Libertad and Pichilín
Two amazing communities that were forged by hope and the will to live; communities that fight against being forgotten and towards rebuilding what the war took from them; communities that although wounded do not stop bleeding because of the neglect by the state and the lack of interest from the authorities; communities that fight for recognition and that amid tears continue to find faith and the strength to say, “Here we are and here we stay.”
In the region where I work with CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams)[i], there are communidades that non-violently resist giving up their land and being killed by legal and illegal armed actors. In the case of Las Pavas, a palm oil business wants to dry up the land by planting palms in places where farming families cultivate food to feed this country. Their resistence is a battle against death and being forgotten; it is the need to recover everything that was taken from them by the violence.
Libertad, Pichilín, and Las Pavas are not resisting because of a thirst for money; they resist because they were born, their children were born and their grandchildren will be born on this land. They fight for the hope that future generations will inherit the land; they fight because they hope that someday rural life will regain the importance that it truly has; they fight so that their story will be recognized and their dead remembered.
Meeting these communities and hearing their stories reminds us of what our commitment with God is and how he calls us to be salt and light in the world. I want to close by saying that for Eugenio from Las Pavas, meeting the people of Libertad and Pichilín was not only a visit to other communities, it was also a process of transformation where he and I realized the importance of resistance. It doesn’t matter if you are from the Sur de Bolívar o from Surcre or from Magdalena Medio, everyone has a path that we should not forget, and that to fight against forgetting this past is to remember Libertad and Pichilín as examples of overcoming.
Thanks to God and to MCC for the experience…Eugenio, Las Pavas, Sur de Bolívar
Translated by Amy Eanes