CPT welcomes you to Colombia this September to experience a
monumental era for Colombia as the government and the largest guerrilla group
sign of a peace agreement and move towards the hard work of collective memory,
truth, and reconciliation.
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Garzal and Nueva Esperanza are two farming communities
situated side by side along the banks of the Magdalena River. These farmers make their living cultivating
rice, plantain, yucca, many varieties of tropical fruits, and most importantly,
their famous cacao. This cocoa bean is one of the best in Colombia and Garzal
exports to Swiss chocolate companies, who sell their product around the world.
Unfortunately, these fertile and prosperous lands have been
at the epicentre of a civil war in Colombia for over fifty years. Constant
threats from demobilized paramilitaries make life difficult on the land and the
farming community lives in a perpetual state of fear. The state has declared
that these lands belong to small farmers, but the titles are caught up in
Delegation participants will have the opportunity to visit
Garzal and Nueva Esperanza, where they will meet community members and engage
in their experience. These communities
attribute their perseverance to their strong Christian faith, and as the country
moves through a process of peace negotiations, we will hear from them about how
that faith interacts with the conflict and what forgiveness and reconciliation
means for them. We will spend our first
few days in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, learning the national context. From
Bogotá we travel to Barrancabermeja, CPT’s base city, a city alive with social
movements and a history steeped in the defence of human rights and
dignity. Here we will listen to the
voices of friends and partners developing an analysis before heading off to
Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.
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