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DOI, Digital Objetc Identifier 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1386en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS, 74-2019 | Audio-visual explanation of the author |

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How to cite this article in bibliograhies / References

L M Martínez Páez, P Porras Camacho (2019): “The bodies of water, as processes of resistance”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 1321 to 1334
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1386en

Water bodies, as a processes
of resistance

Laura Melina Martínez PAEZ [CV] [oORCID]  - Professor in the Communication Sciences Faculty of the Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios– Uniminuto –laura.martinez@uniminuto.edu

Paola Porras Camacho [CV] [oORCID]  – Graduated from program Master of communication, development and social change of Corporación Universitaria Minuto de Dios- Uniminuto – paoporras03@gmail.com

Various communities in Colombia articulate their knowledges and feelings from water bodies. In the Middle Magdalena region, El Llanito Fishermen and Fish Farmers Association (APALL) (for its Spanish abbreviation), has sailed and resisted degradation of its wetland ecosystem for more than two decades. For years, the lake has been a strategic point for illegal armed groups’ actions.  This configures a relationship of power, domination and and territory exploitation.
APALL generates resistance processes through communication actions that tell about deep connections and sensibility established by fishermen with the lake.   In that sense, interaction with the territory is not reduced to recognize it as an environment, a place, or a resource, but as one other, whom to share a connection with, and it is consolidated as a structuring axis of their narratives, collectivities and productive knowledges.  This research article goes for visibility and recognition of the resistance exercise played by El Llanito Fishermen and Fish Farmers Association (APALL) (for its Spanish abbreviation), in defense of the Llanito Lake, located in the State of Santander, Colombia, through the empowering their cosmovision.

Comunication; Territoriality; Social organization; Water bodies; Armed conflict.

1. Introduction. 2. Emergency country context 3.  Sailing: From Artisanal Fishing to Trammel. 4. Visible and symbolic mechanisms as resistance processes 5. Conclusions. 6. Notes. 7. Bibliography.

Traslate by Fidel Antonio Murcia

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1. Introduction

The notion of development as a reflection of capitalism has circumscribed the simbiosis between nature and human kind from a posture of domination and exploitation of resources.   Within this relationship, territories are considered as a fictitious commodity.  A commercial good minimized to an economic plane, and analyzed only from the implications of monetary transactions on natural resources.  However, the territory understanding should also be translated into a scenary  that configures and weaves various  social, political, and cultural  notions, among others.  It is not a space void of meaning. It is the place where subjects and collectives produce their symbolic chains and meaning circuits. 

El Llanito lake, located in the Middle Madgalena region, Colombia,  supports the exposed neuralgic point: it became an economic and symbolic tool.  As noted by Fajardo (2004): “the explanation lies  (…) in  that in our  country the land is concentrated to control people, land is concentrated to expropriate  people, and as some others affirm, to deterritorialize people” (p. 3) That is, in the conflict for power, various actors dispute territory domination giving uses to land land through mechanisms such as violence, that, in general, are against its inhabitants’ cosmovisions.

2. Emergency country context

El Llanito is a corregimiento, (a territorial subdivision within the municipality),   located 16 kms away from Barrancabermeja city (State of Santander), in the Middle Madgalena region.  It is composed of 17 veredas, hosting 4,200 inhabitants. Its is geography is characterized by a large lake bearing its  name, and by various wetlands. For more than 30 years,  El Llanito has been inhabited by a community of artisanal  fishermen/women, who called themselves "amphibious beings" because their productive activities and symbolic representation are built from their relationship  with the lake.  The community has led resistance processes not only in their territory but also in defense of Magdalena river, as a living body (a subject), and artisanal fishing business as a practice of environmental stewardship. The population is organized through the El Llanito Fishermen and Fish Farmers Association (hereinafter APALL).

For years, illegal armed groups have disputed the control of the territory, resulting in conflicts, fractures and tensions  among APALL’s organizative, cultural and environmental dynamics.  As a community, APALL has resisted and claimed its autonomy to protect the lake and decide  about its relationship to its territory.  Such struggle has been  carried out from various platforms and narratives.

