Category Archives: Latin America

Peru: Launch of the national extrajudicial conciliation campaign


An article from La Republica

The national mega-campaign of the “Week of Extrajudicial Conciliation” began yesterday [November 13]. The purpose of the campaign is to promote and disseminate out-of-court conciliation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism of the General Directorate of Public Defense and access to Justice in Tacna.

“This is a tool that encourages and forms the culture of peace in our country,” said Christian Fernández, general secretary of the Free Conciliation Center of the Justice Ministry of Tacna.

He also said that the main mission of this process is for the parties involved in a conflict to reach consensual solutions, which are recorded in an act that has a value similar to a judicial decision.

During the week various activities will be carried out to promote this campaign.

(click here for the Spanish version)

Question for this article:

Mexico: Marcos Aguilar Inaugurates Forum “Towards a Culture of Peace”


An article from the Diario de Querétaro

The municipal president of Querétaro, Marcos Aguilar Vega, inaugurated the first forum of community mediation “Towards a culture of peace” Fortaseg 2017, where state and municipal public servants will learn to promote a social transformation through mediation.

Marcos Aguilar inaugurated the first Community Mediation Forum “Towards a Culture of Peace”, FORTASEG 2017. Photos: Yolanda Longino

After seeing a protest at the first Community Mediation Committee of the Felipe Carrillo Puerto delegation, the mayor said that lack of communication is one of the most recurrent causes of conflicts and crimes that put people’s lives and assets at risk.

The mayor said that if we achieve an assertive communication, that puts the accent on the collective benefit, we will achieve a definitive step for social cohesion and the strengthening of the Rule of Law.

The mayor said that if we achieve an assertive communication, that puts the accent on the collective benefit, we will achieve a definitive step for social cohesion and the strengthening of the Rule of Law.

He said that the objective of the Community Mediation Committee is that citizens on an equal basis have the means to peacefully resolve their conflicts, without jeopardizing the fundamental principles of coexistence and mutual respect.

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(click here for the Spanish version)

Question for this article:

Mediation as a tool for nonviolence and culture of peace

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He said that this government’s commitment is to trust citizens; “To understand each other as fellow citizens is the only way to build a friendly, just and prosperous city.”

“Today more than ever we need a united society that forms a common front against the evils that threaten our well-being such as crime, corruption and the deterioration of the social fabric,” he said.

He pointed out that governments come and go, but citizen initiatives remain; He asserted that a culture of peace will be achieved if each citizen, neighborhood, colony and community live by the fundamental principles that govern the culture of peace.

The Municipal Public Security Secretary, Juan Luis Ferrusca Ortiz said that community mediation is a new way of approaching psychosocial problems; it privileges neighborhood leadership through the creation of committees that promote alternative spaces for peaceful conflict resolution.

He reported that the community mediation model, whose investment is 980 thousand pesos from the resources of Fortaseg 2017, began in several areas of the Felipe Carrillo Puerto delegation.

He said that this model will also be taken to other of the six remaining municipal delegations, encouraging participation in community mediation committees.

Adriana Báez Sosa, who is responsible for the program, stressed that the capital will be a pioneer in the practice of community mediation, which is committed to strengthening the exercise of citizenship.

“This is a great step forward in the municipality of Queretaro, since it recognizes the importance of the community, as well as generating citizen participation, as they are key elements for the solution of conflicts in the community,” she acknowledged.

She indicated that this project started with a diagnosis, followed by the creation of a committee of citizens interested in contributing their time to the community, followed by a process of training, dissemination and operation of these areas.

El Salvador: Project to promote a culture of peace


An article from La Prensa Grafica (reprinted for non-commercial purposes)

Roberto Rubio, the executive director of the National Foundation for Development (FUNDE), launched the challenge: “We invite you to start changing the country. No more no less”. And that implies, he assured, to imagine “a country in peace.” That is the concept behind the citizen campaign “Préstale tu voz a SAL”, which FUNDE is carrying out with the support of the Seattle Foundation and in alliance with the Espacio Ciudadano network. They are joined by the embassies of the United States of America (USA) and Colombia.

“Small steps matter. The change on a large scale begins with individual commitment, “said the US diplomatic representative, Jean Manes, during the launch of the initiative, on Wednesday night.

