Colombia

COLOMBIA: Palm oil company attacks and intimidates Las Pavas community members

 

Burned house and kitchen | Photo: Marian DeCouto

Palm oil company Aportes San Isidro continues to harass and threaten the community of Las Pavas in 2016.  The farming community’s association ASOCAB continues to denounce these aggressions to no avail.  Even though judicial and administrative decisions have appeared to favour the community, the reality on the ground remains the same.  For this reason ASOCAB has published a public complaint against the company regarding the most recent events in hopes that the authorities will put an end to the impunity.

ASOCAB demands that the government “investigate and sanction those responsible, both the owner as well as the security guards, who are blatantly violating our fundamental rights and liberties.”  The community also asks that the government to guarantee their safety and to follow through with the allocation and titling of the Las Pavas land that the National Institute of Rural Development (INCODER) has deemed state land.

 A summary of the most recent incidents is as follows:

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 24, 2016

We give thanks for the members of the 2016 Holy Week delegation, a national delegation arranged by CPT Colombia. Pray for their safe travel, for group cohesion and effective engagement as they learn about the work of CAHUCOPANA.

This Holy Week, join your prayers with peacemakers across the globe as we remember the journey of Jesus and his friends to Jerusalem, the terrible events that took place there, and the good news that we have heard ever since.

Epixil* for March 27, 2016 Easter Sunday 
Holy Week Delegation
Members of the Colombian National Holy Week Delegation
They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
Isaiah 65:21-25

They will build houses and dwell in them;
    they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
    or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
    so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
    the work of their hands.
They will not labor in vain,
    nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
    they and their descendants with them.
Before they call I will answer;
    while they are still speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
    and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.

Isaiah 65:21-25

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: Public Declaration issued by CAHUCOPANA regarding the persecution of Carlos Usaga

CPTnet
March 21, 2016
COLOMBIA: Public Declaration issued by CAHUCOPANA regarding the persecution of Carlos Usaga 

 

The Corporation for Humanitarian Action, Cohabitation, and Peace in Northeast Antioquia – CAHUCOPANA – denounces the persecution and intimidation of Carlos Alfredo Palacios Usuga, member of the Board of Directors of CAHUCOPANA.  The incident, carried out by unidentified men, took place in the municipality of Remedios, department of Antioquia.

Incident

On March 2 of this year, Carlos Palacios was running errands in the urban centers of the municipalities of Segovia and Remedios, preparing later to travel to the rural sectors of these municipalities.

At approximately 11:00 am Carlos left the City Hall of Remedios, where he had been processing paperwork for a regional development project, and headed to the office of the Campesino Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) located in the same municipality, when he realized an unknown subject had followed him. Without giving it much thought, he then went to a restaurant for lunch, then to a hairdresser, and finally back to City Hall.

During his route, the subject followed Carlos and waited outside each establishment until he left. At 4:00 pm outside of City Hall, a blue and black motorcycle picked up the olive-skinned man, who was wearing jeans, a white and orange striped shirt, and white and black tennis shoes. However, before leaving he took a picture of Carlos with his cell phone.

COLOMBIA: The Northeast Trail--a travel blog


COLOMBIA: The Northeast Trail--a travel blog

In October 2015 two CPTers traveled with our partners CAHUCOPANA across the Northeast region of Antioquia on a nine-day tour, immersing ourselves CAHUCOPANA’s rigorous daily schedule of workshops, meetings, and lots of travel. The ‘Northeast’, as they refer to it, is a region rich in resources and biodiversity where rolling hills of untouched jungle give way to small communities etched into the landscape, often only accessible by mule or on foot.  Unfortunately the region also has a history of displacement and human rights abuses, because the state does not involve itself in the region. One of CAHUCOPANA’s initiatives in response to this abandonment is the fomentation of women’s activism in the region, by the name of Women’s Humanitarian Action Committees.  Luna and Carlos, CAHUCOPANA field workers in the Remedios municipality and our guides for the week, travel regularly from village to village supporting and organizing the communities in their struggle for justice.  Our objective was to participate in several monthly committee meetings, listening and learning from the women of Northeast Antioquia.  

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 11, 2016

Pray for Carlos Morales, CPT Colombia's partner and friend, who has been unjustly detained for over four months.  Yesterday the judge postponed his hearing on grounds of a medical procedure.  This has become a pattern among cases of human rights defenders and social movement leaders, as a systematic strategy to draw out their cases as a way to prolong their detainment.

February 11, 2016  First Sunday of Lent
Libertad para Carlos Morales
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10: You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."
Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

Psalm 91:1-2, 9-10: You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust."

Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.

 
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: 2016--a pivotal year for Colombia; an awesome year to join a delegation.