According to historical data,  by the end of the 90’s El Llanito Lake was considered as a strategic corridor to move illegal narcotics  by illegal armed groups: Guerrilla groups,  AUC (United Self Defenses of Colombia), and later by BACRIM (Emerging Criminal Bands in Colombia). Not to forget that  Middle Madgalena is the craddle of some paramilitary groups that, for years, have managed to survive thanks to exploitation of natural resources of the region, and extortion in oil zones located in such territory. One of the core claims of  the BACRIM  stated that the armed group controlling El Llanito  lake would also control narcotic  trade in Barrancabermeja city.

The Historical Memory National Center (2015), cited information provided by the Observatory for integral Peace of Middle Madgdalena (2011),  and  affirmed that in the region about 6,000 AUC troops demobilized,  and many of them  joined those new armed organizations that went transforming, mutating and/or extermitating each other” (p.45).  In addition it mentions existence of “Los Urabeños” and “Los Rastrojos”,  operating in areas 1, 4 and 5, where El Llanito is located” (p.45).

The above mentioned internal armed conflict network, places the civil population as the protagonist, as claimed by Stathis Kalyvas (2001):

Fighting groups involve the civil population, war is fought  using people.  Control of civil population turns into a  definitive factor in the effort to eliminate the enemy, and violence is the main tool in the attempt to control civil population (p.7).

In concordance with the above, the Historical Memory National Center (2013), in its report ¡Basta Ya! (It is enough) Colombia: memories of war and dignity, affirms:

Few people would doubt today  that internal armed conflict in Colombia overflowed in its dynamics the struggle among armed actors. It is so evidenced by the  very  hight rate of affected civil population, and, in general, the ostensible degradation of war modalities.  In fact, on a progressive basis, specially since the middle 90s, defenseless population was mainly involved in armed projects, not through consent or social adhesion, but  by force or victimization, at such point that, analysts have defined such  dynamics as a war against the society, or war through  interposed population (p. 15), which theoretic line is shared by Pecaut (2001), and Lair (2003).

Perhaps, the clearest case of sistematic violence representation by illegal armed groups was the assasination of APALL’s leader, Lucho Arango: “it turned into an emblematic case of the Colombian armed conflict because he was the representative of a sector, that of artisanal fisherfolk, which had voiceless suffered the armed conflict efffects (Historical Memory National Center (2015, p. 14).

Documented research by The Historical Memory National Center (2015), also states that Lucho Arango: 

Was killed by  “Los Rastrojos”: Lucho’s leadership, as a defender of the ecology of the lake, his fight against the use of the trammel (illegal fishing technique) and his call for the authorities to  survail of the lake and neighbour streams , jeopardized Los Rastrojos’ free movement through the zone, that is  why they decided to eliminate him”. (p.14). 
After Lucho’s death, fishermen changed  their relational forms ;  societal matters should be built from  distrust, hopelessness, and alliances that,  although against their principles as a collective action, were necessary, since it was a matter of self-care and individual protection.

New relationships with the lake ecosystem show how the latent presence of illegal armed groups meant not only  occupation of the territory as a mean and end of war

but [was used] to command a tribute on or to devastate it. The immediate purpose is neither conquer of enemy territory or defeating its forces, but  just to cause it damage in a general sense (Clausewitz, 1984, P.22).
When civil  population is a part of “damage”, it is key to understand that, beyond use of physical violence, to achieve war goals, an exercise of symbolic power is reenacted. From Bourdieu’s view (1999):

Symbolic violence  is such a coercion exercised through an adhesion that the dominated party can not deny to the dominant one (and, therefore, to domination), when to think it and thinking himself or, even better, to think of their relationship with it,  they have only the instruments of knowledge  shared with the dominant party, which being nothing but the  embodied form of the structure of domination relationship, makes it appear as natural (p. 224).

That is, symbolic violence is linked to imposition and naturalization of cultural practices that, in general, are against the individual’s own beliefs and values, or in this case, community’s ones. Not to forget that,  alteration of significant circuits is linked to an unquestionable power relationship.