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(Click here for the Spanish original of this article)

Questions for this article:

How can culture of peace be developed at the municipal level?

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On behalf of Colombia, Ambassador Julio Anibal Riaño said that the great example is the city of Medellín, which went from being the face suffered by narcoterrorism to a model of coexistence. “The greatest strength of Medellín is its people,” said the diplomat, referring to the “social re-engineering” that Mayor Federico Gutiérrez executed in the city. “Security,” said the mayor through a video that was transmitted during the launch of the citizen campaign, “is neither left nor right,” but a responsibility of all.

According to Rubio, “Préstale tu voz a SAL” is part of the “Somos Paz” movement, which seeks to promote the culture of peace in El Salvador through all daily activities. He explained that its purpose is to change impunity at all levels of society.

Manes noted that the city of Chattanooga in the United States went from being, in a span of 20 years, “the dirtiest city in America” ​​to receiving recognition from the United Nations for having executed a total transformation. In addition, 10 years later, this model allowed the population of the American city to profit economically. It was only achieved, said Manes, when citizens, NGOs and businessmen got involved in a shared project.

Colombia: Unesco recognizes schools in Norte de Santander for their work towards peace


An article from Compartir Palabra Maestra. (Reprinted according to the rules of Creative Commons Recognition-NoComercial-ShareIgual 4.0 International License)

During the National Educational Forum 2017 held in the capital of the country and encouraged by Unesco and the Ministry of Education, Norte de Santander was present this year with two proposals which were among the 12 best being recognized by the two organizing entities.

One of the proposals presented was that of the Cristo Obrero Educational Institution, located in the neighborhood of La Ermita de Cúcuta, who undertook a project called ‘School reconciliation, commitment of all for a culture of peace’ by which they promote healthy coexistence in the institution.

In total, 600 strategies were presented throughout Colombia, with initiatives focused on the search for a Colombia without conflicts. The presentations included topics such as reconciliation, democracy, reconstruction of historical memory, society, violence and human rights.

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(Click here for the original version of this article in Spanish)

Questions for this article:

Peace Studies in School Curricula, What would it take to make it happen around the world?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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Ángel Ramiro Peñaranda, a teacher at the Cristo Obrero School who leads the Cucuteño project, indicated that this curriculum for peace “did not exist before.” It contains subject plans, parcelers and class preparers.

“I never thought that this could be an experience for the Ministry, but with the support of the rector of the school, it was presented in the forum,” the teacher told a media outlet in the city of Cúcuta.

The other educational center that represented the northern department of Santander was the La Salle School in Ocaña, with the demonstration of a pedagogical strategy to promote peace within the campus. The institution participated with the ‘Project of democracy, culture, peaceful experience and youth’.

“The project includes three lines of work. The student representative is responsible for raising awareness of the fulfillment of duties and promotion of rights by all students, leading to the adoption of a school peace manifesto,” he added.

He added, “this new achievement of the institution is a pride for Norte de Santander, because we can make it known not only to Colombia, but to the whole world, because teachers strengthen the construction of peace in our country through what we do pedagogically “.

 The two institutions are part of the 40 that make up the Nortesantandereana Network for a School without Violence that works day by day for better coexistence and relationships among citizens.

UNIFA, the University of the Aristide Foundation in Haiti


An article by Haiti Action Committee member Marilyn Langlois for Transcend Media Service

“Right now, in the moment that Haiti is living, the university is essential. Haiti vitally needs a safe space where young people can come together, think country, and contract a future under very difficult circumstances. A place where they can learn from and interact with national and international professionals. An institution that will address national issues and seek viable solutions to national problems. Dreams of working, prospering, and changing Haiti….”
— Mildred Aristide, Former First Lady of Haiti.

Based in Tabarre, Haiti, the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA) is a high quality, multidiscipline, accredited university taught by Haitian and international professors prominent in their fields. UNIFA is a member of the Institute of International Education.

As of academic year 2016-2017, UNIFA has seven disciplines: Schools of Medicine, Law, Nursing, Physical Therapy, Dentistry, Engineering, and Continuing Education.

