Recent CPTnet stories

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.

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

he Superintendencia de Vigilancia y Seguridad Privada (The Superintendent of Vigilance and Private Security), the government institution that regulates surveillance and grants firearms licenses for private security firms has revoked Aportes San Isidro SA’s license, stripping the right of the corporation’s private guards to bear arms.




Razed plantain field  

Since mid 2011, under the leadership of Mario Marmol, the head of security for palm company Aportes San Isidro SA and company lawyer Danilo Palacio, the campesino community of Las Pavas has suffered many incidents of harassment and injury by the company’s armed security.

The presence of armed men on the farm has created an overall insecure work environment for community members who spend much of their day in pairs or alone working the land.  The community’s animals and food crops have been destroyed and killed, their ranchos have been torn down, and members of the community have been shot at and attacked. These acts of intimidation and terrorism have not only threatened the community’s food security but have created a climate of forced displacement, an experience etched deep in the historical memory of the community.  The violence perpetrated by the company’s thugs has increased in proportion to the legal decisions ruled in favor of the community.

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Secretary Kerry--Put human rights at the top of your agenda!

From our friends at Latin America Working Group:

You might get the impression from reading the news that everything is much better in Colombia. But what we hear from the ground is that human rights defenders, land rights leaders, union activists, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities all remain in danger. And justice is still in peril. 

So as Secretary Kerry makes his first trip to Colombia as head of the State Department this Sunday, let’s give him a piece of our minds and make sure peace, human rights and justice are brought to the forefront of his agenda.

Click here to ask Secretary Kerry to support peace and reinforce human rights in his visit to Colombia! 

CHICAGO: Public witness calls for protecting Las Pavas, Colombia farmers from corporate aggression

 

 Passersby watch dramatization of palm oil company pushing Colombian farmers off their land - Colombian Consulate, Chicago
 Passersby watch dramatization of palm oil
company pushing Colombian farmers off their
land - Colombian Consulate, Chicago

On Friday, 26 July, CPTers and supporters took to the streets of Chicago calling for an end to violence against the community of Las Pavas, Colombia. Donning cardboard palm trees and straw hats, participants dramatized palm oil producer Aportes San Isidro’s acts of aggression towards the subsistence farmers of Las Pavas.  

In recent months, the company’s armed security guards have destroyed crops, damaged farm equipment, fire bombed homes and buildings, killed animals, threatened people at gunpoint, and brutally attacked one community member with a machete.  Despite government orders granting the land to the Las Pavas community, Colombian police have done nothing to stop the company’s attacks and encroachment upon Las Pavas territory.

“We are calling on the Colombian government to protect the families of Las Pavas,” said Cass Bangay of Ontario, Canada in front of the Colombian Consulate in downtown Chicago.  She went on to read from a series of testimonies by Las Pavas community members: “Roberto Puerta Peña, father of six says, ‘I’m trying to make a good life for my family here on the farm, but I haven’t achieved that yet.  The violent harassment from the palm company is really hard.  One time they held a gun fifteen centimeters from my head.  Then they threatened to hurt my family.’”  A small delegation delivered a letter to the Consul General along with a small palm tree and images and testimonies from the Las Pavas community symbolizing the group’s concerns.