The above mentioned issues, make symbolic violence tokeep also a relationship with values of use and change assigned to the lake ecosystem for years.   As claimed by Nestor Garcia Canclini (2004), these values are not only conditioned by an economic assignation but also by social uses (symbol, sign and meaning), granted by each individual, in this case, to an specific geographic space.

This is why in time period of the armed conflict undergone not only by the  territory but also by the community, a migration of such values is evidenced. Because the constant vulnerability state of social leaders, who bet fo social change by defending “the environmental” within this context of violence, implied for fishermen a change of their cultural system by acquiring a diferent  value of sign and symbol.  “meaning was not lost (…) it was just transformed”…  “it changed its meaning when passing from a cultural system to another, by  inserting it self in new social and symbolic relationships“ (Canclini, 2004, p. 35).

This insertion of new symbolic relationships calls for a reflection regarding territories, not just as  cultural constructions but as war assets. Ecosystems are finally the result of power representations, where the inhabited place is synonym of struggle for possession or control. The territory seen from “the political” view, that is, “where decisions having social projection are defined (…) the way any society’s goods are distributed, what, how and when anything is given to each one” (Sosa, 2012, p. 72).

The relationship of the organization with its territory has sailed between two distant nuances, on one side, a political bet to defend the lake from the concern for it as a subject, an interlocutor, a vision related to what Eschengahen (2008, 2016) and Leff (2004) identify as critic to the dominant vision or what  Sauvé (2004)  defines as the humanistic current; and, on the other side, the hybridation toward a model of thinking the living body as a resource or a market good, from a vision of object or system.

These notions of the environmental, and the transitions the society has undergone through them,  result from the change of meaning systems, in overlaping  the various values assigned to a same territory. Recognizing  that, practically,  from the social  research, an  analysis of a community, specially human, becomes imposible from a dicotomic narration.    Because, it begins by understanding that the same context of statal abandonment, economic pressure and hegemonic logics in the territory, end with strengthening  the imposition of the environmental utilitarism. 
Understanding that the community and the territory, named subjects, are cyclical,  changing and complement each other and result from a cultural and social burden of the country that, currently, continues in the dispute about the  imposition of models of natural resource extraction, which force communities to adapt to business logic in order to survive in the territory they have inhabited for decades.

3.  Sailing: From artisanal fishing to trammel

The constant interaction of the community with external social actors have modified feelings about the territory. An example of such interaction is the imposition of a new relationship with the water body consisting in the illegal extraction of its natural resources, which weakens fisherfolk’s peaceful struggle and resistance in defense of the lake as a subject of rights. 

To accomplish this, fishermen were assigned specific fishing times and methods to be used, among them, the trammel (trasmallo);  trasmallo being an illegal fishing method because it does not follow a regular cycle. Trasmallo uses 800 and 1,600-meter length nets installed from one river bank to the other , or across small streams: “Trasmallo catches everything: small fishes having not completed their growth, fishes near to spawn, marketable and not marketable species”  Historical Memory National Center (2015, 98).

In spite of existence of a supposed statal regulation, it has not been properly implemented:

¡There is a Decree issued by the National Fishing Authority –(AUNAP)! But ¿who is  going to enforce such a Law upon a fisherman? Who believes that we, the leaders should risk our skin,  gaining the fisherman’s enmity, because the day when we leave, the man we set fire to his illegal net, is resentful and warns us “any day you will pay me for it” (Calixto Rivera, personal interview, Mah 14, 2016)?

Without forgetting  the fact that behind  this harmful method there is a whole network of  profit, which has guaranteed its  replication and reproduction:

There is a whole commerce network that also benefits from this practice; purchasers that resell fish also get profit from a higher fishing productivity. These individuals buy from any fisherman his product at a cheaper price, due to the offer produced by the lisos (illegal nets with small mesh nets), and fisherman using the atarraya (fishing net),  are in notable disadvantage, since  gain equivalent to effectiveness of their catch is minimal (Jimenez and Segura, 2012, p. 105).