UNIFA’s Physical Therapy degree program is the first of its kind in Haiti. This school answers the acute need for physical therapists in Haiti, a need that became particularly clear after the 2010 earthquake when many people suffered devastating injuries that require intensive rehabilitative treatment.

UNIFA is building its own teaching hospital/medical center to enable its numerous health-related students to gain necessary practical experience as well as to provide meaningful health care to the surrounding communities who are unable to access medical care. Planning and fundraising for construction are now underway. The teaching hospital will provide dozens of much needed slots for clinical training for UNIFA’s students.

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Question related to this article:

Are the people of Haiti making progress toward a culture of peace?

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What makes UNIFA unique and important to the future of Haiti, setting it apart from other universities in Haiti, is its determination to teach with an emphasis on the value of human rights and dignity, in order to build a new and just Haiti.

UNIFA’s core issues and focuses include quality education, global health, human rights and citizen engagement, gender and income equality, women and girls empowerment, youth development, and disaster response and recovery.

UNIFA’s Mission and Guiding Principles

– Emphasize human rights and dignity through use of human rights-based education and practices to build a new and just Haiti.

– Break down long tradition in Haiti of exclusion of the poor majority from access to higher education.

– Increase number of doctors practicing in rural areas. Recruit students from all ten departments of Haiti.

– Commit to equal gender representation.

– Open medical and legal professions to all. Prepare doctors and lawyers to serve the poorest of the poor.

– Provide a university for critical thinking about Haiti.

– Provide space for students to return as teachers, giving back to same system that nurtured and trained them.

– Please consider donating to UNIFA

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The Haiti Action Committee is a Bay-Area based network of activists who have supported the Haitian struggle for democracy since 1991.Our members travel frequently to Haiti and are in close touch with Haitian grassroots activists, legal and human rights workers, and victims of repression. Through demonstrations and civil disobedience, Congressional lobbying and educational events, publications and community organizing, we are working to build a strong Haiti solidarity movement.

The Spiritual Sources of Legal Creativity: The Legacy of Father Miguel d’Escoto


A blog by Richard Falk (abbreviated)

[Preliminary Remarks: What follows is the modified transcript of a talk given at Fordham University School of Law honoring the memory of the recently deceased Maryknoll priest, Father Miguel d’Escoto, who had been both the Foreign Minister of Sandinista Nicaragua and President of the UN General Assembly, as well as pastor to the poor in the spirit of Pope Francis, an extraordinary person who fused a practical engagement in the world with a deeply spiritual nature that affected all who were privileged to know and work with him.] . . .

Father Miguel d’Escoto

He was motivated by a belief, undoubtedly reflecting his religious faith, in the potency of right reason, and on this basis conceived of international law as a crucial vehicle for realizing such a vision, embracing with moral enthusiasm a kind of ‘politics of impossibility’ in which considerations of justice outweighed calculations of feasibility or the obstacles associated with geopolitics. It is with an awareness of the trials and tribulation of Nicaragua and its long suffering population that Father Miguel turned to law as an imaginative means of empowerment.

Let me illustrate by reference to the historic case that Nicaragua brought against the United States in the early 1980s at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It was a daring legal flight of moral fancy to suppose that tiny and beleaguered Nicaragua could shift its struggle from the bloody battlefields of U.S. armed intervention and a mercenary insurgency against the Sandinista Government of which he was then Foreign Minister to the lofty legal terrain that itself had been originally crafted to reflect the values and interests of dominant states, the geopolitical players on the global stage. But more than this it was a brilliant leap of political imagination to envision the soft power of law neutralizing the hard power of high tech weaponry in a high stakes ideological struggle being waged in the midst of the Cold War.

Such an attempt to shift the balance of forces in an ongoing conflict by recourse to international law and the World Court had never before been made in any serious way. It was a David and Goliath challenge that the World Court as the highest judicial institution in the UN System had yet to face in a war/peace context, and it turned out to be a test of the integrity of the institution.

