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Parque Lleras Removes Barricades: Is Nightlife going to be same?

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The district authorities in Medellín are currently removing the barricades that enclosed Parque Lleras in the El Poblado, which were put in place under former mayor Daniel Quintero’s administration. The goal is to reopen the park for unrestricted public access while maintaining a strong presence of authorities to address potential security issues.

The Ministry of Security released images showing personnel dismantling fences in the park. Quintero had previously implemented a similar “embrace” strategy in Plaza Botero to combat crime, but it was ineffective and widely criticized for impacting citizens, tourism and local businesses rather than criminals.

“We opened Plaza Botero at the time, being consistent with the conviction that the public space is open to the public. We are allowing new dynamics of appropriation of that space that had been co-opted by irregular and illegal dynamics,” said Secretary of Security Manuel Villa on May 31, noting that the barricade removal fulfills a promise made by current Mayor Federico Gutiérrez to make the park openly available for the community’s enjoyment.

Parque Lleras has struggled with serious issues like sexual exploitation and criminal income, but there are also social and economic considerations for merchants who want to keep the area thriving with proper security measures.

The current administration had temporarily regulated business hours in the area and prohibited sexual services in Parque Lleras and other parts of El Poblado for six months to combat child sexual exploitation. Going forward, police and other authorities will maintain a presence in and around the park, along with Medellín Mayor’s Office staff to provide institutional support.

“We make a new call to the actors of the Lleras Park to be co-responsible, to fulfill the commitments they have made, so that together we can definitively recover the park,” stated Secretary Villa.

What’s Next for Parque Lleras?

With the barricades now removed, it’s difficult to predict with certainty whether crime rates in the park will return to previous levels. The outcome will likely depend on the effectiveness of the authorities’ security measures and crackdowns on criminal activity moving forward. Temporarily restricting business hours and prohibiting sex work may help mitigate some issues.

Regarding the impact on nightlife, the removal of barricades should allow freer access to dance clubs, restaurants and other establishments in and around Parque Lleras. However, the article mentions that business hours had been regulated by the current administration, causing some discontent in the commercial sector before hours were extended again.

This suggests there may still be some restrictions or oversight on nightlife activities compared to before the barricades were installed, but the situation seems to be evolving. The return of nightlife to its previous levels will likely depend on the specific regulations in place and how they are enforced, balanced against security considerations.

Ultimately, successfully transforming and securing Parque Lleras for the long-term will require an multi-faceted approach. This includes not only a robust security presence and cooperation from area merchants, but also social outreach to at-risk populations involved in issues like prostitution and exploitation. Sustained commitment and adaptability from the authorities will be key as the situation unfolds. While the removal of the barricades is a notable step, it is just one part of a larger ongoing effort to improve the park and surrounding neighborhood.

Editor’s Voice

Obviously the closure of Parque Lleras and Botero Plaza was not effective and hurt the businesses more than the criminals. The criminals were just standing out side the closed off areas waiting for victims. Last year someone was stabbed just outside of Botero Plaza gate no more than 10 ft away from police. When I walked around Parque Lleras they had drug dealers selling cocaine on Calle 10 outside the gate. The whole city should be on watch not just 2 blocks of businesses. Hopefully the current administration realizes this. Hopefully the list of the barricades will help get Parque Lleras nightlife back to normal. Write in the comments on your thoughts.

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