Although a sector of fishing community sees trasmallo as a harmful practice for the environmental system of the region and has proposed “Fishing based  on implementation methods and use of legal methods, fishing aware of preservation of species for future generations and business itself” (Historical Memory National Center (2015, 98), some fishermen began to assign more importance to profitability that the lake could provide.  In this manner, the territory began to acquire a symbolic value, relevant for the organization, the one of material good.

As a consequence, violent presence of armed groups  falls into  assigning a Price upon the lake, and even an owner:
Illegal fishing is killing us, as well as pollution caused by Ecopetrol. These are factors  hampering the  the lake’s productivity. Right now, fishing is not profitable nor sustainable. In the past it was; for us it was profitable and sustainable.It has been one of the problems we have faced, Illegal fishing is one of the factors killing us, now currently. The Fisherman no longer wants to use the atarraya (fishing net), but the trasmallo.   We see these problems day by day, while catches decrease (Alvaro Contreras, personal conversation, May 16, 2016).

Using trasmallo implied that some fishermen established a monetary relationship with the lake, that is, to recognize it as a material good and, otherwise, that  other sector of the fishing community kept its concern regarding the lake degradation.   The inner fracture emerged within the association ends by becoming a method used by illegal armed actors to assign the ecosystem a value of exchange.  This tactic of inner division or generation of conflicts within collective actions or social movements  through their subjection implies:

serious pressure on traditional use schemes and land possession (…) realization of such activities, on the other hand, implies dominion of the territories in function of the needs imposed by an illegal business, among others it is required to exercise full control of population residing there and its subjection to production, circulation and protection of the business” (Bello, 2003 p. 2).

As mentioned above, although trasmallo is a practice inherited from  violence and intimidation against association Its use promoted of the social  organization fracture and established a setting of  distrust, conflicts and internal violence in fisherfolk society.

Creation of these internal dispute scenarios is generally the vector of a strategy used in internal armed conflict, through which solidarity, resilience and resistance by civil population are destroyed in order to perpetuate and  justify violence.

The armed conflict divided us. A half of Middle Madgalena downstream was guerrilla, and the other half, upstream Barrancabermeja city was paramilitary. By then, wefishermen no longer couldn’t go from one place to place anymore.  And we remained that way for several years; there were  imaginary, but real borders, and those daring to cross died”. (Juan Tercero, personal conversation, May 14, 2016).

A particular analysis of APALL case could show that its conflicts or internal problems are closely related to one of the levels in social movement and collective actions analysis according to the interpretative scheme proposed by Alfonso Torres (2002): quotidian life as a space where social conflicts are assumed.

In this plane it is understood that, from quotidian life, fishermen more easily perceive social conflicts affecting them and resulting from the context they are involved in. That is,  such conflicts do not surge from a rupture of their union ties, common  beliefs and knowledges, but, indeed, they are forms of being in the world that have been imposed by various actors surrounding the territory, and adopted by some ammong the fishermen as means of survival.

Therefore,  understanding that, at a great extent, internal conflicts of  the association emerge by violence influence  which has hit the corregimiento for more than 20 years  becomes key to understand how the development of such problems ends in creation of visible and symbolic mechanisms, composed of narrative, solidary and identitary links, parting from quotidian life,  as well as the symbolic universe defining them.   In this case, quotidian life operates as a previous condition forming the organization background. Such background explains relationships and representations established  between collectives.

4. Visible and symbolic mechanisms as resistance processes

Collective actions use various ways of exercising resistance.  Outstanding, protest meetings to give visibility to their claims agenda,  categorized as visible mechanisms, and since the origin of social movements and collective actions research have been the most studied.  However,  visible mechanisms are not the only way used for  this purpose.  From quotidian life, collective actions, (relying on  various symbolic and cultural means) express resistance,  strengthen their collective identity, and nourish their associative tissue.  As proposed by Torres (2009):

These visible forms of collective action can not be understood out of social and associative tissues making them possible; movilization requires previous preparation, effort coordination and awareness levels among their promoters and more elaborated demands and initiatives.  It is the articulation among community quotidian dynamics, associative processes and manifest struggle expressions, which provide identity  to collective action (p. 69).

