People in some Colombian towns have an unusual way of navigating between their villages that they have been using for decades – zip lines that traverse the Rio Negro canyon. The zip lines have been used for years to go between the towns in Acacias, Meta. A recent video showing how the villagers use it has gone viral.
“There are two ropes, one going and one coming back, which are fixed. They use a makeshift harness and a crotch to give them direction,” write the videographer on ViralHog.
A triangular piece of wood with some metal pieces is used to apply the breaks.
“Everything from food to small animals and even children in backpacks are transported across the cable, which is about 50 years old, 800 meters long, and 300 meters high,” the videographer explains. “The trip lasts about 30 seconds each way and saves the local people around 2 to 3 hours of walking.”
Families in one of the villages – Los Pinos – have been trying to get their own teacher for years so that their children don’t have to use the precarious zip line. The ‘niños del cable’ were featured in a video by Wise Channel’s Learning World from 2011.
They followed up on the story a few years later and the cable was still being used by children.
As incredible as the mode of transportation is the ziplines are considered dangerous by many and not without controversy. But despite calls to tear the cables down, the ropes have remained.
In 2015 the mayor of Guayabetal told the Associated Press that local militia groups were part of the reason that the ziplines have not been removed. The armed groups use the cables to transport weapons and soldiers. Attempts to remove the cables appear to have fallen to the wayside and they are still in place as of 2021.
There are about 12 cables in all along this stretch of ravine, according to the Associated Press. In total around 400 people use them regularly, to get from their homes to the towns.
If you have trouble viewing the video above, try the version below: