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Camilo Eduardo Espinosa Díaz


Camilo Eduardo Espinosa Díaz is a PhD student at the University of Salamanca. Camilo has a bachelor’s degree in Social Communication and two master’s degree in Government and Public Policy (Universidad EAFIT, Colombia) and in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies (Universidad Jaume I, Spain). He has diverse work experience in the public and academic sectors. This exposure has encouraged him to adopt an inter-disciplinary approach in his PhD thesis, in which he works on alternative forms of state building in the context of armed conflicts.


Research Gate: Diaz


Making the State on the margins: the case of the Afro-descendant community of Villa Gloria

In April 2012, former presidents Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia) and Barack Obama (USA) handed over collective property titles to the inhabitants of La Boquilla, a north district of Cartagena de Indias, popular for its beaches and extensive mangrove areas, and desired by national and international businessmen for the construction of housing and hotel megaprojects.

However, Villa Gloria and Marlinda, two village of La Boquilla, were excluded from this titling because these lands are class ified as coastal by the city’s institutions, and the national law prohibit the construction of housing in these areas. Villa Gloria, like Marlinda an d La Boquilla, is inhabited by Afro-descendants and victims of the Colombian armed conflict, most of them from the Montes de María zone, one of the places where armed violence was concentrated in the Caribbean region between the 1990s and 2000.

Based on ethnographic work, interviews, social mapping, review of history and the press of the time, I argue that the development and transformation over time of Villa Gloria allows us to understand the State as a process of collective construction in which multiple actors, dynamics, and interests, even antagonistic to the State itself, participate.

Beyond the fact that the absence of the State explains the origin and persistence of the armed conflict in Colombia, building the State on the margins implies recognizing that this construction is not a homogeneous and linear process, and it has different nuances and experiences in the peripheries, being Villa Gloria one of them among the many that exist in Colombia.


Affiliation: University of Salamanca, Spain