Many neighbourhoods in the south of Bogotá display a stamp by Gerson Martínez. His graffitis decorate murals in Horacio Orjuela, La Herradura, Columnas and other parts of the town of San Cristóbal in southern Bogotá.
His music also left footprints. “Totti Beat” as he was popularly known, was a quiet young man with good sense of humour, noble and charismatic, according to his colleagues from the Hip Hop Alliance PaZur, a cultural organization that gathers and promotes Hip Hop talent in Colombia, which Beat had joined one year before his death.
This urban artist used his passion for art, music and basketball to try to help young people in the community, especially those with drug addiction. Aside from his life as an artist, Gerson worked for an air conditioning company and was a supporter of the then mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, whose mandate had been revoked in the wake of a referendum.
The police and the family and community have different hypothesis about his death. The robbery is one of them, but according to those who accompanied him, his body was found with all his belongings including phone, wallet and camera. There were also talks about vendetta but Martinez was famous for his pacifism and good sense of humor, which –his friends say– kept him away from disputes and enemies.
Those who accompanied him tell that Gerson and four friends (one of whom was wounded) were attacked in the morning at the top of the southeastern hills of Zuque behind the Ciudadela Santa Rosa neighborhood. Since a flag with Petro’s slogan “Bogotá Humana” was found in the crime scene a political motive was also mentioned.
But some neighbors sustain the hypothesis that Totti Beat’s dead was part of a “social cleansing” plan carried out by illegal armed groups operating in that area. According to El Espectador, “demobilized members of AUC, FARC and ELN live in Ciudadela Santa Rosa, since the implementation of the “Peace and Justice Law” was implemented.”