The following are APALL visible mechanisms:

Protest repertoires

Construction and validation of the demands  agenda are accompanied by a series of actions within resistance process involving reivindication of their receptivity and resistance. Some of the most used protest actions are sittings, marches and symbolic acts.  Sitting protests to perform some type of social pressure upon institutions with whom they have had conflict, involve members of collective actions sitting in front of the institution’s headquarters in the early morning (historically ECOPETROL and the Municipal City Hall), or on the roadway connecting El Llanito Corregimiento with the urban area of Barrancabermeja city;  marches use to be carried out after events of major tension (ecosystemic damage by extraction companies, threats or murder of members).

APALL conceives its demands agenda and its collective identity  from an  ecological vision of spaces. This vision is determined by collective and personal history within an adaptation to a particular aquatic ecosystem: local wetland systems linked by rivers and small streams (caños), within wetland basins and complexes.  In the case of fishermen, their adaptation to river ecosysems determines a vision of the reality which is,  before anything, interconnected by a hydrographic network.  That is,  the organization not only intends to protect and conserve el Llanito Lake, but participates in protest mechanisms around the whole hydrographic sub-basin of Sogamoso river and Magdalena river basin. This in turn, influences and  produces participations exponentially larger than an urban collective action which  limits its conflict within a particular geographic zone (the neighborhood, the urban district, the corregimiento, the settlement). As an example, APALL has participated in protest manifestations in Santurban páramo (an ecosystem different from the wetland complex they live in): “We participate in Santuban protests because  it is there where water is born, and if water  disappears, lakes disappear too)  Pablo Gil, personal conversation, November 01, 2018).

On the  other hand, one of the mechanisms used as a collective action,  to legitimate and see ecological knowledge of the territory is to  require Barrancabermeja Municipality the preparation of  an “Aquatic Land Plan”.  As stated by fishermen leaders: “We want to tell the institutions how world is seen from canoes, let them come here and let’s have the Municipal Land Plan with the Aquatic Land Plan”.. This initiative is presented as a resistance action from other knowledge, the ecology of the artisanal fisherman’s knowledges.

From its relationship with institutions that fund projects in hydrographic basins, the organization requires recognition and a decision making based on their ecology of knowledges as artisanal fishermen. This action is carried out in order to prevent errors to be repeated as a result of ignorance of territories and the arrogance of western knoweldge

b) Symbolic mechanisms of resistance

Resistance by collective actions does not end when the stoppage or the meeting ends. This is a permanent process. APALL  avails it self of quotidian and symbolic actions to produce counter-stories and resignify  its relationship with the territory.   As mentioned by Torres (2009) “organizations need to mobilize  in order to remain as a movement, but they survive to these actions, by conforming  a less visible but more solid dimension” (p.71). Quotidian life of any territory  such as El Llanito fluctuates  between the exercise of survival (to get food of the day), sharing the activities ritualized from their  cultural referents (which start from the singularity of amphibian cultures), such as shared children parenting, oral tradition, river sonorities, fishing tasks, search for drinkable water, microtraffic,  degradation of water bodies of the territory, criminal gangs threatening  entire families and resistance. For el Llanito inhabitants  resisting is a quotidian process institutionalized  through APALL and the Board of Community Action but expressed not only from its associated individuals (fishermen).

In quotidian life of popular sectors, hegemonic discourses and practices are reproduced, but it is also there where resistance tactics to domination and exclusion emerge.  Collective imaginaries are activated there, and knowledge, tactics and strategies are generated in order to protect themselves from the look  and actions of the powerful ones. This  popular wisdom of resistance is expressed in the field of oral tradition and popular imaginary by means of popular tales, humor, picardy, rumor, word games and symbolic inversions (Scott cited by Torres, 2009, p.70).
The following are some of their actions:

a) Rituals and celebrations

Visible symbolic actions in the territory are aimed to members of the organization and inhabitants of the corregimiento. Celebration of artisanal fisherman’s day and conmemorative activities in memory of Lucho Arango are to be highlighted (performed in the Lake). The purpose of such actions is to reafirm their agenda of demands as a collective from inside the organization.

