CPT INTERNATIONAL: Urgent invitations from Colombia, Elsipogtog and the Owe Aku–Can you help us respond?


18 June 2013
CPT INTERNATIONAL: Urgent invitations
from Colombia, Elsipogtog and the Owe Aku–Can you help us respond?

Tim Nafziger and Sarah Thompson

A week ago, on 30 May 2013, we got word from Christian Peacemaker Teams
(CPT) Colombia that Tito, one of the members of Las Pavas community in
Colombia, had been attacked with machetes by workers for Aportes San Isidro,
the palm oil company that has been trying to push the community of Las Pavas
off their land for many years:

Tito (yellow and green
shirt) taking
picture of security guard who had
ordered his men to shoot out tires of
Las Pavas’s tractor.

He was walking from the farm back towards Las Pavas after fetching water for a
meal. The security guards beat him using machetes, cutting one of his legs and
his arm, kicking him in the head repeatedly, and insulting him.  They
threatened his life and that of other community members and shot at him twice.
Hearing the shots, Bladimir Alvear ran out to find Tito bleeding while the
company guards ran away.  

This attack is an escalation of the pressure on this community that is deeply
committed to nonviolence.  The Las Pavas leadership asked CPT to provide
increased accompaniment for community members as they walk to and from their

In Garzal, another community that the team accompanies,
people witnessed the Barreto family, which contests the community’s land rights, hosting members of the Urabeños paramilitary group.  One of
Garzal’s leaders has fled with his loved ones
, and the remaining community
members are terrified.  Paramilitary
presence in an area often signals that deaths are follow. 

Our team on the ground is already stretched thin and they have
made an appeal to CPT reservists to support them.  We have people ready to
go to Colombia if we can raise the funds. Can you contribute $10 now to make
this possible?

These requests are just two of four  that CPT has received in the last week.  On 8
June 2013, our Aboriginal Justice team sent a group of reservists to New
Brunswick, Canada in
response to an invitation 48 hours earlier
from Elsipogtog First Nation.
Mi’kmaq and Maliseet peoples have been using creative Nonviolent Direct Action
to stop shale gas exploration on their traditional lands, including peacefully
blockading a truck hired by the exploration company, SWN Resources Canada.

 In South Dakota, responding to a request from the Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way)
International Justice Project, Christian Peacemaker Teams is renewing
a relationship with Lakota communities
by sending a Duane Ediger and Carol
Rose to support a nonviolent direct action training on the Cheyenne River
Reservation in South Dakota 14-16 June, in preparation for the community
response if US President Barack Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline.
 Its proposed path crosses treaty lands of Lakota nations, which have
published official statements, conducted public witnesses, and launched hunger
strikes against the pipeline. 

Your donations provide exactly what CPT needs to respond creatively and
powerfully to these calls from communities to build partnerships with them that
transform the violence and oppression they face. Please consider making a special
beyond your current level of giving to respond to these urgent
requests. Please also extend the invitation to people in your community,
congregation, and family to contribute at this time (or regularly!).

At a time when industrial agriculture and resource extraction companies are
pushing communities harder than ever, CPT comes alongside those using
nonviolence in their struggle to live ‘neath their vine and fig trees, in peace
and unafraid.  If we truly believe that there are alternatives to
violence, now is the time to step up. Donate and get involved here.

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