish). after the events of El Bogotazo, the neighborhood experienced a time of rapid decay during which much of its inhabitants moved to nearby neighborhoods. In their place, the area was populated by those displaced by drug trafficking related violence, often the city's poorest persons. The majority of the area's decay is attributed to the demolition of the market and the church of Santa Inés on carrera 10th.

In the decade of the 1980s, the neighborhood began to be gradually invaded by drug traffickers, the destitute, sex-workers, and criminals. This converted the area into the most dangerous neighborhood of the city. Murder, drug trafficking, mutilations, and other crimes became commonplace, aided by the absence of police in the neighborhood. By the 1990s, the area was widely considered to be irrecoverable.

During the late 1990s, during the government of Enrique Peñalosa, it was decided to reclaim the area, along with other violent neighborhoods in the city, and to demolish the entire neighborhood in order to be replaced with the Tercer Milenio Park.[3] Despite the protesting of the decision, and the lack of plans for relocation of the poor inhabitants of the neighborhood, the plan moved ahead. The park was inaugurated in the year 2000.[4]


The name Cartucho has been generalized to refer to any zone of extreme urban decay, particularly those rife with crime and drug violence. Due to the destruction of El Cartucho, the illicit drug activities which were once conducted in the area have moved to adjacent neighborhoods, although in a reduced capacity.[5] It is estimated that the adjacent area known as El Bronx is the source for up to 90% of the city's drugs. The neighborhood to the south of the park known as San Bernardo is also a location of drug trafficking.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "El CARTUCHO" (PDF). integracionsocial.gov.co (in Spanish). Integración Social.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "La herencia de El cartucho". ElEspectador (in Spanish).
  3. ^ "Milagro en riesgo". www.semana.com (in Spanish).
  4. ^ "El fin de una vergüenza". www.semana.com (in Spanish).
  5. ^ "Hay cuatro nuevos Cartuchos | ELESPECTADOR.COM". El Espectador (in Spanish). Elespectador.com. 2015-10-28. Archived from the original on 2015-10-28. Retrieved 2015-10-28.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)