Recent CPTnet stories

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 5, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 5, 2014

Pray for the community of Guayabo, Colombia, which successfully resisted an eviction in November, but still fears the intervention of illegal outside armed actors.

Erik Yesid Payares, 32, a leader for the community of Guayabo, asked CPT’s Colombia team to publicize the following request this week:  “It is important to us that this problem is made known.  We are humble people of peace and small farmers.  We live in a critical situation under threat.  We ask that you help us and not abandon us.”’

 

Epixel* for 9 March 2014

if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.
Isaiah 58:10

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

COLOMBIA: Displaced leader returns to community

On Friday January 10th, Salvador Alcántara, pastor and leader for the community of El Garzal and Nueva Esperanza, and his family returned to their home.  Paramilitary threats forced pastor Salvador and his family to leave El Garzal in June of 2013.

After 7 difficult months away from family and church community, Salvador glowed with joy as he and his family unloaded boxes and swept away cobwebs.  “I am thrilled to be home” he said over dinner with his children and grandchildren,  “now I really feel free”

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: A Christmas Vigil in El Garzal

Vigil at El Garzal

It was a Christmas perhaps more akin to that first one in Bethlehem than the ones I am used to in Canada. No fancy lights—no electricity except for a diesel generator that gets used occasionally at night. No Christmas tree, nor gifts under it. No alcohol. No turkey. And, thankfully, without the cacophony of extremely loud music around our house here in Barrancabermeja, where neighbours set up humongous competing sound systems in front of their houses to celebrate the season.

Our main reason for visiting was to accompany Garzal's twice-displaced leader and pastor, Reverend Salvador Alcántara and his family, so they could spend Christmas with family and loved ones in Garzal. Salvador and his family had to leave the area again last May because of death threats. They miss Garzal very very much! Salvador described the feeling of being back, albeit for only three days, as like being re-born.

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Something Beautiful in Barranca

CPTnet
13 December 2013
COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Something Beautiful in Barranca

by Hannah Redekop

 

  

CPTers Pierre Shantz, Vania and Hannah Redekop cheering at the Women's World Futsal Championships in Barrancabermaja. 

Barrancabermeja (or Barranca, as the locals call it) perches on the banks of the Magdalena River, one more port along the journey north from the mountains of Neiva to the Caribbean Sea.  She is a small, sleepy oil town that sizzles with tropical sunbeams and an uncivil war tied to the petroleum that pumps under her skin.  

There isn’t much excitement here most days. The city lacks cultural attractions, good entertainment, pulsing night-life—anything at all, really, to warrant a stroll downtown.  But the first week of November proved otherwise.

COLOMBIA: El Guayabo Celebrates!


The small Colombian community of El Guayabo, supported by neighboring communities, resisted an eviction on Tuesday 19 November that Police Inspector Leonel Gutierrez Lagares ordered.  Had it succeeded, the eviction would have displaced the community’s teacher from land that has served as his livelihood for the past twenty-five years.

The 19 November eviction order is the third in a series of attempts to evict the El Guayabo community from the contested land on claims that the community belongs to the guerilla movement.  Regional courts postponed the first two eviction orders that occurred in October, hours after the community filed injunctions.

The community celebrated with tears of joy as the police decided not carry through with the eviction because large numbers of community members were present, including families with children, and a cadre of community lawyers.  However, El Guayabo remains quite anxious about the possible intervention of illegal armed actors.  A community leader referenced the paramilitary presence in the town in 2002 as a source of their fear.  When CPT visited El Guayabo, the leaders spoke of the history of violence in their community and signaled across the street from the church to the place where the paramilitaries had assassinated community members.

CPT Colombia has been following the situation in El Guayabo for the past couple of months through a connection with one of our partners.  We pray for a just outcome from the legal process and for peace in the hearts of the community as they endure a difficult time of uncertainty and threat.

With more volunteers, CPT’s Colombia team could expand its accompaniment work to include other communities like El Guayabo that are choosing to resist economic and political interests trying to drive them off their lands and paramilitary death threats.  You, too, can accompany communities like El Guayabo by giving generously.

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