Se ha expresado preocupación por la creación de una base militar en Gorgona. A pesar de intentar rebajar su imagen llamándola "subestación de guardacostas", este pequeño proyecto podría dañar gravemente el Parque Nacional Natural Gorgona.

Los temores se centran en los posibles daños medioambientales que podrían producirse y la alteración del delicado ecosistema de la isla.

The government’s decision to turn Gorgona over to a military tourism agency is a clear violation of our rights as citizens and as guardians of the environment.

María Alejandra Rodriguez

We urge President Petro to reconsider his position on the military base and tourism concession in Gorgona. Our voices must be heard and our concerns must be addressed.

Fernando Gómez - Seccional Ministerio de Ambiente

This is a demand that comes not only from the local population but also from prominent figures, such as Fernando Gomez, in which they cry out “our voices must be heard and our concerns must be addressed.”

Especies de aves y marinas de Isla Gorgona - Gorgona Island, the new site for the U.S. military coastguard substation in Colombia?

La controversia detrás de la concesión

The controversy lies in the proposal to directly hand over the military coast guard substation and the tourism concession in Gorgona to a military tourism agency, a fact that has led many to question the intention behind such a decision. Why prioritize a military tourism agency instead of consulting the local community and environmental groups that have worked tirelessly to preserve the island’s biodiversity? Could this be a sign of increasing militarization in an area that has struggled to maintain its distinctive character and natural heritage?

The community of Gorgona Island has spoken out and said that it does NOT disagree with the Coast Guard substation, in a letter sent to the Vice President Francia Márquez and the Minister of Environment Susana Muhamad, in which they reiterate their position against this project.

Gorgona Island, formerly a maximum security prison, has become a national park and tourist destination known for its abundant biodiversity and natural beauty. The proposal made by the government of Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize winner, however, to install a military coast guard substation on Gorgona Island threatens to alter this balance and transform the area into a military hotspot.

No a la base Militar en la Isla Gorgona - Gorgona Island, the new site for the U.S. military coastguard substation in Colombia?

Las voces de la oposición Punto Clave

I n response to the proposal, the opposition has been forceful and firm. Civil society groups, led by the scientific community, environmental activists and human rights defenders, are demanding that the proposal be rejected. That is the case of the Collective United for Gorgona, with a peaceful protest in the framework of the renowned event Petronio Alvarez Festival, made known to civil society that the tourism concession of .
will be given directly to a military tourism agency, attached to the Ministry of Defense.

First, they skipped the prior consultation. Second, they seek to give the concession to an external entity instead of a local one, that is, they are not complying with the Escazú agreement by not giving priority to the communities to decide the future of the territory. This is the work of Gustavo Petro’s government, which calls itself the Government of Change, hitting mainly the Afro-descendant and black communities living there. A principle of autonomy and governance, a pillar of Law 70 of 1993, is also being violated, hiding the historical relationship of the territory with the communities – Representative of Unidos por Gorgona

Sociedad Tequendama is a private company specialized in military tourism. The decision to turn the base and concession over to Sociedad Tequendama has been opposed by environmental groups and local residents. Opponents argue that the military base and tourism concession will damage the island’ s fragile ecosystem and threaten the livelihoods of local fishermen. The controversy over the military base and tourism concession in Gorgona is part of a broader debate over the military’s role in Colombia’s tourism industry.

Distribucion de la Isla Gorgona base militar USA - Gorgona Island, the new site for the U.S. military coastguard substation in Colombia?
¿Cómo ha afectado a la industria turística local el proyecto de una base militar en Gorgona?

The prospect of a U.S. military-owned Coast Guard substation on Gorgona has wreaked havoc on the local tourism industry, whose economy is heavily dependent on tourism. The possibility of a military presence on the island has led to an atmosphere of uncertainty, fear and concern among tour operators, local businesses and the community at large.

