<p>Police agents arrest a man while his wife and family resist, during evictions of people from the San Isidro settlement, in Puerto Caldas, Risaralda, Colombia.</p>
2022 Photo Contest, South America, Singles

San Isidro Settlement Eviction


Vladimir Encina

06 March, 2021

Police agents arrest a man while his wife and family resist, during evictions of people from the San Isidro settlement, in Puerto Caldas, Risaralda, Colombia.

Evictions of residents of the San Isidro settlement began on 3 March 2021 ahead of construction of a railroad planned to connect the capital of the Risaralda district with Buenaventura, Colombia’s main Pacific seaport. The photographer says he would like to give social issues and struggling minorities greater visibility and a better future through his work. Following his photographs and subsequent media coverage, members of the central government intervened and evicted residents from San Isidro were promised rehousing and compensation. They were resettled in temporary shelter, but by early 2022 had still not been relocated to new land.

Authorities said the railroad megaproject would bring work and investment to the area, and that the ground did not officially belong to the people being evicted. Economic hardship during the COVID pandemic led to growing numbers of people living in informal settlements around Colombia, with frequent evictions. People in San Isidro, many of whom were of African descent, from Chocó, in the west of the country, or belonged to the Embera Chami community, lived in makeshift shelters, without basic services. Reports in local media stated that local authorities had hurried through the process of claiming land for the railroad project to prevent new settlements in the area.


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Vladimir Encina
About the photographer

Vladimir Encina is a photographer based in Pereira, Colombia. Encina's interest in photography began through wanting to depict social issues in his close surroundings. As someone who has been displaced by the armed conflict in his country, Encina works within small, local communities, wanting to highlight the st...

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Jury comment

The jury felt that the image portrays a universally comprehensible expression of intimate belonging in the middle of an urgent moment of resistance. The many layers of action create a commentary on the complex interaction between modern development, the proliferation of industrial mega projects and human rights, asking the question: who are the police really defending? Furthermore, by bearing witness with his camera, the photographer was able to support the peoples' fight for recognition, demonstrating the positive impact that press photojournalism can have in inspiring social change and holding institutions accountable.