Let me recall the situation in Nicaragua briefly. The United States was supporting a right-wing insurgency, the counterrevolutionary remnant of the Somoza dictatorship, a single family that had cruelly and corruptly ruled Nicaragua between 1936 and 1974 on behalf of corporate America (the era of ‘banana republics’), leaving the country in impoverished ruins when the Somoza dynasty finally collapsed. The Somoza-oriented insurgents were known as the Contras, and were called ‘freedom fighters’ by their American sponsors and paymaster because they were opposing the Sandinista Government that had won a war of national liberation in 1979, but was accused by its detractors of leftist tendencies and Soviet sympathies, which was the right-wing ideological way of obscuring the true affinity of the Sandinista leadership with the teachings of Liberation Theology rather than with the secular dogmatics of Marxism. It was a way of depriving the people of Nicaragua of their inalienable right of self-determination. The United States Government via the CIA was training and equipping the Contras, and quite overtly committing acts of war by mining and blockading Managua, Nicaragua’s main harbor and its lifeline to the world. . . .

It was these interventionary undertakings that flouted the authority of international law and the UN Charter. Father Miguel’s addressed the UN General Assembly in his capacity as Nicaragua’s acting Foreign Minister, vividly describing the conflict with some well-chosen provocative words: “It is obvious that the war to which Nicaragua is being subjected is a U.S. war, and the so-called Contras are merely hired hands serving the diabolical objectives of the Reagan Administration.” Later in the same speech he condemned the U.S. Government for recently appropriating an additional $100 million “to finance genocide against our people.” [Address to UNGA, Nov. 3, 1986] . . .

It may not seem so unusual for a small country to take advantage of a potential judicial remedy, but in fact it had never happened—no small state had ever gone to the World Court to protect itself against such military intervention, and to do so on behalf of a progressive government in the Third World in the midst of the Cold War seemed to many at the time like a waste of time and money that Nicaragua could ill afford.

It is here where one begins to grasp this potentially revolutionary idea of relying upon the spiritual sources of legal creativity. Father Miguel was convinced that what the United States Government was doing was legally and morally wrong, and that it was an opportune time for the mice to fight back against the predator tiger. It was an apt occasion to act by reference to horizons of spirituality. . . .

The outcome of the Nicaragua narrative is too complicated to describe properly, but in short—counsel for Nicaragua persuaded the Court that it had jurisdictional authority, at which point the United States petulantly, yet not unexpectedly, withdrew from the proceedings correctly realizing that if it could not prevail at this jurisdictional phase it had virtually no chance to have its legal arguments accepted at the merits phase of the case. . . .

What was rather intriguing from a jurisprudential point of view was that despite its much hyped boycott of the proceedings and accompanying denunciation of the jurisdictional finding, the U.S. in the end quietly complied with the principal finding in The Hague, namely, that the naval blockade of Nicaragua’s harbors was unlawful. As would be expected, the USG never acknowledged that it was complying, nor did Nicaragua dance in the streets of Managua, but the cause/effect relationship between the judicial decision and compliant behavior was clear to any close observer. . . .

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Question related to this article:
Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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For me this Nicaragua experience was a compelling example of Father Miguel’s achievements that followed directly from his deep commitment to the horizons of spirituality and decency. It was far from the only instance. Let me mention two others very quickly. One of my other connections with Father Miguel was to serve as one of his Special Advisors during his year as President of the UN General Assembly thoughout its 63rd session, 2008-09. As continues to be the case, life could become difficult for any leading UN official who openly opposed Israel. Father Miguel was deeply aware of the Palestinian ordeal and unabashedly supportive of my contested role as Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine on behalf of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. When I was detained in an Israeli prison and then expelled from Israel at the end of 2008, Father Miguel wanted to organize a press conference in NYC to give me an opportunity to explain what had happened and defend my position. I declined his initiative, perhaps unadvisedly, as I didn’t want to place Miguel in the line of fire sure to follow.

At the end of 2008 Israel launched a massive attack against Gaza, known as Cast Lead, and Father Miguel sought to have the General Assembly condemn the attack and call for an immediate ceasefire and Israeli withdrawal. It was a difficult moment for Father Miguel, feeling certain that this was the legally and morally the right thing to do. Yet as events proceeded and diplomatic positions were disclosed, Miguel was forced to recognize that the logic of geopolitics worked differently, in fact so starkly differently that even the diplomat representing the Palestinian Authority at the UN intervened to support a milder reaction than what Miguel deemed appropriate. Unlike his Nicaraguan experience, here the backers of feasibility prevailed, but in a manner that Father Miguel could never reconcile himself to accept.

