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 worldâ€™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.