Archive - oct 9, 2008

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Snapshots of San Pedro Frio, “the world we were made for.”

Just getting to San Pedro, a small mining town in the San Lucas Mountains, is a challenge.  My teammates and I begin with a three-hour chalupa ride on the Magdalena Medio River.  This small boat functions as a bus service between river towns, so along the way we pick up passengers, produce, and a live pig in a sack.  We then take a half-hour taxi trip to Santa Rosa, a small city in the foothills.  From there, we travel into the mountains by van.  The road ends at La Y, so named for the fork in the road.  We learn that the dirt road to San Pedro Frio is dry enough to walk, but I slip into a mud-hole.  The thick red muck traps my boot and it takes two of us to pull it out.  We’re also gaining altitude, so most of the time we are heaving ourselves up as well as through the mud.  But when we arrive at San Pedro Frio, the view is breath-taking, a light veil of mist weaving in and out of layers of mountains.  I feel I’ve arrived in a mythical pueblo out of the Colombian novel, A Hundred Years of Solitude…

RAPID LAKE, QUEBEC: Government responds to Algonquin demands with police violence

At 5:30 a.m., on 6 October 2008, seventy-five members of the Barrière Lake Algonquin First Nations (BLAFN) along with twenty non-native supporters set up a nonviolent blockade on Hwy 117, approximately 300 km north of Ottawa/Gatineau.  The Algonquins were calling on the federal and provincial governments to honour a resource-sharing agreement signed twenty years ago, and to respect their customary governance structures.  They dragged logs across the highway, and set up ‘lockboxes’: cement-filled barrels designed to allow individuals to insert their arms so that the authorities cannot easily pull people participating in a public witness away from a site.  Three members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were present as human rights observers.