I met many diplomats at UN Headquarters here in NY who said that no one had ever occupied a high position at the UN with Father Miguel’s manifest quality as someone so passionately dedicated to righteous principle. Pondering this, it occurred to me that one possible exception was Dag Hammarskjöld, an early outstanding UN Secretary General, who died in a plane crash, apparently assassinated in 1961 for his principled, yet geopolitically inconvenient, dedication to peace and justice. From his private writings we know that Hammarskjöld’s UN efforts also sprung from wellsprings of spirituality. . . .

Miguel took full advantage of his term as president of the General Assembly to provide venues within the Organization that offered humane alternatives to neoliberal economic globalization. He sponsored and organized meetings at the UN designed to overcome current patterns of economic and ecological injustice, making use of the presence in New York City of such non-mainstream economists as Jeffrey Sachs and Joseph Stiglitz, and the prominent Canadian activist author, Maude Barlow. Here again Father Miguel demonstrated his grounded spirituality by once more combining the visionary with the practical.

I had the opportunity to work with Father Miguel on several proposals to raise the profile and role of the General Assembly as the most representative and democratic organ of the UN. This initiative was rather strategic and partly meant to counter the US-led campaign to concentrate UN authority in Security Council so that Third World aspirations and demands could be effectively thwarted, and the primacy of geopolitics reestablished after the assault mounted in the 1970s by the then ascendant Nonaligned Movement.

What I have tried to describe is this deep bond in the life and work of Father Miguel between the spirituality of his character and motivations and the practicality of his involvement in what the German philosopher, Habermas, calls ‘the lifeworld.’ I find it indicative of Father Miguel’s deep spiritual identity that he suffered a punitive response to his life’s work from the institution he loved and dedicated his life to serving, being suspended in 1985 by Pope John Paul II from the priesthood because of his involvement in the Nicaraguan Revolution. Miguel was reinstated 29 years later by Pope Francis, who many view as a kindred spirit to Miguel.

There is an object lesson here for all of us: in a political crisis the moral imperative of service to people and ideals deserves precedence over blind obedience to even a cherished and hallowed institution. This would undoubtedly almost always pose a difficult and painful choice, but it was one that defined Father Miguel d’Escoto at the core of his being, which he expressed over and over by doing the right thing in a spirit of love and humility, but also in a manner that left no one doubting his firmness, his affinities and commitments, as well as his unwavering and abiding convictions.

As I suggested at the outset, the daring and creativity that Father Miguel brought to the law and to his work at the UN sprung from spiritual roots that were deeply grounded in both religious tradition and in an unshakable solidarity with those among us who are poor, vulnerable, oppressed, and victimized. For Miguel spirituality did not primarily equate with peace, but rather with justice and an accompanying uncompromising and lifelong struggle on behalf of what was right and righteous in every social context, whether personal or global.

There is no assurance that this way of believing and acting will control every development in the world or even control the ultimate destiny of the human species. Humanity retains the freedom to fail, which could mean extinction in the foreseeable future.The happy ending of the Nicaragua case needs to be balanced against the prolonged and tragic ordeal of the Palestinian people for which there is still no end in sight. Beyond wins and losses, what I think should be clear is that unless many more of us become attentive to the horizons of spirituality and necessity the outlook for the human future is presently bleak. Father Miguel d’Escoto’s disavowal of the domain of the feasible is assuredly not the only way to serve humanity, but it is a most inspiring way, and points us all in a direction that is underrepresented in the operations of governments and other public institutions, not to mention during the speculative frenzies on Wall Street and the backrooms of hedge fund offices.

In my language, Father Miguel d’Escoto was one of the great citizen pilgrims of our time. His life was a continuous journey toward what St. Paul called ‘a better city, a heavenly city’ to manage and shape the totality of life on Planet Earth.

World’s Largest Tropical Reforestation to Plant 73 Million Trees in Brazilian Amazon


An article from Ecowatch

The largest tropical reforestation effort in history aims to restore 73 million trees in the Brazilian Amazon by 2023. The multimillion dollar, six-year project, led by Conservation International, spans 30,000 hectares of land—the equivalent of the size of 30,000 soccer fields, or nearly 70,000 acres. The effort will help Brazil move towards its Paris agreement target of reforesting 12 million hectares of land by 2030.