A civil war that has spanned over half a century in Colombia may soon end. When the FARC guerrilla members demobilize, civil society has the task of re-integrating these armed actors and building community. The government must follow through on its promises of reparations for the victims if its atrocities, violence and injustices, and guarantees it will not repeat them.

When Colombians speak of peace, the words 'social justice' go right alongside. The community leaders and human rights activists we partner with are very cautious to celebrate this peace deal until the government can prove that the demobilization is only the first of many steps to ensure the multi-faceted wellbeing and human rights of the Colombian population.  

We here at CPT welcome you to partner with us in 2016.  Consider joining one of our delegations to learn more about the work that we do and become a part of the Colombian solidarity movement.  If you cannot come to Colombia this year, encourage a friend who you think would benefit from an experience with CPT.  Or donate today to provide scholarships for individuals who want to participate. 

JOIN A DELEGATION
DONATE

COLOMBIA: Three different places, themes, CPT Colombia delegations for 2016. Sign up now!

Las Pavas community members have been repeatedly displaced from their land over the last twenty years by various different armed actors, the most recent being Aportes San Isidro, a palm oil company.  The palm oil industry is particularly powerful in the region, and uses a private security company to terrorize the community members, slashing their crops, burning down their houses, and poisoning their animals.  Through this example, we will help participants make links between Colombia and the North, as the presence of multinational corporations in Colombia has vastly increased since signing the Free Trade Agreement with Canada, the United States, and various European countries.

Land is a large part of the Colombian civil war, one of the longest in world’s history.  The conflict has resulted in over six million internally displaced people, who are often constantly on the move looking for land to provide for their families.  The majority of these people are peasant farmers, Afro-Colombians, and Indigenous Peoples, whose land is of political and economic interest to the parties of the conflict.  Often large landowners or multinational corporations take over the land and use it for cash crops for export, contributing to a global trend toward food insecurity.

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. 

COLOMBIA: Puerto Berrio--a liturgical action

CPTnet
17 December 2015
COLOMBIA: Puerto Berrio--a liturgical action

Hung around Puerto Berrio’s central plaza were large posters picturing its port, which declared “Puerto Berrio Lives and Dreams,” the theme commemorating the victims of the armed conflict in the region of Puerto Berrio. Survivors of the massacre of the Union Patriotica wore white, and youth from Medellin draped in black performed a drama showing the agony of loss and injustice. Over a hundred participants from the surrounding area gathered to solemnly declare that the lives of the mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, community members, and friends would not slip away unnoticed and invisible.

 

Over the last weekend of November we joined our partners CAHUCOPANA for a two day symbolic event to mourn and demand justice for these victims. This liturgical action by CPTer Jhon Henry Camargo, presented at the event, draws on the parallels of experiences of Jesus and his followers and today's victims of 50 years of armed conflict who challenged the apparatus of violence and death, to continue to live and dream.

 

Please feel free to download or stream this video and screen at your place of gathering. Walk with us year end to support peacemakers in Colombia.

 

For best viewing, watch the video in HD and fullscreen. Non-spanish speakers remember to turn on the subtitles by clicking on "CC"

Puerto Berrio: a liturgical act from CPT/ECAP Colombia on Vimeo.

CPT International: A Call to Tend the Sheep--farewell thoughts from CPT´s Personnel Coordinator


Carrying with me all the privilege that CPT has taught me I cannot leave behind no matter how noble my intentions, I have patiently waited, CPT style, for an invitation to join local initiatives in Paipa, Colombia to transform violence and oppression.

Recently my wife Silvia and I joined a group of people in Paipa interested in creating a cats and dogs´ rescue and adoption center. Paipa is a town of 32000 inhabitants in the heart of the Colombian Andes, where we migrated a couple of years ago escaping the chaos of Bogotá, Colombia´s Capital city.

Adriana in the field and at home in Paipa.

Those of you who follow Colombian current events may recall Paipa as one of the epicenters of a National Campesino strike that shook the nation´s economy in August 2013. Indeed, a huge portion of Paipa´s population grows the food crops that we eat in other parts of the country.

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 2, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, December 2, 2015

Pray for the communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza.  They have petitioned the head of INCODER—the Colombian government agency in charge of rural land management—asking for representatives to visit the area to verify and resolve of the issues surrounding the granting of titles and ownership to land.   INCODER returned sixty-four stolen land titles in 2013, and promised to complete their land process the following year, but the communities continue to wait—and face pressures from powerful people who want their land, and who have corrupt local authorities on their side.

*Epixel for Second Sunday in Advent, December 6, 2015
Campesino from Garzal load plantains onto boat
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, "The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
    'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.


 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight,
    and the rough ways made smooth; 
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'" Luke 3:4-6
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.