The visit by a judge to the communities of Garzal and Nueva Esperanza planned April 14th has been postponed. The 320 families of communities, are claiming the right to remain on the land they have worked for over 40 years. After the judge did not show up for the visual inspection – which only would have served the interests of individuals linked to paramilitary groups and drug trafficking – a delegation of ministers, members of church organizations, CPT and the legal representative of the case, went to Simití to visit the judge to express their concern of the community.
The community of Las Pavas continues to occupy their land that they returned to on April 4th. They have begun planting crops, building shelters, and digging wells. The community was featured in a half hour spot on a news station on Sunday [see link below]. Despite growing national and international attention, there is still a great risk for those who returned. A few men, claiming to be from the Prosecutor General’s office, showed up and took pictures, but refused to give their identification, while claiming that their actions were to done to eventually bring charges against the community. And a small aircraft flew low over the land a few days after the return. Charges against community leaders continue. CPT’s national delegation is currently accompanying the community.
CPT Colombia took part in this month’s Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia by organizing a public action on Palm Sunday in Barrancabermeja with the national delegation and our local partners. Using this year’s theme of “Hand in Hand for Peace in Colombia,” the team read the story of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey, sang songs, and took the opportunity on Palm Sunday to talk about the palm industry in Colombia and throughout the world. The action finished with an invitation to make a hand print showing your solidarity with Garzal, Nueva Esperanza, and Las Pavas on the banners created for each of these communities, which included the verse from Zachariah 9:10: “The battle bow will be broken and peace will be proclaimed to the nations.“
We pray for the welfare and safety of Zoraida Hernandez, a member of the Corporation Sembrar, a social organization in Bogota. On April 14, 2011, two men entered her home at a time when she was present with her family. Zoraida accompanies the Federation of South Bolivar Agrominera as a lawyer to defend the territory against the entry of multinational mining companies in the Serrania de San Lucas and is spokesperson for several national initiatives.