Under the government of President Iván Duque, however, the port looks closer to becoming a reality, as developers say it’s necessary for the future of the country’s economy and development.Many locals, who include mostly Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations, tell Mongabay they are concerned the port will bring violence and poverty, much like the port city of Buenaventura, 200 kilometers (120 miles) south.Environmentalists say the port will destroy the communities’ local ecotourism economy, the unique breeding grounds for whales and sharks, and thousands of hectares of mangroves, as well as carve up the Chocó rainforest and displace several species of native wildlife and fauna. TRIBUGÁ, Colombia — Aida Leides Palacios Moreno strolls through the narrow dirt streets in the Colombian town of Tribugá surrounded by palm and plantain trees rustling in the seaside breeze. She’s trying to round up her neighbors for a meeting to discuss yet another ecotourism project. It’s a quiet morning in February. Most of the town’s men have already gone off to work in community gardens, or to collect shellfish from the more than 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) of mangroves that line the shore surrounding the town. The mangrove forests, which grow in the mud of brackish water, are a unique feature of this part of Colombia’s Pacific coast in the Chocó rainforest. It is one of the most biologically diverse areas of world, with some of the highest number of endemic plants in South America. The 20 or so people who attend the meeting express optimism that a tourist economy can grow and provide an alternative to the deepwater port that for years has been planned for this very spot. Many locals fear the port could displace them altogether. Residents of Tribuga gather for a town meeting to discuss a new ecotourism project. Photo by Kimberley J. Brown. “We don’t have money, but we live calmly,” says Palacios, a mother of three who was born and raised in Tribuga, “but we are now again being threatened by the port.” The idea for this mega infrastructure project in the Gulf of Tribugá has been debated for decades, and across generations. Palacios, 27, says her grandfather was a little boy when talk of a port started to circulate around the town. It has since surfaced periodically over the years, but always disappeared. Many trace the idea back to 1953, when then-President Gustavo Rojas Pinilla cited the need for another port on the Pacific coast as an alternative to Buenaventura, just 200 kilometers (120 miles) south, to boost international trade and local development.