Tuesday, February 19, 2008

comunidad de base

comunidad de base: organized community

in the last post I argued that base is usually grassroots, but here is another example that occurred to me where, in context, it can refer to organizing

You may have heard of the term christian base communities - a key part of liberation theology. sometimes when people say comunidad de base they mean these, but often they are simply referring to an organized community, be it that they have a strong community council, work groups, or that they are part of some larger campesino organization of what have you.

I am posting today from Turbo, and leave soon for the peace community of San Jose, an organized community if ever there was one.

What is a peace community? In this case it is a group of campesinos who have chosen not to participate in the war in any way, and have asked all of the armed actors (paramilitaries, guerillas and the military) to stay out of their community. As a result they have been attacked by all sides. In their eleven years they have suffered over 160 violent deaths. Three years ago one of their leaders was killed in a horrific massacre with his family and another family. Luis Eduardo Guerra had only a few years earlier come to the School of the Americas vigil to denounce attacks on the peace community. (that link has more info on the massacre)

The brigade accused of killing him was led by an SOA graduate. Since his death the community has bravely continued sending community members to speak at the SOA vigil in the US about the attacks and to work in solidarity with us to end US military involvement in Colombia. I have been honored to interpret for them. Now it's my turn to go to the community in our joint struggle against militarism.

February 21st will be the third anniversary of the massacre, and I am going with the community on their "return" – a three day hike up to where Luis Eduardo and the others were killed. This is territory that is seriously disputed between the guerillas and the military and the paramilitaries. There will be a big group of folks from the community and a significant number of international accompaniers on this hike, which helps with safety, but there are no guarantees. Please send us all lots of safety wishes. I'll send a report on how it goes when I get back at the end of the month.


Anonymous said...

Hola Sara, ¡oye qué buen trabajo el que estás haciendo con tu blog!

Tengo una pregunta. Ando buscando literature (y perdón el inglañol) sobre traducción. He leído a Benjamin y Derrida, a Hall, a Bhabha y Spivak, incluso a Latour y Callon, pero no sé por dónde empezar a buscar a los geógrafos. Si tienes algo a la mano, te agradecería muchísimo.

Montones de abrazos para ti. ¡Ya pronto te veo!

Anonymous said...
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