Will We Have Peace At last?

On the eve of the most important day in Colombian history, very few people outside the country are talking about the plebiscite that will happen on Sunday, October 2, 2016.

In terms of the consequences to the country and its citizens, to me it is as momentous as the Brexit referendum or the US presidential election. It seems like someone agrees with me on that one too.

One day a few months ago, my son called. There was much joy in his voice. He told me the government of Colombia and the FARC had finally reached an agreement! The long process of the peace talks was bearing fruits, finally. There was much hope.

On September 27, 2016 the agreement was officially signed with a pen made from a bullet. It’s the end of a 52 year old armed conflict… If Colombians manage to put aside their pain, their frustrations, their desire for revenge and manage to raise from so much suffering as a nation willing build the peaceful country we all dream of.

But things are never easy. And there are many who are not happy with peace. Those who profit from war. Those who benefit from discord and fear. The ruling class. The ones born with a silver spoon in their mouth, lead by former president Alvaro Uribe. It is not in his best interest that peace exists in Colombia. He, who should be facing an International Tribunal for crimes against humanity, dares to say that Colombia has not known war.

uribes-lies
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Schrödinger’s Life

I can’t grasp Life.

It eludes me.

It taunts me.

It laughs at me, as it playfully prances around a the corner, not too fast that I lose track of it but not slow enough that I can catch up either.

Life can be so beautiful you feel your chest it’s going to explode, incapable of taking in so much beauty. All you can do is sit there and let the tears flow so you don’t explode.

Conversely, Life can be so heartbreaking you feel your chest if going to implode, incapable of taking in so much grief. All you can do is sit there, wishing you could cry but thankfully unable to do so, lest you implode.

It is a mercy that most days lie in between. And yet, for someone like me, a day can be – mostly is – full of uplifting hikes and stomach-turning falls.

A break in the news, a phone call, a letter.

Echoes of sadness and pain from all the corners of the world.

Today, I was rejoicing on the beauty of this day and the happiness in my life.

Naturally, I turned to Facebook to give witness of this when I learned a few bits of unsettling news. Continue reading

Helping Teen Moms: Giving teen moms the tools to change their lives

It’s so refreshing to read something good about Colombia. And not because good people or good acts are rare. On the contrary. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t true.

But there’s so much poverty and so much injustice.

I was happy to read this

LadyRomp

By Kathleen Toner, CNN

Cartagena, Colombia (CNN) — When a 12-day-old boy died in her arms, Catalina Escobar was devastated.

She was working as a volunteer in the maternity clinic at one of the largest hospitals in Cartagena, Colombia. At that time — October 2000 — such incidents weren’t that unusual; on average, at least one infant a day died at the overcrowded and underfunded facility. But when Escobar learned that the baby’s teenage mother had not been able to raise the money for treatment that would’ve saved his life, she was crushed.

“His mother [needed] $30 that I had in my pocket. I will never forget that,” she said. “It was a preventable death.”

Less than a week later, Escobar endured another, more personal loss: her second son, 16-month-old Juan Felipe, died in a tragic accident when he fell from the balcony of her home. She was overwhelmed by…

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Happy May 1st

Well, it seems like today I can’t stop blogging.  Oh well, you’ll have to bear with me, dear readers.  Specially on this one.

My son posted this photograph on FB this morning.  It was recently declassified and it is public domain now.

Your obedient servant

“I have the honor to report we killed a thousand Colombians”

Well done, Mr. Caffery. Well done.

And because you were such an obedient servant, they named a portion of a highway in your memory. Such a joy and such an honour to kill Colombians!

Leaders of the banana plantations workers’ strike. From left to right: Pedro M. del Río, Bernardino Guerrero, Raúl Eduardo Mahecha, Nicanor Serrano and Erasmo Coronel. Guerrero and Coronel were killed by the Colombian army.

Here’s a bit of background for that Dispatch: Banana Massacre .

The Banana Massacre (Matanza de las bananeras or Masacre de las bananeras) was a massacre of United Fruit Company workers that occurred between December 5 and 6, 1928 in the Colombian town of Ciénaga near Santa Marta.

The workers of the banana plantations in Colombia went on strike on November 12, 1928, asking for better working conditions and fair wages, among other things.

After several weeks with no agreement, in which the United Fruit Company refused to negotiate with the workers, the conservative government of Miguel Abadía Méndez sent the Colombian army in against the strikers, resulting in the massacre.

The government of the United States of America had threatened to invade with the US Marine Corps if the Colombian government did not act to protect United Fruit’s interests. Nice.

All that because gringos needed to have their bananas.

But what are a few thousand dead Colombians to the US?