Earlier today, Eric Payares, a leader of the Guayabo land process along with three other community members heard shots coming from the direction of the neighboring plot currently occupied by armed men working for Rodrigo Henao.
“They’re attacking us once again,” Payares said “this time they’re firing shots at us.” Over the last year since the eviction on October 29, 2014, this five hectare plot of land has been a location of continual attacks. Two days ago, similar to numerous previous occasions, fence wiring was cut by Henao’s men and cattle allowed to enter and graze on Payares’s crops.
In his famous address at Mennonite World Conference, Ron Sider described Shalom as “being in right relationship with God, neighbor and the earth.” Shalom, he says, “means not only the absence of war, but also a land flowing with milk and honey. It includes just economic relationships with the neighbor. It means the fair division of land so that all families can earn their own way. It also means the Jubilee and sabbatical release of debts so that great extremes of wealth and poverty do not develop among God’s people.”1
When I walk through the community of El Guayabo on a peaceful day, Shalom is what I see.