First of all, the news has caused a palpable decrease in tourist bookings. Tourists, both national and international, fear that Gorgona will become militarized, which could detract from its attractiveness as a tourist destination. In addition, there is concern that the military presence could increase tension in the region, creating a potentially unsafe environment for visitors.

“The prospect of a military base on the island has disrupted the perception of Gorgona as a peaceful and safe place to visit,” says Laura Garcia, a local tour operator.

Second, the military installation could have a negative impact on Gorgona’s biodiversity, which is one of the main attractions for visitors. The island is known for its rich flora and fauna, and a military presence could threaten this delicate ecosystem. Conservation experts have expressed concern, noting that the construction of a military base and subsequent operations could cause irreparable damage to local wildlife and natural habitats.

Finally, the local community fears that the military-style coast guard substation could disrupt their way of life. Many Gorgona residents depend on tourism for their survival and fear that the decrease in tourism resulting from the military installation could have a negative impact on their livelihoods. In addition, the presence of a military base could lead to changes in the social and cultural dynamics of the island, which until now has been relatively isolated and quiet.

The current uncertainty surrounding plans for a military coast guard substation on Gorgona underscores the need for a public and transparent debate on the issue. It is imperative that the interests of the local community be taken into account and the potential impact on the economy, biodiversity and culture of Gorgona be assessed before any decisions are made.

¿Qué probabilidades hay de que se cancelen los planes para la base militar y la concesión turística en Gorgona?

At the end of 2022, government representatives made statements that the construction of the military coast guard substation in Gorgona would not be carried out on a TEMPORARY basis. However, pressure is mounting on political leader Gustavo Petro as he announces that despite the cancellation of the military base, the tourism concession will be awarded directly to a military tourism agency .

This turn of events has generated considerable discontent among eight municipalities that are part of the park’s zone of influence: Iscuandé, Timbiquí, El Charco, Mosquera, Guapi, Olaya Herrera and López de Micay. Likewise, human rights groups, who see in this action an evident militarization of tourism, contradicting the government’s previous statements.

isla gorgona optimized - Gorgona Island, the new site for the U.S. military coastguard substation in Colombia?

La isla Gorgona alberga una variada flora y fauna, como ballenas jorobadas, tortugas marinas y varias especies de aves y monos.Dato

¿Cuál es la respuesta de la comunidad internacional a los planes de instalar una subestación de guardacostas con carácter militar estadounidense en Gorgona?

The international community’s reaction to plans for a U.S. military coast guard substation on Gorgona has certainly been one of concern and skepticism.

International analysts and foreign affairs experts have expressed concern that a U.S. military presence on the island could further destabilize the region, which has already been affected by decades of conflict and violence.

The Organization of American States (OAS), for its part, has issued a statement calling on Colombia to refrain from allowing the construction of a military base in Gorgona, arguing that such a move could jeopardize peace efforts in the country. In the words of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro:

“Any attempt to militarize Gorgona would be a serious setback for the peace process in Colombia and for regional security in general. The international community must unite in the defense of peace and stability in Latin America.”

In addition, several international non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have expressed concern about the potential impact that a military coast guard substation on Gorgona could have on the human rights of the island’s inhabitants. They have urged the Colombian authorities to consider the possible consequences of such action and to seek peaceful alternatives.

¿Sigues confundido? Aquí los puntos clave

What about Gorgona?

Tension is rising on Gorgona, an island off Colombia’s Pacific coast, over the government’s proposal to establish a military base and a tourism concession handed directly to a military tourism agency. This decision has raised numerous concerns among local residents and human rights advocates.

What is the importance of Gorgona Island?

Gorgona Island, located about 35 kilometers off the Colombian Pacific coast, is of significant ecological, historical and cultural importance. It has a unique biodiversity that makes it a privileged destination for research and conservation of both terrestrial and marine species.

How were the prisoners on Gorgona Island treated?

Gorgona Island, before being recognized as a paradise for biodiversity conservation and tourism, was for a long time an infamous prison. The treatment of prisoners on the island was notoriously harsh and marked by extreme living conditions.

