The small Colombian community of El Guayabo, supported by neighboring communities, resisted an eviction on Tuesday, November 19th, that Police Inspector Leonel Gutierrez Lagares ordered, which had it succeeded would have displaced the community’s teacher from land that has served as his livelihood for the past 25 years.
The November 19th 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 would assassinate 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.