• ‘It was a very sad day’

    By on October 19, 2016

    Photo by Marian DeCouto

    On Monday, September 26, 2016, I flew from Canada back to Colombia more excited than usual. After four years of negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Colombia had finally reached a deal, which they would officially ratify that very day.

    As I began boarding the plane I saw a cameraman from the CBC news, and my heart fluttered with expectation. Upon landing in Bogotá, I could feel the energy buzzing through the exceptionally long line at customs. I quickly ran downtown to catch the festivities in the main square. Although the official signing was taking place in Cartagena, a historic walled city on the Caribbean coast where Colombia gained its independence, there were tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital to watch the live feed on big screens set up in the square.

  • Colombia Rejects Peace Deal. Why and What Next?

    By on October 7, 2016

    A woman looks for her identification number on a chart at a local voting station. (Photo: Caldwell Manners)

    Five days have passed since the October 2nd referendum when 6,431,376 Colombians voted to reject the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP). The slim win of the “No” vote, by a margin of 54,000 votes, leaves the country in a highly polarized state.

    On September 26 with the whole world watching, President Juan Manuel Santos quoted the national anthem, “The horrible night has ceased,” after signing the 297 page peace agreement with the FARC.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams Celebrate: “Peace is Possible.”

    By on August 29, 2016
    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. – John 14:27 

    Today is the day. The war with FARC-EP has ended. Peace is possible.

    On Thursday, August 25th, The Colombia Government and FARC-EP announced that they have reached a peace agreement. After over fifty years of armed conflict, they lay down their weapons in an indefinite cease-fire. Generations of Colombians that have only known war will now be given the opportunity to live in peace.    

  • Prospects for Peace in Colombia

    By on June 5, 2016

    Members of the Union Patriotica chant slogans in Medellin on the Day of Memory and Solidarity with the Victims of the Armed Conflict, April 9, 2015. 3000 members of this political wing of the FARC-EP formed during the 1985 peace talks were killed, decimating any possibility of political participation for the guerrillas. Photo: Caldwell Manners

    How one views the prospects for peace in Colombia depends on how one understands the conflict and how one defines peace. There are many different stakeholders, each with competing and often conflicting interests.

    The ongoing peace negotiations with the Colombian Government and left-wing FARC guerrilla insurgents in Havana, along with a more recent government commitment to enter into a separate talks with the ELN insurgents in Ecuador, are being celebrated both nationally and internationally as the imminent end to the fifty-year conflict in Colombia.

  • Sign the Petition: Flood the US Congress with letters of Peace in Support of Colombia!

    By on May 19, 2016

    Members of the community El Guayabo and El Garzal demonstrate in front of the Palace of Justice, Barrancabermeja on May 4, 2016. They had gathered to support Alvaro García, a El Guayabo community member who was recently arrested. Photo: Caldwell Manners

    Days of Prayer and Action | Building Peace from the Ground Up

    Send your members of the House and Senate an email laying out eight ways the U.S. Congress can support peace and respect human rights in Colombia. Just enter your zip code below to use our quick and easy email form!

    Each year, grassroots advocates across the United States and Colombia raise up their voices and call for peace during the Days of Prayer and Action for Peace in Colombia.

  • The Northeast Trail: A travel blog

    By on February 18, 2016

    In October 2015 two CPTers traveled with our partners CAHUCOPANA across the Northeast region of Antioquia on a nine day tour, immersing ourselves CAHUCOPANA’s rigorous daily schedule of workshops, meetings, and lots of travel. The ‘Northeast’, as they refer to it, is a region rich in resources and biodiversity where rolling hills of untouched jungle give way to small communities etched into the landscape, often only accessible by mule or on foot.  Unfortunately the region also has a history of displacement and human rights abuses as a result of a lack of state involvement. One of CAHUCOPANA’s initiatives in response to this abandonment is the fomentation of women’s activism in the region, by the name of Women’s Humanitarian Action Committees.  

  • The Magdalena

    By on November 13, 2014
    Mary Magdalene is one of the most controversial and mysterious Biblical characters. She often gets a ‘bad rap’. Pegged as a prostitute and temptress by Pope Gregory I, her reputation remained tarnished for around 7 centuries before Biblical scholars redeemed her by untangling the three women whose stories Gregory had merged. It was not until 1280 that she was recognized as a leader, and canonized by several different church denominations. Though we know very little about her life, we do know that she was a person of importance to Jesus. He used his gifts to cast seven demons out of her, and chose her to be one of the first people to see him after the resurrection.
  • “Documentary 9.70”

    By on October 25, 2013

    “9.70 documentary” tells the story of a group of farmers from which the Colombian Government seized and destroyed 70 tons of rice.

    In a very short amount of time, the Colombian government approved a series of laws and resolutions in order to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States as quickly as possible. One of the conditions set by the US was to create a legislation for the ‘privatization’ of seeds.

    The documentary examines the impact caused by these decisions, exemplifying them by using the case of Campoalegre, a southern Colombian town where the resolution was set in motion.