The History-Making Colombian Mayor Taking on Crime, Coca and COVID

By Mariana Palau

The first female mayor of Tumaco, María Emilsen Angulo took office just in time for a global pandemic.

This article is part of AQ’s special report on Latin American mayors. BOGOTÁ - María Emilsen Angulo has an unenviable job. She is mayor of Tumaco, one of the poorest and most violent municipalities in Colombia. In this small port city along the Pacific coast near the border with Ecuador, half of the residents are unemployed. The homicide rate, 154 per 100,000, is four times the national average, and there is a shortage of courts, schools and basic infrastructure such as sewage and water supply systems.  But “coca is my biggest headache,” Angulo told AQ,...

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