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María Jimena Duzán: “I hope they don’t kill me, I’m happy with that” | International

The journalist María Jimena Duzán in her office in Bogotá, on March 22.
The journalist María Jimena Duzán in her office in Bogotá, on March 22.Camilo Rozo (THE COUNTRY)

María Jimena does not use a script in her programs, confesses the people on her team as we look out the window at a classic Bogota rainy afternoon. At that moment, we see María Jimena Duzán (Bogotá, 1960) get out of a car on the street and run quickly towards the building to avoid getting wet. In a few minutes I’ll find out why she doesn’t need a script. The journalist and researcher, sitting on the sofa in her office, releases a whirlwind of ideas and concepts that could feed the existential chaos in which we live, but it turns out that, magically, everything acquires a precise meaning. while she does in the podcast his team verifies dates, names, milestones. He is rarely wrong, they say. It turns out that Duzán has Colombia in mind.

Ask. He inherited a column when he was only 16 years old!

Answer. My dad worked at the newspaper The viewer and I continued it. It was a shame, I have to admit. To overcome it, I expressly asked the director, Guillermo Cano, to teach me how to do journalism. She wanted to be a total reporter.

P. Pablo Escobar murdered Cano for revealing that he was a drug trafficker, something that the investigative unit that you were part of did.

R. That took away Escobar’s dignity as a congressman. Shortly after he escaped and started a bloody war that we never imagined. We were little and we did not realize what was coming to us. They killed Cano and then planted a bomb at the newspaper’s headquarters. It was up to all of us to leave the country, everything was dismantled.

P. Around that time his sister was also killed.

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R. Her name was Silvia Duzán, they killed her while she was making a documentary. There is an entire generation of Colombia that was disappeared in this war. All against all. The guerrillas threatened a feudal establishment and it armed itself and thus the paramilitaries were born. We never imagined that the monster would be so big.

P. One of her theses as a researcher is that Escobar changed the country’s elites.

R. It came to Congress, that is, the drug traffickers entered politics. Many of those who entered with him there are still. They have changed their past, their names and try to clean up their fortunes, but it is them. That is why I say that Colombia is a mafiacracy. The problem is not drug trafficking, as is commonly believed, but the accumulation of capital that it made 30 years ago in the regions and that created the elites that now control the country.

P. Many of his investigations are directed against the Char, a family from Barranquilla, a coastal city famous for its carnival.

R. They were launderers for a cartel, according to an investigation, and now they are in politics. Escobar considered that the power of the narco had to democratize the Colombian bourgeoisie, make the new rich come to power. Has occurred.

P. He hates the word reinvented. They repeat it now started to do podcast.

R. I got tired of hearing that journalists, because of the media crisis, have to reinvent ourselves. I suck. The journalism is still the same, only there are different platforms to tell the stories. This is a challenge. It seems the best to me.

P. Can reality be improved by the consequences of journalistic work?

R. I try to be optimistic, but it’s hard for me to be. You know the monster so well that you wonder what this pod is for. Although when I see Álex Char (he was an unsuccessful presidential candidate) he gets such a bad vote, it excites me. That’s enough for me, I don’t want to topple ministers. What I hope for is that they don’t kill me, I’m happy with that. And I aspire to build a certain culture and a certain reflection in society.

P. He was the shadow in Chile for three days of the left-wing candidate, Gustavo Petro, the favorite to preside over Colombia this year. He later wrote a report. Who is this man so exposed and at the same time so mysterious?

R. He is a hermetic character, who likes to dance salsa. In the chronicle I told that, while the politicians who surrounded Boric were in tennis shoes and very informal, Petro was wearing Ferragamo shoes and a Gucci belt. He was more radical economically than they were. I titled that report Petro is no longer mamerto, as leftists are called here. Until recently, being on the left was like being a lesbian, the same fierce criticism. If he wins, he will be the first leftist president since Simón Bolívar gained independence from Spain. And that’s a great story to tell.

P. Tell me, why in Colombia, despite all this that we have talked about, can you live tasty?

R. For the dance and for its diversity. Because of the war, Colombians do not know their territory well. They know more about Miami than Vichada. Now, after the peace agreement, you can travel more. It’s about time, damn it. Before, he only went to the south with the guerrillas or the army. Now I go alone, to know and understand. And for music, which fascinates me. For us, a way to rest is to go out dancing. I thought it was like that all over the world, but no. Alone here!

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