b) Mechanisms of social control and conservation actions

Refers to strategies and actions performed by fishermen, along their history as a community to promote methods and techniques of legal fishing in the territory, besides producing a social and/or symbolic sanction on fishermen who use ecosystem harmful fishing methods and arts.  The following is a description of mechanisms used by APALL:

Table 1: Mechanisms of social control and conservations performed by APALL. Source: own preparation




Devices built by placing a dead trunk in the margin of a or a stream partially submerged. Space under such trunk is a typical refuge for fish. It is completed by using rods. This practice is an imitation of a natural trait of local small streams (caños) [1].


Devices built of canes or guadua sticks forming an enclosure or fence in the middle of the lake, usually reinforced with barbed wire.  It serves as a refuge for fish against overfishing and illegal fishing methods. This practice is an imitation of a natural trait of caños.

Prohibited areas

Areas serving as a natural refuge for reproducing fish or young fish (non-mature fish), excluded from fishing by agreement of the community. They include natural palizades, floating vegetation masses, isolated ponds, and bocanas [2], they are critical because they concentrate crossing migrations.

Closure seasons

Seansons when fishing is prohibited or restricted under agreement by the community, or between communities and statal authorities. Such prohibitions protect the passage of spawning fishes, especially females carried with eggs.

Restoration of riparian forest

Restoration of the forest characteristic of banks inrivers, caños, and lakes.  Riparian [3] forest providesshadow and food for fishes; it produces trunks and branches falling into water and serving as a refuge.  Roots protect river banks from undermining erosion.

Restoration of connections and water ways

Hand tool works aimed to reestablish water ways where other actors (cattlemen, palm cropers) have cut them through  levees or.

Caños cleaning

Removal of blockages formed by branches, silt, and ocassionally wastes from streams and caños. When such plugs are too dense, they prevent bigger fishes passing, that is, reproductors from passing.

Size control

Agreements to prohibit catching fishes under minimal size, that had not had the  opportunity of reproducing.

Night patrolling

Surveillance of critical sites in order to control, on participative basis, compliance with community agreements on prohibition of non-sustainable fishing methods  such as lisos and trasmallos.

Social control of fishing methods

Management and enforcement of compliance with  agreements through meetings, campaigns and social sanction wtihin communities in order to prevent the use of non-sustainable fishing methods , such as lisos, trasmallos, malludas [4], zangarreo [5], palitroqueo [6], among other.

Rescue of fingerlings

Rescue of juvenile fishes [7] (non-mature) of the most exploited species that get trapped in ponds and flooded areas during dry seasons and  die when seasonal water bodies dry.  Fishermen move these fishes either to the lake or to fish breeding enclosures.

Fish enclosures

Creation of ponds using levees or nets, where fishes rescued from seasonal water bodies are grown and breeded.

Productive alternatives

Generation of productive forms complementary or alternative to fishing in order to mitigate permanent overfishing, or during closure seasons. For APALL fishermen they are farming, cattlebreeding, tourism, and boat motorist.

APALL associates and leaders when performing such actions  are usually exposed to threats and revenge by criminal groups and trasmallo-user fishermen. Violent actions include theft of the motor and canoe (the ítem of major symbolic and economic  value for fishermen), and death threat to leaders.

Being aware of the interconnection of the Lake  with other aquatic ecosystems of the Sogamoso river low basin, APALL articulates Regional and National leaderships with seven fishermen associations into a single organization named Mesa de Pesca (Fishing Table), a platform of common agreements and management in front of institutions aimed at funding projects to improve fishing ecosystems and life quality of Artisan Fisherman.

The following table shows list of members of Mesa de Pesca:
Table 2 Associations member of the Mesa de Pesca Sogamoso River Low Basin. Source: own preparation.

Table 2 Associations member of the Mesa de Pesca Sogamoso River Low Basin. Source: own preparation.


