Traducción del comunicado de prensa del 20/03/24 elaborado por Operazione Colomba-Asociación Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII

Comunicado de prensa 20/3/24

Ayer por la mañana fueron asesinados en Colombia una mujer y un niño pertenecientes a la Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó. Las víctimas son Nayeli Sepúlveda, de 30 años, y Edison David, de 15, esposa y hermano respectivamente de uno de los líderes de la Comunidad de Paz. El doble asesinato fue perpetrado a tiros en la mañana del 19 de marzo de 2024 en la vereda La Esperanza, en el departamento de Antioquia.

“Durante las dos últimas semanas, los voluntarios de Operazione Colomba estuvimos presentes como observadores internacionales en la vereda La Esperanza precisamente por los últimos ataques sufridos. Yo había salido de ese pueblo el día anterior a la masacre”, explica Mónica Puto, operadora de Operazione Colomba, el cuerpo de paz noviolento de la Comunidad de Padre Oreste Benzi.

“La Comunidad de Paz había sufrido recientemente varios ataques: - continúa Puto - invasiones de tierras en la finca privada Las Delicias, dentro de la vereda, daños materiales a sus propiedades, amenazas, calumnias para desprestigiar la resistencia pacífica que llevan a cabo desde hace 27 años para proteger sus tierras de los grandes proyectos extractivos. El municipio de Apartadó, las autoridades locales y el gobierno nacional tenían conocimiento de lo que estaba sucediendo antes de la masacre”.

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Translation of the press release 03/20/24 written by Operazione Colomba-Association Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII

PRESS RELEASE 03/20/24

Yesterday morning, in Colombia, a woman and a boy from the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó were killed. The victims are Nayeli Sepulveda, 30, and Edison David, 15, wife and brother of a representative from the Peace Community. They were murdered by gunshots in the village of La Esperanza, Antioquia Department, on March 19th in the morning.

«In the last two weeks we have been in La Esperanza village as international observers from Operazione Colomba because of the latest attacks received by the Peace Community. I left that village the day before the massacre» explains Monica Puto from Operazione Colomba, the Nonviolent Peace Corps of Don Benzi's Community.

«The Peace Community recently suffered several attacks: – says Puto – invasions of lands on the private property Las Delicias within the village, material damage to its assets, threats, calumnies to discredit the peaceful resistance they have been carrying out for 27 years with the aim of protecting their land from big mining projects. The Apartadò Municipality, the local authorities and the national government were aware of what was happening before the massacre.»

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 I was wearing my boots; it rained heavily that day. I left the house, and I don't remember exactly why, but strangely, I had decided to put them on even though I only had a short distance to walk. There was a lot of mud. I think that, upon seeing me already so geared up, the invitation came spontaneously from Brigida: "Will you accompany me to pick some mangoes?"
It was a request not based on safety reasons but simply the desire to reach those large trees, pick some fruit, and have one together:
“solita no quiero ir, mi hijo está cansado" (Transl. I don't want to go alone, my son is tired.)
And that's how, in just a few minutes, I found myself climbing the hill in front of the Peace Community’s entrance, a community land, to collect some mangoes that had fallen due to the heavy rain that had just passed. "What wonderful trees; we've had two bad years, but look how full of fruit they are!"
"Brigida, do you know that we often tell your 'mango story'? About how long it takes from planting to seeing the fruits, about what hope means to you. And now, I find myself here with you, picking these fruits, symbol of resistance, love, but above all, perseverance on this challenging path of peace." She turns her gaze slowly backward, but she is not looking at me; she is looking at the boot prints left behind as we reached these majestic mango trees. How many years of struggle for you, dear Brigida. How much mud in your life.
How many mangoes collected.

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Mud walls uphill and downhill, on foot or mule, for hours and hours, without knowing what will be the next obstacle, with the risk of slipping or falling, not knowing whether you meet on the way a friendly face or an enemy, whether to smile or to avoid.
In doubt, better to avoid.
Very high level of concentration on the way.
Careful not to miss the travel companions, especially the ones we accompany that are equally careful not to lose sight of us, since our presence increases their level of security and given their care about us as well.
We who are not accustomed to this kind of paths and this kind of climate, ignoring in addition the risks hidden by the wilderness.
Despite the further concern we represent for the people of the Peace Community, accustomed to "fly" on the mud and run on these arduous and endless paths, we continue to be a significant value added for them.
Every time we stop, they repeat "thank you for accompanying us, thank you for accompanying us".
And they continue to seem heroes to me, not to idealize them, but to be honest and to make real a word that by now, in this world, it seems can only be filled with virtual meanings and special effects.
Instead they are small but strong, physically and morally, they are tenacious like the cabuya (a thread that cannot be broken), they are strategic in pursuing the good, they are persevering, they do not give up, and they work, day after day, as tireless ants to sow and harvest food and life in immense places.

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I’m almost at the end of my experience in one of the projects of Operazione Colomba: a few more days, then I will go back to Italy. My family, friends, and close acquaintances refer to my coming back as a return to "my reality". In fact, leaving home to dive into a completely different context, in order to wholly experience all its aspects, in an all-encompassing way, can have a very strong impact. Therefore, in some hard moments, the thought of going back home, where everything is known and without excessive unknowns, can bring a little security.

Yet I perceive a discordant note in this definition, something that bothers me. So I’ve started asking myself: what is "my reality''?

Isn't it what I'm living right here, right now? And won't I carry with me, imprinted in my heart-head-belly all these moments, this reality that has now become also “my reality”? As a matter of fact, am I not here to take on, as a human being and a citizen of a round-shaped world, a slice of responsibility to counter the injustices that afflict the planet?

That’s what I am supposed to do, as the reality of a globalized world can only be experienced in all its complexity and when I decided to come here, I did feel the need to find an example of resistance to the ugliness of a humanity, the contemporary one, which seems to have cut down the umbilical cord with Nature in order to pursue a fictitious, virtual and consumerist dimension that is clearly unsustainable over time.

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