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Peacemaking via Politics May 25, 2011
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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. This happened because of the corruption that has come with the 50 years of civil war here.

"Now that I have learned how they cheated me, I have decided to give a try to help bring honesty into politics in Barranca. I have been working since last October for this October's election, visting friends to ask them to vote and help watch the counting of votes.

"People in Barranca are tired of the corruption and are willing to vote for honesty. This happened in the last election when the present mayor, Carlos Contreras, was elected on a platform of honesty even though his opponent owned the TV station and therefore could do all the advertising he wanted. Carlos was relatively poor and never expected that he even had a chance. However, he won by 300 votes."

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Here is Roberto with his family. They are some of my best friends and hosted my week in Barranca. Roberto told me, "I feel called to do this, but if I lose I will take it as a sign that I should not try to help Colombia through politics. I will then go to study theology."

All his family are very supportive of him. Roberto´s wife Eberty, an English teacher, got 12 places in schools for me to give presentations. In them I share about my six years experience with Christian Peacemaker Teams here in Barranca. She hopes to spend 2 months with my church as a way of improving her pronunciation.

Pray for Roberto´s election.

Paz, Jim

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