Comuna 13, is a set of neighborhoods located in the city of Medellín, Colombia. It is one of the most historically marginalized and violent neighborhoods in the city, but in recent years it has undergone a remarkable transformation.

The history of Comuna 13 is rooted in poverty and violence. In the 1980s-2000s, the neighborhood was plagued by political violence, as well as violence related to the drug trade, guerrillas and parmilitaries. The residents of Comuna 13, who were mostly working-class, were caught in the crossfire, and many were forced to flee the neighborhood.

By the early 2000s, the situation in Comuna 13 had become dire, with high levels of poverty and crime, and few public services or opportunities for residents, by this time Comuna 13 was completely control by Guerrillas, there was the ELN (Ejercito Liberal Nacional) and FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) as the biggest ones. 

ELN warnings of traspassings the “invisible lines”.

The Orion operation in Comuna 13 was carried out by the Colombian National Police and the Colombian Armed Forces. The operation was led by the National Police and involved the deployment of hundreds of police officers and soldiers to the area. The operation was also supported by the Colombian Air Force, which provided air support, and the Colombian Navy, which helped to secure the area’s waterways. It’s reported that some of the residents participated in the operation as well, helping the police and military to identify the criminal groups and their leaders

Paramilitaries after the “Orion Operation” overlooking the city.

However, in the past decade, Comuna 13 has undergone a significant transformation. The city government, in partnership with community-based organizations, has implemented a number of social and infrastructure projects aimed at improving the lives of residents. One of the most notable examples is the construction of a new public transportation system, called the “Metrocable,” which connects Comuna 13 to the rest of the city. This has improved access to jobs, education, and other opportunities for residents. Additionally, the city has invested in public spaces and recreational facilities, such as playgrounds and community centers, which have helped to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood.

Cablecar system in Medellín, essence of transformation.

Another key aspect of the transformation of Comuna 13 has been a focus on art and culture. Murals and other forms of street art have been used to beautify the neighborhood and promote a sense of community pride. Many of the murals in Comuna 13 are focused on themes of peace, social justice, and resilience, which reflect the experiences of the residents.

Graffiti about “Orion Operation” by Chota13 artist.

The transformation of Comuna 13 has not been without its challenges. Despite the progress that has been made, some of the neighborhoods still faces a number of issues, including poverty and lack of access to basic services. Additionally, the displacement of residents and destruction of homes and businesses to make way for new infrastructure projects has caused tension among some members of the community.

Urban invasions in Comuna 13, Medellín, Colombia.

Despite these challenges, the transformation of Comuna 13 serves as a powerful example of how a community-based approach to urban development can help to improve the lives of residents in marginalized neighborhoods. It also highlights how investment in public transportation, public spaces, art and culture can create a healthier and more livable community for all.


Comuna 13, Medellin, Colombia.

Today Comuna 13 is telling a completely different story, is a vibrant and unique neighborhood that has undergone significant transformation in recent years. You’ll have the opportunity to see firsthand the positive changes that have taken place, including new infrastructure, public spaces, and community programs.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history of Comuna 13, including the Orion operation, and how the community has worked to overcome the challenges it faced, and to explore the neighborhood’s many cultural and artistic offerings.

This is our tour if you wish to visit this incredible place: https://theandesadventure.com/tour/comuna-13/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *