Friday, November 05, 2010

Saturday - back in Honduras

Saturday, November 7, I'll be back in Honduras after nearly four weeks away. I'm anxious to get home.

A lot happened during the three weeks in the US - in Pennsylvania and then in Iowa.

The last four days I've been in Bogotá, Colombia, as part of the team for a workshop on HIV and AIDS that World Vision gave for CELAM, the Latin American bishops conference. There were people from 15 Latin American countries and Puerto Rico, including two bishops. I'll write more on this later and will post some photos on my Flickr site.

Today, Friday, the workshop ended in mid-afternoon and I went to downtown Bogotá with five of the participants. It was a very sobering experience, to put it mildly. The city is congested and there's lots of begging. There are people on the streets selling time on cell phones for 11 cents.

I was also a bit put off by the people with me spending so much time in stores.

But there was one event that made the visit worth it.

About two hundred people marched in the main street in downtown Bogotá. (The street is closed to traffic in that area.) They were marching for the disappeared and against impunity.

Here are some photos:

The sign reads: "A cry of dignity against impunity."

Impunity means that those who have committed crimes - in Latin America, usually disappearances, torture, or assassinations -
are not brought to justice and "get away with murder."

A row of people carried chairs with names on them - presumably the disappeared.

When they stopped in the street for about half an hour they put their chairs down.
Note the picture, presumably of a woman who had been disappeared.

Two banners were in support of the Peace Community of San José de Apartado,
a community that declared itself a peace zone and has been hassled by the government as well as by the guerrilla.
They are calling for the right to memory, life, truth, and justice.
Their struggle for justice has been sustained for many years despite government opposition and a nasty column in the Wall Street Journal last year by Mary Anastasia O'Grady that questioned their sincerity.
Their web page in Spanish is

I didn't take the opportunity to speak with any of those in march but I admire their courage and determination. May God bless their efforts.



I write this quote quickly, having forgotten that the marchers handed out a flier. I found it when I emptied my pants pockets. Here’s my translation.
25 years – a cry of dignity ? against impunity
Palace of Justice
25 years of injustice with the disappeared

The families of those disappeared in the Palace of Justice, [Court House] commemorating 25 years of the bloody retaking by the National Army and the forced disappearance of the employees and occasional visitors of the palace cafeteria, invite the organizations of the families of the victims of forced disappearance and other social organizations to accompany us in the act of commemorating that will take place next November 5 starting at 5:00 pm with a march between Santander Park and the Casa del Florero/Plaza Bolivar as well as in the cultural activities around the Casa de Florero/Plaza Bolivar.

We invite everyone to bring a white candle to light at 6:30 pm for our beloved who were disappeared in the Palace of Justice and for all the persons forcibly disappeared in Colombia.

We firmly believe in the need for persistence from the families in order to advance on the road toward truth and justice.

In those fateful days 0 November 6 and 7, 1985, not only were the lives of our dear loved ones and our families cut short, but the hopes and faith in justice were eaten away by a sea of flames destroyed by the bullets of the state’s armed forces.

We invite you to accompany us.

Relatives of Lucy Amparo Oviedo, Ana Rosa Castiblanco, Cristina del Pilar Guarin, Luz Mary Portela Leon, Gloria Anzola de Lanao, Gloria Stella Lizarazo, Norma Constanza Esguerra, Hestor Jaime Beltran Fuentes, Bernardo Beltran Hernandez, David Suspes Celis, and Carlos Augusto Rodriguez Vera.

Accompany us in commemorating our victims and all the victims!!...
Let us all light a white candle in their memory this November 5.

1 comment:

Charles said...

I'm very fortunate that Adrienne linked this piece, because I missed it and its important report on the anti-impunity movement. In Colombia, where Uribe enjoys massive public support and members of the paramilitaries sit in Congress, I didn't think this was possible.

It's encouraging to know that there are people this brave.