Discerning networks: Distortions of human movement in Urabá, Colombia

Jonathan Echeverri Zuluaga, Juan Thomas Ordóñez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Colombian region of Urabá, that borders Panama, has gained notoriety for the transit of people moving from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean to North America. Using an ethnographic approach, this article examines how the accounts of local bureaucrats and other actors in the region frame these movements within the influence of “redes,” that is, networks, a vague reference to the hold illegal armed actors and smugglers have over the region. We argue that redes works as a placeholder that simplifies the complexities around these types of migration and gives the phenomenon distorted contours which ignore the agency of people on-the-move. We contrast local accounts of the criminal influence over these movements to those of the travelers themselves who describe a variety of interactions along their journeys, but do not mention networks of this kind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology


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