Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Journey to Colombia

Today I leave on a new journey with the people of Colombia, South America. I will not be with the government elite, the business leaders or the tourist industry, although I might run into them. I will be with the strong men, women and children who have moved to the tropical Urubá region of the country after being violently displaced from their homes, their communities and their land. These families and the local Presbyterian pastors that act as their civil rights advocates will be my guides into a world that is invisible in the United States despite the real connections between displacement and US interests.

I don't want to try to explain the complex systems of oppression that lead to US military aid in Colombia or land-grabbing strategies practiced by international corporations until I can understand at least one more layer of the issues on the ground. Stopping these oppressive practices is the objective that led the Presbyterian Church of Colombia to ask for a visible presence from the Presbyterian Church USA and that equal partnership for change is what moved me to get involved.

I leave tonight from Louisville, KY to fly to Chicago, Miami, Medellin, and finally to Apartadó before driving into the rainforests of Urubá to meet these amazing communities who come together as Christians to support one another. I am going both to use my US Passport as a shield for Colombian human rights activists and to be a witness to people's life stories in order to spread the word and promote change for justice and peace.  I pray for safety, for new friendships and for movement for liberation of these oppressed peoples.

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