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: 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. 

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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.
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