Inside a neighborhood scarred by drugs and despair: Life on the tough streets of Pablo Escobar’s hometown where drug addicts and prostitutes struggle to survive

Inside a neighborhood scarred by drugs and despair: Life on the tough streets of Pablo Escobar’s hometown where drug addicts and prostitutes struggle to survive

It is one of Colombia’s most dangerous neighborhoods, a crowded and dilapidated crush of drug dealers, prostitutes and the homeless fight for survival.

But despite the poverty and despair of Barrio Triste – Sad Neighborhood – photographer Juan Arredondo found glimmers of hope among the people who call it home.

For three years, the 35-year-old photographer has documented life in Medellín, once the most dangerous city in the world, where drug lords and paramilitary groups fight for power.

Survival: A homeless man cooks over an open fire made from bits of wood found on the streetSurvival: A homeless man cooks over an open fire made from bits of wood found on the street 

 

Addicts: Hugo, 33, is one of many drug users who gather in deserted warehouses to smoke crackAddicts: Hugo, 33, is one of many drug users who gather in deserted warehouses to smoke crack 

 

Trade: The neighborhood has become a place to trade drugsTrade: The neighborhood has become a place to trade drugs 

 

Refuge: A sex worker holds her daughter as she makes their meal in a rented hotel roomRefuge: A sex worker holds her daughter as she makes their meal in a rented hotel room 

 

He became fascinated with Barrio Triste after meeting a mother-of-four who sought refuge in the neighborhood after a paramilitary group killed her husband.

As Medellín, the hometown of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, cleaned up its act, Barrio Triste remained a battleground for other dealers.

It was once named the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but now mechanics and sex workers trade on its grease-stained streets, and turn to paramilitary group Los Convivir for protection.

But despite the poverty and crime, Arredondo remains optimistic for its future.

‘Barrio Triste serves a window to the violent past that once plagued the city of Medellín. It reminds me of a past I left behind and the hardship the citizens of this city and this country have endured over many years,’ he said.

Tragedy: A family say goodbye to a child placed in a tiny coffin
Tragedy: A family say goodbye to a child placed in a tiny coffin 

Oppressive: It make look uninviting but hotel Rest Stop of the Traveler offers cheap shelter to those displaced by violence
Oppressive: It make look uninviting but hotel Rest Stop of the Traveler offers cheap shelter to those displaced by violence 

Despair: Orejas, 21, has been living on the streets of Barrio Triste since running away when he was 12
Despair: Orejas, 21, has been living on the streets of Barrio Triste since running away when he was 12 

 

Displaced: With nowhere else to go, this drunk is forced to sleep on the sidewalk
Displaced: With nowhere else to go, this drunk is forced to sleep on the sidewalk 

 

Faith: A cathedral dominates the dilapidated neighborhood
Faith: A cathedral dominates the dilapidated neighborhood 

 

Icon: A painting of Sacred Heart of Jesus, the old name of the town, hangs in a workshop
Icon: A painting of Sacred Heart of Jesus, the old name of the town, hangs in a workshop 

 

Worn: Pieces of metal and wire from the mechanics' shops are encrusted in the sidewalk
Worn: Pieces of metal and wire from the mechanics’ shops are encrusted in the sidewalk 

 

Savior: A large painting of Jesus is carried through the bustling streets
Savior: A large painting of Jesus is carried through the bustling streets 

 

Down time: Workers play parqu during an afternoon break
Down time: Workers play parqu during an afternoon break 

 

Boxed in: A framed photo of a wedding day hangs on the flimsy walls of this man's hut
Boxed in: A framed photo of a wedding day hangs on the flimsy walls of this man’s hut 

 

Home: Carmen Salgado, 67, has been living is this room for 17 years. She pays $6.50 a day in rent
Home: Carmen Salgado, 67, has been living is this room for 17 years. She pays $6.50 a day in rent 

 

Trapped: A pregnant woman smokes marijuana from the back yard of a repair shop
Trapped: A pregnant woman smokes marijuana from the back yard of a repair shop 

 

Hardship: A man who has lost both hands and one leg showers in the ruins of a house
Hardship: A man who has lost both hands and one leg showers in the ruins of a house 

 

Crowded: Laundry hangs over the bed in a tiny room shared by this family
Crowded: Laundry hangs over the bed in a tiny room shared by this family 

 

Cramped: Eight-year-old Jenny shares this rented room with her four brothers, mother and step-father
Cramped: Eight-year-old Jenny shares this rented room with her four brothers, mother and step-father 

 

Comfort: A mother hugs one of her children in their tiny home
Comfort: A mother hugs one of her children in their tiny home 

 

Motor city: By day mechanics and car workshops are the main trade
Motor city: By day mechanics and car workshops are the main trade 

 

Homeless: Men bathe in the streets among street vendors and traffic
Homeless: Men bathe in the streets among street vendors and traffic 

 

Break: A mechanic rests inside a bus to escape the heat of the afternoon
Break: A mechanic rests inside a bus to escape the heat of the afternoon 

 

Pit stop: A worker rests in a local bar in Barrio Triste
Pit stop: A worker rests in a local bar in Barrio Triste 

 

Celebration: A pig is slaughtered for a traditional New Year's Eve party
Celebration: A pig is slaughtered for a traditional New Year’s Eve party 

 

Deprived: Homeless teenagers gather in a sewage tunnel that runs under the neighborhood
Deprived: Homeless teenagers gather in a sewage tunnel that runs under the neighborhood 

 

Youthful: Despite the despair, children still play happily on a rooftop
Youthful: Despite the despair, children still play happily on a rooftop 

 

Grime: Workers repair vending carts on the street
Grime: Workers repair vending carts on the street 

Broken: Barrio Triste lives up to its name as Sad Neighborhood but Juan Arredondo says there is hope
Broken: Barrio Triste lives up to its name as Sad Neighborhood but Juan Arredondo says there is hope 

source:dailymail.co.uk

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