La Frontera by Klas Lundström

Story Brief

The Urban Jungle: an Amazon Border Trilogy
“Brazil has been dislocated to the Amazon. Everything happens there, drug trafficking goes through there, economic interests are there, a lot of capital is flowing that way, as well as concerns regarding ecology, the world’s viewpoint, the paranoia and the illusion about paradise, everything is there or turned in that direction. For better or worse, the Amazon has become the place of all places, and a great cultural melting pot is brewing over there, and from down here we have no idea what’s going on.” – Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, in interview to Azougue magazine

On the triple frontier between Brazil, Colombia and Peru, the twin cities Tabatinga (Brazil) and Leticia (Colombia), and the village Santa Rosa (Peru) form an urban island surrounded by the Amazon rain-forest. Cut-off from the economic centers of the respective countries by the forest and the distance, this triple border is characterized by the constant transit of people and exchange of goods, the incessant sound of motorcycles and radios, the mixture of traditional and technological knowledge and the coexistence of different cultures and ethnicities.

We reflect on some of the borders’ manifestations: the presence and the influence of the frontier on the lives of the inhabitants of these border cities; the relationship between the urban and the jungle; the flows and transits, fissures, gaps and also confluences that challenge national, territorial and cultural divisions; as well as the circulation of commodities (bodies, basic goods, drugs etc.) across national and legal contexts.

Reading List

  • Mignolo, W 2005, The idea of Latin America, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Verney, M H (ed) 2006, ‘Working at the Borders’ Refview 4, The UN Refugee Agency Bureau for the Americas.
  • de Oliveira, M M 2006, ‘Human mobility in the triple border of Peru, Colombia and Brazil’ Estudos Avançados, vol.20, no.57 São Paulo.
  • Santos, C A D, Brasil, M C, Moura, H A 2000/1, ‘Persona Non Gratae? A Imigração Indocumentada No Estado Do Amazonas’ Migrações Internacionais: Contribuições Para Políticas, Brasil.
3 Responses to “La Frontera by Klas Lundström”
  1. Todd 25 March 2012 at 10:45 am #

    This was my favourite piece in the whole chronic! Great investigative journalism. Thanks so much for good reading material. ///Todd .

  2. Lina 26 April 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I totally agree with Todd.. The writer of this reportage is one of Swedens most underestimated reporters. All of you who have thought of learning swedish : Do it, so you can learn more from Klas Lundström and his journalism!!

  3. Manley 11 September 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Thanks for the tip, Lina! Here some more essays by Mr. Lundstrom in English. Read them!

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