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Sharing in Mico

Captain Rodriguez, of the Columbian Army called, roughly, from the door, "Are there some foreigners here?" We three CPTers immediately ended our meal and went to the door and introduced ourselves. Rodriguez told us clearly he was the commander of the army unit stationed on the hill overlooking the town.

Rodriquez said, "I spent a month in Georgia at the School of Americas (SOA), and I found out there is poverty in the USA that I did not expect to see. Not everything is rosy in your country either." We said, "You are right about that." Rodriquez then asked, "Have you participated in the (SOA) protests, and if so, why?" I said I did because of all the documented atrocities of killing and torture that SOA graduates have been involved in, particularly the killing of priests and nuns in El Salvador. Rodriquez responded, "Those were just isolated incidents. When I was there I received no training in torture." I said, "Well, I am glad to hear that."

Rodriquez then brought up, "We are here to protect the people of Micohumado, but they don't appreciate us. They don´t inform us about what is happening." I said, "Now, wait a minute. I asked a half dozen guys, just this morning, what they thought of the army's presence in the village and to my surprise they told me they were very grateful for the army being here. Their presence has reduced the violence. Not long ago the guerrillas and paramilitaries were fighting it out in our streets." I think Rodriquez was surprised at my answer. One of the reasons that people keep quiet is that if people inform the army about illegal armed group activities, it is likely the armed group could retaliate by assassinating the informer.

We asked Rodriquez, "What about the spraying of Roundup on food crops?" Matt said, "What about the fields I have seen of yucca that have been surrounded by jungle? How can they justify that? It is hard for me to believe that is just a mistake." Rodriquez answered, "They are just mistakes. They can´t be accurate all the time." Interestingly, the man accompanying him, Lieutenant Montaña, quietly said, " I must agree with you that the spraying of Roundup is wrong."

Rodriquez also asked, "Were you brought up as a conscientious objectors and to believe in peace?" I answered, "My uncle was forced to dig a hole and told it would be his grave, because they were going to shoot him for refusing to participating in the army during WWI. "

Rodriquez bought us each a pop and Montaña bought us empanadas, which made us CPTers remark later that it was like having communion with them. Our relationship with them changed from somewhat hostile to very friendly, a work of reconciliation in our two hours of sharing.

We ended by praying together for peace for Mico, a common goal. I invite you to say a prayer for peace too.

Jim

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