Have we gone back in time?

Communities and social leaders are facing a spike in violence in the last year, both in rural and urban areas. There is no safe place anymore.
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Erik sits on a chair with his arms up behind his head in a relaxed position. His farm is behind him.

It’s 4:00 am as Erik gets up, has a cup of coffee and prepares his horse to go out to his farm and milk the cows. He says goodbye to his wife with an enthusiastic smile, “today will be a good day,” he says to himself as he finishes saddling the horse. The trail is quiet; the sun barely appears and the heat is already shimmering. Erik quickens his pace to make good time to the farm, because today he must not only milk the cows but also finish planting a field of corn. Before he knows it, it’s 4:00pm, time to go home! He leaves, humming along to the sound of a vallenato he can hear from the neighbouring farm and with the satisfaction of having achieved a great day. Once home, neighbours and friends gather in the shade of a mango tree to talk about life, everything and nothing at the same time, but… What would happen if this story were different?

It is no secret to anyone that spikes in violence have skyrocketed in the last year, not only in rural Colombia but also in urban centres. Armed groups roam comfortably through the towns and communities, and they have intensified their threats against the leadership of social leaders, human rights defenders, and campesino farmers. It seems that we are going back in time, to those eras of raw violence, which, at one point, it seemed that we were overcoming. But the reality is another story. Today, for example, El Guayabo, one of the campesino communities that CPT Colombia has been accompanying for more than 11 years, is facing this escalation of excessive violence, and there is no longer any safe place.

Therefore, we want to extend our prayers and thoughts to all the peasant communities that face fears of not being able to continue cultivating the land, the fear of having to leave their homes or even the terror of never seeing their loved ones again. We pray for the peasant families of El Guayabo and Colombia so that they can receive the necessary protection, so that their stories may be about sunny days, days spent cultivating the land and chatting under an old mango tree. Like this, just like this, for a dignified life for everyone.

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