Understanding Colombia’s Vote Against the Peace Accords and What Lies Ahead: Especially for churches working for peace
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …”
These opening lines from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, could also apply to a tale of two Colombias. My colleagues, friends and I watched, somewhat in shock, as report after report came in yesterday showing that the No vote had won in Colombia´s plebiscite on the peace accords that just a week earlier had been signed between the Government of Colombia and the FARC guerrilla. Polling in the weeks leading up to the plebiscite indicated that Yes would prevail with around 65% of the vote. In the end, No won by the slimmest of margins; 50.2% No, 49.7% Yes.Read more
Statement from World Council of Churches
03 October 2016, originally posted here
"The people of Colombia need and deserve peace, particularly now", said Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), commenting on the outcome of the referendum held in Colombia on 2 October.
The Colombia Partnership of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ Celebrates Colombia´s Peace Accord
On August 24, the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced in Havana, Cuba that they had reached a final peace agreement that would end 52 years of fighting. On August 29, guns were silenced as both sides entered into the final bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. And today, September 26, 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Timoleón Jiménez, signed the final accord, signaling the beginning of the end of the oldest armed conflict in the Americas.Read more
Prayers for Peace: July
A selection of prayer requests from ColombiaRead more
In a statement adopted by its Central Committee meeting in Trondheim, Norway, the World Council of Churches (WCC) “welcomes the news of the historic bilateral ceasefire agreement concluded by the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP) in Havana on 23 June 2016.”Read more
May 22-23, 2016
Building Peace from the Ground Up/Construyendo La Paz Desde Las Comunidades
Spring conjures up the image of coming out of the cold darkness of winter into the warmth and light of spring that brings new life. This image resonates well with how 2016 is going so far for me and for our partners in Colombia.
I have been on home assignment since early January, which brought the challenge of facing a (thankfully mild) New England winter as I itinerated in Connecticut. As of this writing I am very much looking forward to itinerating in the Central Atlantic through the end of winter and into spring.Read more
It has been 15 years since the start of “Plan Colombia.” This joint U.S.-Colombian military campaign was designed to end the drug trade by fighting drug cartels and eradicating coca being grown for cocaine, and to stop groups opposed to the conservative government. Many have been critical of the strategy over the years because U.S. military aid was used to arm and train Colombian security forces and right-wing militias accused of human rights abuses and violence, not just against guerrilla fighters but also leftist sympathizers and millions of farmers and civilians caught up in the 50 year old Colombian civil war-- the longest in the Western Hemisphere. After years of difficult peace negotiations, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) rebel group and the Colombian government reached a peace agreement in September 2015 to end the decades-long conflict, with hopes to have final details worked out and the deal signed by March 2016.
Global Ministries’ Partner Churches and ecumenical organizations have been accompanying the peace process through personnel appointments, project planning and advocacy initiatives. Their objective has been the construction of an inter-church agenda to strengthen participation and advocacy around the national peace talks process, which is taking place in Havana, Cuba, and, thereby, to contribute to a peace which is the fruit of justice. They are promoting a participative methodology among congregations and communities, emphasizing a facilitated horizontal form of dialogue and enabling to lift up lessons learned through experiences with peace and reconciliation at local, national and international levels, through the free exchange of knowledge and opinions. From the reflection process, they are building an agenda to assist churches and church organizations to promote action and political and public advocacy, both in processes and initiatives within the churches and also in the national and international arenas.Read more