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COLOMBIA: How you can support the participants in the Colombian National Strike

The Colombian national strike is now in its second week and has shut down three highways, but President Santos until two nights ago refused to acknowledge its existence.  Police brutality against the demonstrators has increased to the extent that the Director of National Police, General Rodolfo Palomino, has promised an inquiry.  Many voices have spoken; those in power have heard some and ignored others.  One voice we would like to highlight is that of Archbishop of Tunja, Msgr. Luis Augusto Castro, whose pastoral voice invited a calm and a just response to the strikers’ demands from the government.

An invitation to President Santos by Msgr. LuĂ­s Augusto Castro, Archbishop of Tunja
Click here to watch the Video
  photo: cambio.com.co

The government's choice to avoid negotiations and use violence to clamp down on the people’s right to protest is a cause for concern.  Support the farmers’ strike by this signing this petition urging President Santos to negotiate with an open mind, and urging those in power to lead this country from injustice to justice. 

Show your support of the farmers strike by making a sign "YO APOYO EL PARO AGARARIO" (I support the Farmers Strike).  Include your location and send it out on Facebook and Twitter using:

  1. Use #yoapoyoelparoagrario on twitter and facebook
  2. Tag on us facebook (use the name Christian Peacemaker Teams - Colombia in a comment or "Share" one of the team's posts on the strike)
  3. Tag us on twitter: @cptco

Or, email us your photo

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 August 2013



Epixel* for 1 September 2013






Striking Colombian Farmers protesting
Free Trade Agreement
l. Firing Zone 918, r. Rajabi Building


The Lord overthrows the thrones of
rulers, and enthrones the lowly in their place
.

The Lord plucks up the roots of the
nations, and plants the humble
in their place.
Sirach 10:14-15




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

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 August 2013

Pray that the Israeli High Court will render just decisions on 2 September 2013 when it decides whether the Israeli military can evict hundreds of families from their homes in the South Hebron Hills, and whether settlers can take over the Rajabi building in Hebron.

Related Story: PALESTINE URGENT ACTION: 2 Campaigns, 2 Petitions, 2 September 2013

Pray also for the nation of Colombia as a strike by small farmers, miners, the indigenous, truckers, teachers, and healthcare workers demanding the rights guaranteed them under the Colombian constitution enters its second week.

Related Story: COLOMBIA: National Strike participants seek recognition as full citizens

COLOMBIA ANALYSIS: A short primer on the national strike

 

 
 Protests in Sincelejo (Photo: Marcha Patriotica)

 Beginning on Monday, 19 August, broad sectors of Colombian society rose up in a national strike.  The strike, which is now taking place in cities and rural areas across the country, includes coffee growers’ unions, truck drivers, small-scale miners, students, teachers, health workers, farmers, and fishermen.  CPT has had a presence at the strikes and roadblocks taking place in Segovia and Remedios, in northeastern Antioquia.  What follows is a short primer on why Colombians are striking, the historical context of these demonstrations, and what the demonstrators have demanded from the State.

 Colombia is a country deeply divided by economic inequality.  Almost half of all rural Colombians live in extreme poverty, defined as subsisting on less than $1.00 a day.  Colombia is also home to five million internally displaced people, a number on par globally only with the Sudan.  That adds up to one in ten Colombians, displaced within the last twelve years to refugee camps, shantytowns, and temporary shelters.  Women, Afro-descendants, and indigenous peoples are more likely than others to be displaced.

COLOMBIA: National Strike participants seek recognition as full citizens

On Sunday, 18 August, young men and women from rural areas in the department of Antioquia took to the streets of Segovia municipality to express their frustration at a system that has abandoned them to live in desperate conditions.

This action is part of a larger national protest.  All over Colombia, small farmers, miners, the indigenous, truckers, teachers, and healthcare workers are crying out that they are tired of the conditions the Colombian government has asked them to endure in order to join the wider world economy.




Segovia Coliseum

On 17 August, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) arrived in Segovia to accompany 2000 small farmers, miners and indigenous peoples joining the national strike set to start on the 19th.  Children, women, and men pitched their tents inside the local coliseum determined, despite close quarters, to remain there until the government agrees to negotiate with them.  CPT partner CAHUCOPANA and organizer of the Segovia strike, declared the coliseum a Humanitarian Refuge—an area protected under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in which no arms are allowed and which guarantees the protection of those residing within.  The organizers set up the Humanitarian Refuge to prevent armed actors, particularly law enforcement, from laying siege to the encampment in order to shut down the demonstrations.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 16 August 2013

 Epixel* for 18 August 2013
 

 Therefore, since we are
surrounded by so great a
cloud of witnesses, let us
also
lay aside every weight,
and sin which clings so closely,
and let us run with endurance
the race that is set before us,
 looking
to Jesus, the founder
and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 12: 1-2a

 
  

Prayers for Peacemakers, 16 August 2013


Give thanks that Colombian authorities have revoked the right of Aportes San Isidro SA Security Guards to carry weapons because of their violent attacks on the people of Las Pavas. 

Pray that the local police, who have not protected the Las Pavas community in the past, will enforce the court’s decision

Related story:COLOMBIA: Good news for Las Pavas! Government revokes gun permits for Aportes San Isidro security guards.