“This is a breathtakingly audacious project,” Dr. M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, said in a statement. “Together with an alliance of partners, we are undertaking the largest tropical forest restoration project in the world, driving down the cost of restoration in the process. The fate of the Amazon depends on getting this right—as do the region’s 25 million residents, its countless species and the climate of our planet.”

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, home to indigenous communities and an immense variety and richness of biodiversity. The latest survey detailed 381 new species discovered in 2014-2015 alone.

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Question for this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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But this precious land has been threatened by decades of commercial exploitation of natural resources, minerals and agribusiness, as Conservation International editorial director Bruno Vander Velde writes, “leading to about 20 percent of original forest cover to be replaced by pastures and agricultural crops, without securing the well-being of the local population.”

“The reforestation project fills an urgent need to develop the region’s economy without destroying its forests and ensuring the well-being of its people,” he notes.

Fast Company reports that instead of planting saplings—which is labor- and resource-intensive—the reforestation effort will involve the “muvuca” strategy, a Portuguese word that means many people in a small place. The strategy involves the spreading of seeds from more than 200 native forest species over every square meter of deforested land and allowing natural selection to weed out the weaker plants. As Fast Company notes, a 2014 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization and Bioversity International found that the muvuca technique allowed more than 90 percent of native tree species planted to germinate. Not only that, they especially resilient and suited to survive drought conditions for up to six months.

According to Rodrigo Medeiros, vice president of Conservation International’s Brazil office, priority areas for the restoration effort include southern Amazonas, Rondônia, Acre, Pará and the Xingu watershed. Restoration activities will include the enrichment of existing secondary forest areas, sowing of selected native species, and, when necessary, direct planting of native species, Medeiros said.

The Brazilian Ministry of Environment, the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank, the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund, and Rock in Rio’s environmental arm “Amazonia Live” are also partners in this effort.

Colombia: Envigado inaugurates mediation center for the community


An article from 360 Radio (translated by CPNN)

The Personería Municipal [municipal ombudsman] of Envigado, headed by Virginia López Flórez, inaugurated the new mediation center for the community, with which they will seek to provide greater solutions when resolving conflicts between citizens.

“The Center contributes to a culture of peace and tolerance, so that people settle their disputes in a peaceful and respectful way, returning to dialogue and dignified treatment with the help of an impartial third-person mediator. We seek to serve people from strata 1 and 2 who do not have the resources to pay a mediator in a private center,” according to a municipal representative.

The Mayor of Envigado, Raúl Cardona, who supported the initiative, was also present at the inauguration. “Now, the Envigadeños have another place to reconcile which is totally free. Obviously this will greatly improve relations and coexistence and make it easier to solve problems,” the Mayor told 360 Radio.

“We are the second municipality in the Aburrá Valley that has such a center and one of 8 at a national level. This helps ensure that small conflicts do not go to the judicial system and delay it. Whether we like the peace process or not, the country has to start to change and prevent conflicts from escalating into violence,” said Jorge Correa, president of the Envigado Council.

(click here for the original Spanish version)

Question for this article:

Challenge in Colombia: Peace displacing violence as inspiration for the arts


An article By Camila Pinzón Mendoza for Huffington Post (translated by CPNN and reprinted according to the principles of “fair use”)

Colombian artists, filmmakers, musicians, playwrights and writers have a new challenge: to create peace instead of violence. At least if the agreements between the government and the guerrillas are complied with and respected. This is an interval of time without precedient for the Colombians for which they are not only witnesses but also creators. Two centuries of violence have defined their ways of feeling, thinking, living and inspired some of their best works of art, but today is a new time, the time of post-agreement .

Scene from the official trailer at El Fin de la Guerra

Living in a country without war brings to Colombians new ways of thinking, of narrating and of living. It’s a paradigm shift since the signing of the peace agreement with the FARC, on November 24, 2016, a transit scenario. This will be explored and reflected in the Neiva Cinexcusa Film Festival between the 23rd and 27th of October. It is the most important cinematographic and cultural meeting of the department of Huila and southern Colombia, a multidisciplinary event that involves literature, music, journalism and social sciences.

