We have exciting news about the impact of your work on the San José de Apartadó Peace Community.
This year, while celebrating the Peace Community’s 15-year anniversary, we interviewed community members about why the accompaniment you help support is so important. Today, we share their voices with you, as well as good news from our last action alert.
Elisabeth Rohrmoser and Liza Smith with petitions to the U.S. embassy in Bogota.Earlier this year, while maintaining a permanent presence in the village of La Union, we learned of a semi-permanent encampment of uniformed and fully armed paramilitaries. Their verbal threats plus a kidnapping, forced meetings, and purchases of land nearby created fear among the local population. In response, we increased our physical presence there, with FOR volunteers hiking over the muddy mountain ridge to the village of La Esperanza eight times.
You responded to our urgent action alert, generating more than 200 personal emails to the U.S. ambassador to Colombia.
We hand-delivered those petitions in person to the embassy in Bogota, and used them to get meetings with local, national and international authorities.
Your letters, with our presence on the ground, forced the paramilitaries to leave the village of La Esperanza. For the moment, they have stopped visiting and threatening civilians in the region.
Every day, Peace Community members work to survive the war in Colombia — but each day they also work hard to plant and harvest cocoa beans.
With your ongoing support, FOR has been spreading the word of the Peace Community and the potential for peace in Colombia.
In February, we hosted a delegation of 11 Austrians, including a documentary filmmaker who wanted to tell the story of Austrians in Colombia learning about the human rights situation. The documentary was screened for members of the European Parliament and the general public in Austria.
We wrote, designed and published our second booklet in the Demilitarizing Life and Land series, Blown Away: The War on Drugs, Feedback From the Frontline. We’ve already distributed nearly 1,000 of them throughout North America.
Our peace accompaniment and advocacy work costs money. Specifically, it costs FOR $300 per week to host a peace accompanier in Colombia.
So, at the end of this anniversary year, we want to send a special gift of the Peace Community’s organic fair-trade chocolate for those who make a gift of $300 or more now just $200 or more! to support our work in Colombia.
The Peace Community’s chocolate, direct from the cacao trees of northwestern Colombia, can be used for baking and to make hot chocolate for your midwinter celebrations.
We are deeply grateful to all of you for allowing us to do this work.
”Without accompaniment, we wouldn’t be here,” one community member told us. And without you, we wouldn’t be able to accompany this community. Every single day, you are helping us build a vision for a different kind of world.
Liza, Susana, John, Elisabeth, Emily, and Gina
FOR Colombia Team