• “As women we declare ourselves political subjects”

    By on November 25, 2016

    Marylen Serna, national spokesperson for the Congreso de los Pueblos and Sonia Nevado, regional spokesperson for Marcha Patriotica read the event’s Declaration of the Women’s Gathering: Memory and Territorial Agenda for Peace. Photo: Caldwell Manners

    Over 300 women from the northeast and middle Magdalena regions gathered over two days, on November 10 and 11 to develop a proposal on their role and demands in a post-agreement Colombia. Women have been the primary victims of these last five decades of war but have also been protagonists in successfully lobbying for a negotiated end to the 52 year conflict between the FARC-EP and the Colombian state. 
  • Celebrating the voice of women!

    By on August 18, 2016

    Celebrating the voice of women!

    ” … Since the government of Belisario Betancur in 1982 up to the current peace process with President Santos, 61 documents have been signed that establish pacts between the government and armed groups – some of which were part of peace processes – where women on both sides have only managed an average participation of about 3.6% as part of the direct negotiation teams.”

    It is a sad context and reality in which we are living in the world today in 2016. Many times we believe that we are more advanced as a society and we often look back at ancient societies as backward for having acted a certain way or having certain beliefs.

  • Shots Fired in El Guayabo

    By on October 30, 2015

    Eric Payeres (behind) presents Guayabo’s case to the Governor of Santander (middle).

    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.

  • For how long will this war go on?

    By on May 8, 2015
    It is not the same thing, having land and a safe place to live, and being forced to flee to a dirty and dangerous city–a place you did not choose.

    How can a campesino continue to be a campesino far from her or his land? How can one still be a farmer amidst the  pain and anguish of a city? How can one be a campesino among paramilitaries, guerrillas and the army?

    In Micoahumado (a small town located in the southern Bolivar province) we witness a reality very different from the official one. The government portrays the campesinos as guerrilla members.

  • In Divine Mathematics 14 Can Become 16. Or More!

    By on April 30, 2015
    Agroup of 13 women from different Christian churches and organizations working in human rights and peacebuilding in Colombia joined a Christian Peacemaker Teams’ (CPT) delegation during Easter Week of 2015. This delegation focused on the accompaniment of the campesino community of El Guayabo, part of the municipality of Puerto Wilches, Santander, Colombia.

    This community is comprised of approximately 250 families who have lived in the region on the banks of the Magdalena River for more than 28 years. Since 2002 they have struggled for their right to remain in the territory, resisting unlawful eviction on the part of the national police and military forces who have conspired and aligned themselves with a man who declared himself owner and inheritor of these lands, without ever having lived there.

  • Colombians March for Justice, Peace – and a New Deal

    By on April 27, 2015
    On April 9th thousands of Colombians participated in marches for peace in major cities across Colombia1. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), along with our local partners, participated in the one in Bogotá and the one in Medellin. In addition to these two marches many of our local partners from Barrancabermeja and Guayabo also participated in the march in Bucaramanga, Santander.

    The date of the march, April 9th, is significant because it commemorates the day in which Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, a populist leader and Liberal Party candidate was assassinated (April 9th, 1948). Gaitán had previously been the mayor of Bogota and at the time of his assassination seemed poised to win the presidential elections, based on his platform of non-violent solutions to the conflict in Colombia.

  • El Guayabo Demands Armed Men Leave Community

    By on December 16, 2014
    After a week of confrontations between the El Guayabo community members and armed men installed by Rodrigo Lopez Henao Henry Rincón’s property, Lopez’s men have left the land.  Riot police illegally evicted Rincón from the property in October at the bidding of Lopez.

    When CPT arrived at El Guayabo on 31 November, the military was camped at the town’s port.  On 1 December, the military came to investigate the situation on the farm, having heard reports that there were firearms in the vicinity, but they did not act.  Their visit left the community disappointed and wary of the military’s position.  

  • 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.
  • In-Spite of Everything, A Smile

    By on October 3, 2014
    It had rained all morning and was very cool.  As we arrived at the meeting with the people of Bella Union, a neighbouring village to El Guayabo, I saw a woman sitting under a green tree with a big smile on her face. I immediately thought it would be interesting to know more about her.

    We started our work. The task was very specific – to document cases of human rights violations from 1990 to 2014. Soon it was time for the woman with the beautiful smile to share.  I thought it would be the only opportunity to learn more about her than just her name.

  • Las Pavas Denounces Acts of Agression

    By on August 8, 2014
    On August 4th, the community of Las Pavas publicly denounced constant aggressions committed by the palm company Aportes San Isidro and the lack of government response regarding the actions of this company.  The community, to whom the government has allocated the Las Pavas farm (2012) and who are legally recognized as having been displaced by paramilitaries in 2003 (2013), continue to be affected by the palm company’s disregard for the legal system.  Aportes San Isidro has committed various attacks against the community which generate terror, despair, and social breakdown in the community.  The community of Las Pavas also denounces the lack of guarantees from the State, to whom they have reported many times their vulnerable situation and the violence enacted against their members.