The Pedral Fishing Association


Llanito Fishermen and Aquaculture Association


Cayumba Fishermen and Aquaculture Association


Bocas del Sogamoso Fishermen and Aquaculture Association


Sogamos River Fishermen and Agriculture and Multiple Service Workers Association


Vereda La Marta Touristic, fishing and Agriculture Association

5. Conclusions

Now days, mobilizing for the environment in Colombia is an act of peace. APALL demonstrates that it is posible to  (re)exist and resignify its relationships with the territory as a way of hope. Water bodies in Colombia have been war assets in the midst of conflict.  Because of their fragile and strategic character they were used as an instrument of power to control territories and productive vocation of communities inhabiting them.

In Colombia, the civil society is increasingly claiming for protection of ecosystems turned into victims of armed conflict.  Such situation has  promoted collective movilizations,  protest actions and/or symbolic actions which exceed  institutional logic and media  newsworthiness criteria.

In 2017, according to the last report by Global Witness (The Guardian, February 02, 2018) Colombia was considered as the third most dangerous country for environmental leaders in the world.  Out of 197 leaders murdered for these causes, 32 were Colombian. Therefore, taking about a construction of a stable and lasting peace also involves a  labor of collective reconciliation and  healing, where water bodies are to be considered as subjects of rights, and in turn represent means of establishing  fairer and equitable relationships for the civil society.

APALL´s role  in building  citizenship in El Llanito turns into the configuration of new significance around political practice, a quotidian practice leading to social cohesion within its community, either from a sense of community or collective life project, facing a state of vulnerability caused by structural problems, such as absence of a protective State, in addition to its geographic location (far apart from the urban), and as a strategic zone for armed actors.

It is important to highlight that El Llanito has permanently faced presence of such actors, where difference is in the protagonism by one or some groups regarding its future history.  The existence of such collective action not only leads el Llanito inhabitants to formalize a platform of requirebility of rights, but the invisible and strong purpose of keeping hope in a process for its community. Where a process represents the possibility of a social change in the territory.

A change reflected through social mobilization for the cause of environment represents a way of communicative citizenship, where expressive subjects are made visible, connected to socio-political reality.  In this case, communication leads to meanings exchange and contruction of a collective identity which unite us as collectives.  A purpose that the Country needs: to learn to think itself in collectives. Not to forget that, before violence, artisanal fishermen in Colombia  respond by means of strong associative tissues and various protest mechanisms to exprees counter-stories. These experiences present other other possible horizons for a good living.

As a future discussion topic, it is worth to emphasize that extractivism in Colombia destroys ecosystems and isolates communities.  The National Development Plan (2018-2022) continues to present these companies and mega-projects as the plaform to achieve development. In front of this panorama and total state of vulnerability of these populations, ‘amphibious’ communities in Colombia continue in a tangible state of vulnerability.

6. Notes [8]

[1] Caños: Natural water courses connecting swamps, rivers and other caños

[2] Bocanas: mouths of caños where they connect with rivers, swamps and other caños.

[3] Riparian: relative to the banks of rivers and other water bodies. Ecosystems, environments and plant communities characteristic of water margins.

[4] Malluda: kind of net similar to the atarraya but longer, used to enclose the points subject to zangarreo or to catch the fishes in narrow passages.

[5] Zangarreo: fishing method consisting in noisily agitating  the water under the fishes’ refuges with hands and other objects to make them scape and fall in surrounding nets.

[6] Palitroqueo: fishing method consisting in whiping with sticks in the water under masses of floating vegetation to force the fishes to get out of them to the nets.

[7] Fingerling: a juvenile fish that has already developed scales and working fins but is not sexually mature yet. In most species they are about the size of a finger.

[8] Concepts in the notes above have as main document source the local community’s empirical knowledge refering to colloquial language.

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How to cite this article in bibliographies / References

L M Martínez Páez, P Porras Camacho (2019): “The bodies of water, as processes of resistance”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 74, pp. 1321 to 1334
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2019-1386en


Paper received on 31 January. Acepted on 2 August.
Published on 13 August.