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Colombia! Peace is Drawing Near!

Colombia!  Peace is Drawing Near! 

I am very encouraged as I sense significant progress is happening in the talks in Cuba between the FARC and the Colombia government.  I sense Peace is coming to Colombia.  Alleluia! Here are some reasons why.  
  1. The reconciliation between perpetrators and victims that is happening in the peace talks. These are very similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions that happened in South Africa to bring reconciliation there.
  1. The process is getting campesinos farms that they lost during the war back into their hands. What happened is they often had to sell their land very cheaply and quickly to escape the violence.  Returning the land is a very difficult and tricky thing but it is beginning to happen.
  2. In a recent in-depth article in the Chicago Tribune (Page 1Page 2Page 3) many victims were interviewed, they all said they wanted to forgive and get on with ending the war.
 Each of these are really important for a lasting, stable, and firm peace agreement.
Standing with the white shirt talking is Ricardo Esquivia a Mennonite lawyer who leads Sembrando Paz (Planting Peace) an organization that is working on getting land back in the hands of the campesinos. Their work could be an example for this to happen in the rest of Colombia. I spend 5 days there. Ricardo spent 10 years getting Conscientious Objection recognized by the Colombia government. He has been working for Peace and justice for 50 years.

Interestingly in the above mentioned article people on the street without personal experience of the war’s violence expressed a lot of impatience with the talks taking so long and questioning negotiating with the FARC. At the same time many others are grateful for the talks. How surprisingly accurate this article was to my sense of what many Colombians are thinking.

My response is that after 50 years of war it is going to take some time to achieve a good peace agreement. It will not happen overnight. So it is good it is taking over two years in many ways. The government has been trying to defeat the FARC with the military unsuccessfully for 50 years. It just does not work. It is past time to negotiate a settlement.

Support the peace with your prayers.

Shalom, Jim

P.S.  If you wondering, I am back home.  The above are some hopeful reflection from my tr


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