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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: May 2019



Gunshots ring out frequently as the two main maras (gangs) in Puerto El Triunfo battle over turf on which they can engage in petty extortions. One day in 2016 a group of mareros approached Ovidio Granadeño, 72-year-old former Sindicato de la Industria Pesquera (SIP) activist turned baker. They demanded that he start paying “la renta” or face serious consequences. He responded, “Look guys, you know I spent a lot of years dealing with death squads and the National Guard. So, now I’m just going to go about my business.”1 Perhaps the old man’s response stirred a sense of respect or bafflement, but regardless they didn’t demand “renta” again. He already pays a different kind of “renta” in the exploitative hours he labors to barely break-even; he works from 4 AM until 2 PM six days a week. Yet, Ovidio’s story is one of the precious few bright spots in the bleak panorama of tropical deindustrialization that envelops the port.