10 November 2011
COLOMBIA: Voices for justice and peace in Colombia
by CAHUCOPANA (Humanitarian Action Corporation for the
Coexistence and Peace of Northeast Antioquia. See profile.)
[Note: The following article about CPT and the October
Christian Peacemaker Congress appeared in Prensa Rural (www.prensarural.org), a media source that
provides a voice for peasant, indigenous and Afro-Colombian organizations
working in regions of “social, political and armed conflict.]
The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) held its 25th
anniversary from October 13 to the 16th in Chicago, Illinois. CPT is an international organization
that does accompaniment work in armed conflict zones. Currently, they have a presence in Palestine, Iraq, Canada,
This year CAHUCOPANA, a small famer’s organization, was invited
to present their experiences at the conference. The conference was titled “Reimagining Partnerships for
Peacemaking” and sought to share international experiences and the
important role of those accompanying organizations that are leading social movement
in the midst of armed conflict.
Angelica Castellanos of CAHUCOPANA and CPT collaborate in
a public action.
For our organization, CAHUCOPANA, it was a pleasure to be
able to hear the other speakers at the conference such as Fathiyeh Gainey from
Palestine and Salah Mohamed from Iraq and listen to how CPT is working with
them as they struggle for resolutions to the armed conflicts and are building
peace processes in their communities.
Since 2009, CPT has been accompanying our organization. Together, we have carried out various
activities to make visible the war in Colombia, denouncing the continued
violations of human rights and the displacement and eviction of small
farmers. We can say that
throughout CPT’s accompaniment, we have shared a path struggling to claim lands
in Northeastern Antioquia for small-scale farmers.
As a peasant organization, we know that the main causes of
Colombia’s armed conflict are the dispute for the right to the land and the
unjust distribution of the land.
Therefore, we reaffirm our struggle and continue resisting in our
territories—demanding respect and reconfiguration of farmland. However, we are confident that now with
the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the United
States our problems will increase.
The evictions from our land will continue to grow. The humanitarian crisis will worsen and
the unemployment rate will be higher.
Now our struggle will need to be stronger. It is necessary that we build alliances with international
organizations that want to defend small farmers, especially in Colombia. This was one of the calls to all of the
conference participants that CAHUCOPANA made.
Our presence in this space leaves behind a closer
relationship and commitment. It is
fundamental that we focus our efforts on finding a political solution to the
Colombian conflict by pressuring and demanding both the national government and
the armed actors to find a path that leads to the end of the war. This path consists of a civilized
exchange of opinions in search for the solutions to the political, economic,
and social causes that generate the conflict.
CPT and CAHUCOPANA will continue on the path of
accompaniment, formation, and resistance with the farming communities in
Northeast Antioquia, while in our hearts we remain hopeful for true peace.