Slowly it becomes challenging to keep a clear mind. I already know the process, every time I have been here, there comes a moment when it becomes difficult to digest all the stories. There comes such a cry from the soul: “My God why do you allow all this!”, to a God who does not exist.
But the soul does not want to accept that so much injustice and cruelty simply happens on our earth and is ignored by so many.
There’s a difference between hearing it on the news and being up close and personal.
Arley, who is in the Consejo and has been in the peace community for many years, tells us his story of the last few years. He experienced a robbery by the paramilitary a few years ago with a gun to his head, all the money he wanted to collect from the bank for the peace community was taken from him. For him it was so existential that he still struggles with it today. He completely withdrew for a while. Unconsciously, he felt guilty that it happened to him.
It took him two years to come back and the community asked him to go back to the Consejo.
The many things we talk about in small circles we don’t want to put in the public diary, because we don’t want it to get to the wrong addresses. But to sum up, they need our solidarity and sympathy more than ever.
The pandemic was a complex event. A stop at all levels.
Social chaos everywhere. No more international presence. At the same time, they have also discovered new collaborators in the pandemic. “It is a new episode of humanity that we are in. It is also a big crack in the economic situation, in the energy crisis, and in the ecological situation. The policy has changed drastically.
For six years we have tried a lot, always under the pressure of war, growing violence, armed struggle, many deaths – we have survived all this.
Now it is different again. We have lost many people along the way, people who were close to us. Now we are losing people close to us who are still alive, this time not by external violence, it has become much more subtle. Life has taken them from us. We have gone a long way together, accompanying each other, and then more and more people close to us have left the community.
People who were very important to us. This is painful. It has a strong impact on our situation. It is no longer weapons, but a world of other ideologies that lure people away from the community through permanent pressure and through false promises. The worst thing for us is that young people who were in the community before are now with the paramilitary, some of them were killed shortly after.
One main factor that brought this disruption: they were vulnerable to money.
International companies with job offers, the powerful influence from the Internet, a life in the city, that attracts the youth. You want to be there, you want to belong. And they offer a lot of money.
It is not only the projects of the state that pay compensation, but also and especially from the paramilitary comes the seduction – they manage to create a rift through the whole community with money. The fact that people allow themselves to be seduced has to do, in essence, with the fact that they have lost trust and hope. They no longer have larger goals, but want a more comfortable life. In recent years, the state has sought new strategies to infiltrate families that are still in resistance. Actually it is quite clear, people are told that it is progress to live like this. In truth, they and the true values are virtually sold. They are trying to sell people “good life – bien vivir”. It is very sad, actually they know this and yet they are seduced. They get a monthly wage, are involved in the work and thus lured away from the land, the difficult financial situation forces more and more farmers to leave the land. For the past two years, the cocoa harvest has failed due to excessive rainfall. The cocoa crop has been our main source of income for two years, and it has suddenly stopped,” is roughly how Arley describes the current situation.
German, currently the leader of the community, a quiet and very level-headed man, adds: “What is happening right now is very moving, and those who are consciously participating in the process are reflecting on how to proceed. It hurts a lot, there has been no real reflection in the community on what our true rights are. And so the mill goes on and on. . Young people are being killed. Further the agitation is fed against us that the community must leave here. We are disturbing the “progress”. It is very sad.
People who could actually understand, still get involved in the deception. Throughout Latin America, communities have been abandoned by the law. The lives of the new generation have been destroyed. In the world we live in, everything is being destroyed. To continue to keep the strength for resistance here demands a lot from us.
Of course, we are very busy with the question: how can the new generation live better as human beings? The system does not allow them to really think about how to live autonomously. This is our situation and there are not so many who have a clear vision from within. It’s a very sad process for us as a community leadership team. But as hard as the situation is, we don’t give up because we know that autonomous community building is the way out, the only one we know.”
All these reports can make you feel very heavy – and yet they seem balanced, and very determined. Along the way, there is a lot of laughter, and for all their heaviness, they still have a lot of humor. They have a little hope for the new government, but not too much, and they also say that non-violent resistance is growing on another level as well. There are more and more who want to assert themselves as farmers. Those who are still here now know why they are here, that’s why decisions go faster and trust among themselves has grown.
We ask them what they would like us to do as a community. What would be a support in this situation?
“The friendship, the heart connection between the communities must remain, it should become more tangible again and not let the external difficulties stop it. We must reflect together, because your support has always been very important for us. Tamera was and is a central hope for us. We feel you as a sister community.” And lastly comes a very simple request:
“One thing-if you can, write a letter to the president about our situation. Maybe we can come up with a joint action again for peace, to do something together, it gives us all strength and you see that our issues are global.”