Prayers for Peacemakers, 31 January 2018 Colombia
Pray for the sustained courage and creativity of Colombian communities who assume risk and judicial persecution for taking bold and direct actions that speak truth to power.
Land inequality is at the center of the Colombian conflict. According to Oxfam’s latest report, 99% of the population uses 20% of land, while the elite 1% controls 80%. These historical patterns of forced displacement and land control via the use of illegal armed groups or corrupt government mechanisms have solidified the lack of access to land for the poorest, most disenfranchised Colombians.
Running parallel to these statistics of structural violence are stories of bold nonviolent direct actions. The farming communities Las Pavas and El Guayabo, both accompanied by CPT Colombia have taken direct actions to highlight the government’s abandonment of their legal processes and to demand immediate action. Farmers in Las Pavas have begun to open up pathways to their farms from which they were displaced in 2012. In years past, they kept these paths hidden in an effort evade hostile attacks by armed security of palm oil company, Aportes San Isidro. On 12 January, the farmers of El Guayabo took a political action by taking back control of the 85 hectares of land from which they were evicted on December 13, 2017. Their act was not an act of vengeance against the land claimant, but a statement to call attention to the state. The farmers ask, “With advances in agrarian reform made during the peace agreement between the FARC and the government, how is it possible for the government to evict nine families for the benefit of one person?”
|A home and a plantain plantation destroyed during the 13 December 2017 eviction in El Guayabo. Photo: Caldwell Manners|