From the 1950s until the early 1980s, the island served as a prison for Colombia’s most feared and dangerous criminals. Prisoners were sent to Gorgona in the hope that its geographic isolation would act as a natural deterrent to escape attempts.

How much does it cost to go to Gorgona Island?

The cost of traveling to Gorgona Island may vary depending on several factors such as the length of stay, the season and the type of accommodation chosen. However, it is important to note that Gorgona Island, being a National Natural Park, has an entrance fee that must be paid to the Colombian Tourism Institute. This cost can vary, but generally ranges from US$10 to US$20 per person.

In addition to park entrance fees, visitors should consider the costs associated with transportation to the island. A boat trip from the port of Buenaventura can cost around US$100. Accommodations, which often include meals, can range from $50 to $200 per night, depending on the level of comfort and amenities. The cost of the park entrance fee, which ranges from $400 to $800, can be in the range of $100 to $200, depending on the season and the tour package chosen.

Who was the prisoner who escaped from Gorgona Island?

Gorgona Island, known for having housed a maximum security prison, has stories of fugitives who have tried to escape from its shores. But, among these, there is one name that particularly stands out, that of Aurelio Iragorri Hormaza.

Aurelio Iragorri Hormaza, a renowned politician, was one of the prisoners who managed to escape from the island. His escape has been documented in numerous books and documentaries, becoming a legend in the history of Gorgona Island. He was a political prisoner during the Colombian armed conflict who, in a daring act of defiance, managed to evade prison security and escape in 1982.

Iragorri’s story is remarkable not only for his audacity, but also for the circumstances surrounding his escape. He reportedly managed to escape from prison during a torrential rainstorm and swam through the shark-infested waters until he reached the mainland coast.

After his escape, Iragorri continued his political career, reaching high-ranking positions in the Colombian government. His story of resistance and daring is a testament to the struggle for freedom and justice in a period of intense conflict in Colombia’s history.

What are the greatest threats to Gorgona Island?

Gorgona Island, a priceless natural treasure, faces a series of threats that could endanger its balanced ecosystem. The introduction of a U.S. military base in this sensitive environment has raised serious concerns among environmental advocates and local residents.

Military intervention on the island could cause devastating damage to the local flora and fauna, many of which are endemic and found nowhere else in the world. This threat is even more worrisome considering that Gorgona is home to endangered species.

What are the three Gorgons?

The three Gorgons are mythological characters from ancient Greece, not to be confused with the island of the same name in Colombia. These creatures were three sisters, whose names were Steno, Euryale and Medusa. According to Greek mythology, the Gorgons were daughters of Forcis and Ceto, primordial sea deities.

Steno, the eldest of the Gorgons, was renowned for her strength and ferocity. Euryale, on the other hand, was famous for her high-pitched, piercing scream. But the best known of the three is undoubtedly Medusa, the only mortal among them. According to the myth, Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden, but was transformed into a Gorgon as punishment for offending the goddess Athena. It was said that anyone who looked directly into Medusa’s eyes would turn to stone.

These mythological characters have been depicted throughout the history of art and literature, and their symbolism has been the subject of numerous studies and analyses. However, they have no direct relationship with the island of Gorgona in Colombia, beyond sharing the name.

What does the word Gorgona mean?

The word ‘Gorgon’ often conjures up images from Greek mythology, where the Gorgons were three monstrous sisters with snake hair and looks capable of turning men to stone. However, in the context of the Colombian island, the origin of the name is less clear. Some argue that it stems from the menacing appearance of the dense jungle and wildlife on the island, which may have evoked comparisons to the monstrous Gorgons of mythology.

On the other hand, some believe that the name may be related to the word ‘sparrow’, which is a common name for several species of small birds found on the island. Regardless of the exact origin of the name, Gorgona Island has certainly inspired both awe and fascination throughout its history, thanks to its unique flora and fauna, its past as a prison and its present as a protected national park.