It’s interesting and sometimes scary to realize how we can organize and prepare for the future, and things still may not go as planned. These last months in Colombia, for the communities of Guayabo and Bella Unión, and for the human rights organizations in Barrancabermeja, showed us how we are often not prepared for what is to come although we believe we are.
As I have already told here, the community of El Guayabo has been going through one of the most difficult moments since Rodrigo appeared and started a dispute for their lands. Six months ago, community leaders in El Guayabo and Bella Union, due to false accusations of possession of weapons, personal injury, and conspiracy to commit crime, had to stay away from their homes and families in order to avoid capture and possible arrest, as happened with another leader Alvaro Garcia.
Finally, on the morning of October 25th, Erik Payares, Jhon Fredy Ortega and Santos Peña surrendered themselves to Barrancabermeja’s prosecutor’s office, defending their innocence against the made accusations. All of the charges, except conspiracy to commit crime, were withdrawn. The judge granted provisional release, as they were not considered a risk to the community and had demonstrated intentions to cooperate with the investigation. This was better than they could imagine.
ECAP hosted the leaders, wives, and many members of Barrancabermeja human rights organizations for a big lunch. Later, a large caravan left to Guayabo, where they were these leaders welcomed by over 200 people with banners and tears.
As I said, the last month has not been easy for Colombia, which has had a negative response from its population towards the peace accords. I have seen a lot of tears and lack of hope from my Colombian friends. I also saw the sadness and disappointment when Álvaro’s audience was postponed once more: more time away from his family, more time of injustice, more pain!
After all, as it was the case with our dear leaders, sometimes there is also good news: freedom, a vote of confidence, and hope that all is not lost.
“To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.”
Proverbs 16: 1