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Showing posts from June, 2011

They not only had to flee, but they lost everything!

They not only had to flee, but they lost everything! Dear Friends, "Having to flee our land because of fear of getting shot by one of the armed groups has been really hard. We no longer have a way to make money or provide ourselves with food by farming yucca, corn and such. Therefore many of us have had to sell our land to people outside our community to survive. It really has us in a hard spot. When everyone was from the community, if someone from the community had a mango or avocado tree, I could feel free to help myself. We just shared. Now we don´t know our neighbors so we can´t feel free to do that. Because many farmers are not producing the staples we depend on the prices have gone up, which makes it even harder to afford to buy them," explained Alexander of Mompujan. This helped me understand the dilemma farmers were in because of the war. They not only had to flee, but they lost everything. War is awful. As part of the new Victims Law that was just signed by P
Peacemaking via Politics May 25, 2011 foto for letters.jpg Dear Friends, "Roberto, are you running for the city council of Barranca?" I asked. He answered, "Yes." I responded, "How did you come to that?" Roberto's reply: "Barranca is a city of 500,000 that spends millions each year. My presence on the council will help bring transparency and honesty to Barranca. Instead of the money going into the pockets of companies and friends of the powers that be I will help see that more goes for its intended purposes. I think my presence on the council could bring big improvements in schools, health care, and roads. "I have always had an interest in politics, I feel called to give it a try. I was in the election 3 years ago. In the fist count I was winning but in the second count I wasn´t even mentioned. I think this was because I did not have someone there watching the vote count. Another candidate got many of my votes discounted illegally. Thi

God in Colombian Politcs

God in Colombian Politcs Dear friends, Here are some reflections from some conversations with some Colombian friends: People are not black and white the way the world, the movies, and our culture have been telling us. It’s a lie we unconsciously often assume is true. There is good (God created us all and He said it was good) and bad in every one of us. Getting rid of Bin Laden will not make us safer or more secure. Right at the announcement of his death, I thought to myself: “this will only create and raise up even more terrorists.” Obama announced that we need to be on the alert for a reprisal, so we live in even more fear. As the Bible says, overcome evil with good, not hate or evil, and that is the only thing that works. An example of this is when President Santos of Colombia, in the week after the election and to the surprise of everyone, met with Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez to mend the rift that the former Colombian president Uribe had made. This rift inhibite

Great News from Las Pavas!

Great News from Las Pavas! Almost two years after police and military forces evicted the 123 families from the Las Pavas farm, and one month after the community returned to their land, Colombia's highest court has ruled in favor of the community. The ruling states that the eminent domain process initiated by National Institute for Rural Development (INCODER) in 2006 was legal and that the eviction of the families was illegal and therefore the land be returned to the families. The families started farming the land after then owner Jesus Emilio Escobar, said to be uncle of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar abandoned the land in 1997. In 2003, Escobar returned to the land with armed men threatening the families with violence if they didn't leave. In spite of the eminent domain process, Escobar sold the land to two palm companies which in July of 2009 evicted the families with the help of the national police. The Constitutional Courts decision trumps all other lower court

A Moment of Peace in Colombia

A Moment of Peace in Colombia May 5, 2011 Friends, Yesterday I did a presentation at the "Moment for Peace" at the Mennonite Church, which is an outreach to persons who have had to leave their homes because of threats or deaths of family members by paramilitaries, Colombian army, or the guerrillas. Three that I talked to have had to leave their families behind; all had children. Another had all her family killed. She wanted me to help her get to the USA, which I was unable to do. It is almost impossible for this to happen, on account of US government policy. So I ask you to be like Moses, who for 10 times - even though he felt inadequate because he stuttered and thought Pharaoh would not listen - was told by God to go talk to Pharaoh anyway. Remember 600,000 heads of households with their families were freed from slavery as a result. Take a minute every week and go to and with one click tell all your government representatives to stop giving a millio
On Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 10:34 AM, Jim Fitz wrote: foto for letters.jpg Dear friends: Off to Colombia and 2011 Annual Report April 26,2011 I fly to Bogotá May 2nd, returning on June 20th. There I will be giving about 35 presentations to Mennonite Brethren, Brethren in Christ, and Mennonite congregations and many schools to encourage them in their peacemaking in the midst of the 50 year civil war. This may not seem as exciting as when I was on the front lines with CPT, but I feel this is very important too. I will be planting seeds of encouragement for many people in Bogota, Cali, Sincelejo, and Chocó, Colombia to get involved in Peacemaking. In the long run, this will be much more effective than my being a solo peacemaker. This year I began sharing and giving out an envelope with How to help end the wars with One click, Do you know enough to enlist? And the basic CPT brochure. I encourage people to pray