Colombia Project

About CPT Colombia

We accompany community processes and grassroots organizations who embody nonviolent resistance as a tool of defense against the violent framework that dominates politics, economics, and culture.

The Colombian people continue to suffer a widespread threat of violence from legal and illegal armed actors after more than 60 years of internal conflict and civil war. Since the mid-50s, social movements that challenge the power structures have been specifically targeted and suppressed by the government.

Our team travels regularly to be present with small farming and mining communities in the rural areas of the Magdalena Medio region, caught in the crossfires of decades of war and more recently, hyper-development. In the city of Barrancabermeja, we also partner with local human rights organizations in their efforts to highlight the effects of a conflict that has permeated the urban social structures through organized crime, micro-trafficking and displacement from rural areas.

Our call to peacemaking means living, working, and worshiping in community, drawing from a variety of spiritual traditions that ground us in a common goal for peace.

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COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Justice favors the powerful


It was my second accompaniment since I began work in Colombia. Tito had been on the receiving end of a severe beating two years ago and was headed down the river to El Peñon for a court hearing of his case. As we settled into the community boat that would take us to El Peñon, an hour and a half away, Pierre filled me in on Tito’s case with the comment, “It’s crazy, really. If it was Tito who beat them up, he’d already have been tried and sentenced.”

As much as I know that this is true, and accepted it as he said it, a little piece of me still felt surprised. Why should this be true? When I consider the principle of the law, everything feels clear cut to me. If one person assaults another, the perpetrator must face the legal consequences of those actions, regardless of who they are. Why should the process change, become longer or shorter or more or less vigorous? The law is clear: physically and violently assaulting someone is wrong. Why, if this were Canada…

And it is this thought that stops me in my tracks, because I know that the reality of a broken justice system is true both here in Colombia and in my own country. The law favours certain people in both places. It favours the influential, the rich, those with resources.  Above all, it favours the powerful, be it power of connections, money or skin colour.

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 18, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, February 18, 2015

Pray for Las Pavas community in Colombia. Pray for the land and crops of these campesinos (farmers) that are under the threat of Aportes San Isidro palm oil company. The company has installed fences within the campesinos land, creating physical obstacles that impede their access their own lands. Pray that the Collective Reparation Process that the Colombian government has offered this community as a way to compensate victims of the armed conflict becomes an immediate reality. Pray for the campesinos that work the land and allow us to have food on our tables.  

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Photo: Aportes San Isidro palm oil company has installed this gate five times, even after municipal authorities have declared illegal and removed it. Somehow, the gate has been put back time after time. Follow this link to learn more about this situation

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (Luke 8:15)


COLOMBIA: El Guayabo demands that armed men leave their community

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Community members retake possession of
Rincón's property

After a week of confrontations between the El Guayabo community members and armed men installed by Rodrigo Lopez Henao on Henry Rincón’s property, Lopez’s men have left the land.  Riot police illegally evicted Rincón from the property in October at the bidding of Lopez.

When CPT arrived at El Guayabo on 31 November, the military was camped at the town’s port.  On 1 December, the military came to investigate the situation on the farm, having heard reports that there were firearms in the vicinity, but they did not act.  Their visit left the community disappointed and wary of the military’s position.  In the evening, Lopez sent in extra men to guard the house, leaving a total of ten guards on the property.

Prayers for Peacemakers December 3, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers December 3, 2014

Pray for the community of El Guayabo, who are feeling discouraged that the Colombian authorities appear to be taking no action to address the illegal eviction of October 29, 2014 when riot police removed the community's school teacher from his home. The powerful landowner Rodrigo Lopez Henao who took control of the house added additional armed men to guard it on Tuesday evening.

 Epixel for Sunday, December 7, 2014
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his
 people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may
 dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss
 each other.
Psalm 85:8-10
 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  
Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: Treasure in Ferguson, Colombia, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turtle Island

Since a St. Louis, Missouri prosecutor and Grand Jury have determined that Police Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown did not merit a trial, I have been busy tweeting #Ferguson on the Christian Peacemaker Team Twitter account.  Those tweets have been getting a lot of retweets.  We have no people working in Ferguson and I have asked myself why I am inundating the account. 

I think it has to do with the disposability of human life, with the contempt shown to Michael Brown when the authorities left his body in the street for four and a half hours and did not bother interviewing key witnesses to the shooting for weeks (until there was a public outcry.)  That contempt connected directly with our work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with indigenous communities in North America, and with migrants in Europe.  In all these cases, people in power have deemed the people we work with disposable. 

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Title Start: End:
Colombia Delegation: The Phenomenon of Land-Grabbing Sat, 07/16/2016 Sat, 07/30/2016
Colombia Delegation: Conflict, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Sat, 09/10/2016 Sat, 09/24/2016

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