David Yu/Flickr

Uma luz para as cidades

NOVA IORQUE – No mês passado, realizou-se um encontro notável em Medellín, na Colômbia. Cerca de 22 000 pessoas reuniram-se para participar no Fórum Urbano Mundial e discutir o futuro das cidades. A tónica centrou-se na criação de "cidades para a vida" - ou seja, na promoção de um desenvolvimento equitativo nos ambientes urbanos onde a maioria dos cidadãos do mundo já vive, e onde dois terços residirão até 2050.

A localização em si foi simbólica: Outrora conhecida pelos cartéis de droga, Medellín desfruta actualmente da reputação bem merecida de ser uma das cidades mais inovadoras do mundo. A sua história de transformação comporta lições importantes para as áreas urbanas de todo o mundo.

Na década de 1980 e 1990, quem controlava as ruas e a política de Medellín eram os chefes dos cartéis, como o infame Pablo Escobar. A fonte do poder de Escobar não era apenas o comércio internacional de cocaína grandemente lucrativo (alimentado pela procura nos Estados Unidos), mas também a desigualdade extrema que se fazia sentir em Medellín e na Colômbia. Nas encostas íngremes do vale Andes, que alberga a cidade, os enormes bairros de lata, praticamente abandonados pelo governo, constituíam uma fonte garantida de recrutamento para os cartéis. Na ausência de serviços públicos, Escobar conquistou o coração e o espírito da população mais pobre de Medellín através da sua generosidade – ao mesmo tempo que aterrorizava a cidade.

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