It was a sleepy afternoon at the end of Holy Week when Colombia was contemplating the passion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The city felt as if it were asleep in that meditation. Some Colombians left the city altogether, escaping to small towns or the Caribbean coast on vacation from the monotony of Bogotá.
In a nearby church called Santa Teresita, a group of believers lined up in the pews. Some stood. Some sat. They all gazed out into the cavernous space of the cathedral. Some whispered prayers to themselves.
Marcel Marentes told me he was painting beneath a bridge one day. The police arrived. One officer jumped off his bike and ran down beneath the bridge to see what Marcel was doing. He was sure they were putting up pro-rebel symbols – something that qualifies as a serious crime in Colombia.
“Who is it? ELN? FARC?” asked the first policeman up top, referring to the country’s two largest rebel groups.