6 October 2015
COLOMBIA: Two big
reasons for celebration, two opportunities for prayer
A Las Pavas farmer looks for his name on the roster.Community members rotate
turnsin guarding the communal house which has been attacked multiple
times over the last few years.
We rarely get opportunities to update you about positive
developments. These last two weeks though, have brought the kind of news that
inspires us. News that promises that one day peace may arrive in Colombia,
that just maybe, justice will be done, and mercy shown. Apart from political or judicial developments
that once in a while turn in favor of the communities we accompany—that allow
us to celebrate— we listen to stories of children, women and men to who despite
life threatening risk, chose dignity; these are the people, the stories, and
acts of courage that give us hope.
Earlier this week, the Constitutional court amended the Agrarian Law propelling
forward about two hundred land cases around the country. Las Pavas, a farming
community that we accompany, will benefit greatly by this decision
granting them access to return to their land. Today, out of more than a hundred
and fifteen families only twenty-four live on the farm, the rest live in a
state of continual displacement. Up to this day since their return in 2011,
after three displacements—once in 1996 by Emilio Escobar, uncle of the infamous
drug lord Pablo Escobar, the second time by the AUC (Self-Defence Forces of
Colombia), a highly organized and brutal paramilitary group, and in 2009 by a
corrupt local Police inspector, whose eviction order the Constitutional court
overturned— the community continues to suffer attacks to their person and
property by armed guards or thugs hired by the palm oil company, Aportes San
Isidro. Read about the court’s ruling to understand why this is so significant
in their process, and why we celebrate. We’ll take every small
bit. Read here >>
Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia shakes hands with Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, or more popularly known as Timochenko, the Supreme Commander of the FARC-EP as Raul Castro, President of Cuba, the brother of Fidel Castro encourages them. Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images
On 24 September, the
image above dominated the news all around Latin America, you might have even
seen it on your local media outlet. The day before, in Havana, Cuba, the
Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia—People’s
Army (FARC-EP) agreed to the last of the six agenda items, concerning
Transitional Justice after three years of negotiations. Both parties have
committed to signing the final agreement and implementing the accord within six
months. This will bring an end to one dimension of fifty years of armed
struggle. Here are some articles that further explain the agreement.
Colombia Breakthrough a World Model for Peace Talks, United States
Institute for Peace Read here >>
President Says Peace Talks Overcame Late Surprise, New York Times Read
peace deals in depth: Transitional justice, Colombia Reports Read
Peace: Monitoring Progress in Peace Dialogues (In depth coverage) Visit site >>
We still need your prayers and advocacy! Can you take time
to pray for two of our partners this week?
A woman from Northeast Antioquia participates in a workshop taught by CAHUCOPANA on International Humanitarian Law.
CAHUCOPANA: Pray for this courageous grassroots human rights organization, whose leader, Carlos Morales, was recently accused of being an accomplice to murder. Pray that he receives a fair trial and be released soon, and for the organization as it surrounds and supports him.
Women from Sabana de Torres participate in an event or “remembering and memory” organized by the Orgaización Femenina Popular.
Organización Femenina Popular: Pray for the valiant women of OFP, who for over 40 years, have organized themselves to make sure that the rights of children and women are respected. Because of their work, those in power have threatened, attacked and persecuted them. On Thursday, October 8th, they will be holding a public event to remember and reconstruct the memory of brave women who defended the dignity of all, and to demand and make sure these acts of violence will not be repeated.
PS. Your financial support makes a huge difference, no matter how small. In fact, 80% of our budget is financed by individual donors like you. Make a donation today!
[This release has been adapted for CPTnet. See Christian Peacemaker Team-Colombia’s
original release here.]