Serratia, Mi Encanto: How Biological Control Agents Can Mitigate Colombia’s P. cinnamomi Crisis

In Disney’s new film Encanto, Colombian singer Carlos Vives describes Colombia as a paradise. “Todos llegan para gozar,” he sings–everyone comes to enjoy Colombia’s bounty. Despites its relative prosperity as an upper middle income country, however, Colombia’s development has been lopsided. Its income distribution is heavily weighted towards the top-earning 10% of the population, who, as of 2019, hold 40.3% of the country’s wealth–leaving 42.5% of the population beneath the poverty line and 15.1% of the population in extreme poverty. Most of this poverty is concentrated in Colombia’s rural districts, whose populations mainly comprise small subsistence farmers. This places Colombia at seventh in the world for income inequality.

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Pineapple Upside-Down

Julio says the Americans tear him apart like he’s a weed and then he sucks on his lollipop, viciously, like he wishes he could grey his lungs with tobacco. We stare out the window at the dead street. Nothing grows here, not money or weeds or the wax palms of el Quindio, the ones Julio tells me about. Higher than the Eiffel Tower, he says, combing their fronds through the sky, grasping. Sometimes, I can see them in my head, hazy and vivid like a dream.

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Nothing is Terrifying

The sun is gone, but the night is hot. I sit as far away from the fire pit as I can, fingers tracing patterns in the sand. It’s dry and powdery, and still a little warm. The sparks from the fire jump and fizzle. I feel the flashes of pain as they land on my bare legs. I don’t mind; a part of me even likes it. Fire on bare skin, and I win.

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