Continental Christian Network for Peace: A Latin American Initiative for building peace with justice
Inspired by an ecumenical spirit and concerned about the reality of violence in our continent, leaders from 10 countries and from different religious traditions, ethnicities and generations, met at the retreat home center at La Milagrosa, located on the outskirts of the City of Guatemala on January 21-25, 2016. The Continental Christian Network for Peace (CCNP) reflected and analyzed the different situations of violence and the task of developing a work plan to coordinate efforts and initiatives for building peace, justice and non-violence.
Out of different regional and national reports considered during its meeting, CCNP concluded that the general reality of the continent have been shaken by an inhuman economic model that generates multiple forms of violence at all levels of society. A lot of women, children, young people of sexual diversity, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants and our Mother Earth suffer daily the ravages of structural, cultural and direct violence to their identities and well-being. The consequences of this unjust system are migration, drug trafficking, violation of individual and collective rights, discrimination, insecurity, impunity and corruption. The group also shared a particular concern about the project of exploitation and dispossession of land and territories by transnational, extractive projects related to mining, oil drilling and deforestation.
As people of faith, CCNP recognized that peace is central to human life and fundamental pillar of good living (“Buen Vivir”) of the people in Latin America and the Caribbean. This recognition is based on the ancestral wealth of indigenous cultures, as a proposal to raise awareness and sense of community. That was the experience lived during the ceremony of the Passing of the Cakchiquel Maya Stick between ancestral authorities and government officials in the town of Chuarrancho, Guatemala. It was a paradigmatic experience for the group in the witness of the recovery of communal property and wisdom by indigenous peoples. CCNP celebrated this achievement being witnesses of the affirmation and defense of life and territory and committing themselves to walk in solidarity with their struggle as well as to publicize their community government proposal.
As a network, CCNP stands to hear the cries of those who suffer violence and to find and build solidarity and promoting actions that restore comfort, hope, peace, justice and dignity of the men and women affected by the tragedy of violence on its different modalities.
CCNP reaffirmed its commitment to:
- Promote reflection and practice of peace with justice in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Carry out presence and communal advocacy to contribute to peace building processes in each of the countries of the Network.
- Denounce violence and inhuman treatment of the dominant socio-economic, political and cultural model.
- Coordinate humanitarian and political lines tend toward where reflection, protection, shelter and alternatives for peace with justice.
The meeting ended up with two interesting quotes from the Mayan sacred book, Popol Vuh, and the Bible, saying the following:
“May everyone rise
May everyone be called,
That no group between us
staying behind from the rest
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground,
and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The Lord will give what is good,
and our land will yield its increase.
-Psalm 85:11-12 (NRSV)