Monday, December 8, 2014

Quick & Dirty: Tumaco, Columbia

These notes are designed using structure from Night's Black Agents. The idea is to provide a quick skeleton framework from which to draw if the team heads here for adventurous mayhem. 

Quick & Dirty:  Tumaco, Columbia
Description:  Tumaco is a port city and municipality in Columbia. It resides on the Pacific Ocean and is near the Ecuadoran border. The city is famous for its stilt city, having inspired painting by Cordoba. Much of the city is poor and the homes and streets reflect this state.

The jungle between Highway 10 in Columbia and Ecuador is so dense, no roads cross the border. The best one can do is catch a river boat from a Columbian city and take it to the Columbia River, hoping to find a village along the river with a driver and a working car. The historic backwardness of the municipality’s government is often attributed to the isolation of the area.

Tumaco’s economy is based on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. It is also the main Columbian oil port on the Pacific Ocean side of the country, second nationally after Covenas. The pipeline and port are increasingly used to transport and export Ecuadorian oil.

Population:  99,000 (Albany, NY or Berdsk, Russia)
Conflict:  Tumaco is in FARC-EP controlled territory. Any action taken by the Columbian army to crack down on FARC-EP is always met with a more strident response by the FARC-EP. If that is not enough for the Columbian army to contend with, right-wing groups such as Los Rastrojos drug gang and Guevarist group Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional are also active in the area.
1.        Mira River:  Much of the tourism centers around the mouth of this river, including the beautiful Playas de Milagros (beaches of Miracles). The local beaches are filled by day and at night, tourists retreat to nearby, newly built hotels to enjoy their evenings. The hotels are built to shield the view of the poor just a street away. However, they cannot block the view of the Batallon Fluvial Infanteria de Marina with its chain link fence and barb wire topper.
2.        The gangs and revolutionaries have a stranglehold on the local government. When and if they need something, they make a call and threaten whomever is on the other end. Need money? Call a successful person and inform them of their new insurance rate. Need the military to not be somewhere? Call a military leader and threaten their family. When their demands are not met, the gangs and revolutionaries pick a target and eliminate it. Crime here is three times the level of any other place in Columbia and these “vaccinations” are only the tip of the problem.
3.        The U.S. government pours millions of dollars into Columbia every year to help combat crime and improve living conditions. There are more Americans in Tumaco than one would expect. One simply must know where to find them.
Three Hooks: 
1.        The indigenous people of Tumaco are known for their early use of gold in the making of art. One of the smaller military groups controls a large collection of caves where gold veins may be found. Large bats are said to reside within those caves.
2.        Everything that floats through the Port of Tumaco has a price and the locals ensure they get their cut. The oil industry pays to ensure this wheel is well-oiled. Controls are in place at the marina to ensure oil ships are allowed in and out with ease. Without a payment, the marina is not likely to let other boats in or out. This is the only thing in Tumaco semi-controlled by the Columbian government. The gangs and revolutionaries stick to the jungles and related waterways as much as possible.
3.        American ex-pats do not seem to be harassed as much as the locals do by the gangs. Why is this? Is there an agreement between locals Anglos and the Afro-Columbians? Is there money flowing from the oil companies to the gangs to keep tourists coming to the city and keep the money flowing.

Belize City, Belize

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