“We came from an overdose of film about drug trafficking and characters built in molds and clichés,” says Luis Eduardo Manrique Rivas, director of Cinexcusa. “Maybe,” he adds, “this is the time to tell stories with more real and current characters in more intimate environments that generate identification.” In this direction, the film Pariente, which will premiere at the Festival, will represent Colombia at the Oscars of 2018. The film talks about the enemies of peace. It tells the story of Willington’s love for Mariana while the rumor of a thief in the streets and a series of violent deaths bring back the memories of fear through “rural characters who are complex, contradictory and in dispute about the lack of love and of course, violence.”

“The territory of literature exists between history and myth,” reflects Daniel Ferreira (Colombia, 1981), a guest writer at the Festival. For the writer, “the torn opening of reality allows the past to become central, ordering the past and its contradictions with another sense in a distanced way that provides clairvoyance for the future”. Ferreira is the author of the novel, Viaje al interior de un gota de sangre (Alfaguara, 2017), recently published, in which he reconstructs a massacre through the voices of the victims and for whom “there are no collective, only individual truths”.

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(Click here for the original Spanish version of this article.)

Question for this article:

Film festivals that promote a culture of peace, Do you know of others?

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

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For twelve years now, Cinexcusa has addressed through the arts, the social and political problems of Colombia and the world, such as mistreatment of women, Nazism and the armed conflict of the country. Through Cinexcusa have passed authors like the Colombian Alfredo Molano, who has dedicated his life to narrate the history of violence in Colombia in books such as “Los años del tropel: relatos de la violencia,” “Trochas y fusiles,” and his most recent, “A lomo de mula.” Last year, the Argentinean Andrés Neuman, was invited and he brought the individual and collective experiences that he explores in”Una vez Argentina”. Two years ago the guest was the Argentine chronicler Josefina Licitra, who has narrated the memory of the devastated of the tragedy of Epecué in his book, “El agua mala, un episodio similar al ocurrido en Armero”. Other participating authors have included Manuel Rivas, Lucrecia Martel and Leila Guerriero.

During these five days there will be more than 30 activities, with 28 guests and 22 films, including feature films and short films, in 12 public settings in Neiva. Neiva, a city in the south of the country on the banks of the Magdalena River, has been an unavoidable place of passage, a strategic enclave for the support of the armies: a place of war. Now it is celebrated as an encounter of art, culture, peace.

The central theme of the projections of this 12th edition is the post-agreement. Thirteen films on this theme make up the bulk of the program, which also includes participation by the directors themselves or experts who open the debate, such as the director of Pariente, Iván Gaona, the well-known actor Álvaro Rodríguez and the film critic Augusto Bernal. With the purpose of providing a panorama of the national filmography, there is also the section of “Colombian Cinema”, a space to talk with the creators about their creation processes and experiences during the shooting. There is also a sample of short films, which has become a national contest, to disseminate and stimulate audiovisual projects, and a sample of films that are screened in several schools in the city, called “Cinema on the board”, which seeks to bring the cinema to the classrooms.

You are invited to look at some of the films that will be screened at Cinexcusa, a light on the contexts of war and post-conflict. Click here and scroll down for film trailers.

USA/Ecuador: Film festival to present story of roots, nature


An article from Red Rock News

“The Roots Awaken” is a hopeful story about how indigenous communities — despite their differences in traditions — are connected to each other through their sacred relationship with nature.

The Sedona International Film Festival presents a free film screening of “The Roots Awaken,” featuring an introduction and Q-and-A with the film’s director, Kumiko Hayashi. This one-time-only screening will be held at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. Free tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

(click on photo to enlarge)

“The Roots Awaken” is a documentary film that reveals how diverse indigenous communities from the Andes mountains to the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador are united at heart through their prayer to protect their land and maintain their culture in a globalized world. The film is a hopeful story about how indigenous communities — despite their differences in traditions — are connected to each other through their sacred relationship with nature.

Told through the narration of a young woman, the film begins as people from South to North America gather together at the Kumbre Konciencia Global, which takes place on an ancient pyramid located on 0’0”, Cochasqui, Ecuador.

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Question for discussion

The understanding of indigenous peoples, Can it help us cultivate a culture of peace?

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This gathering was an assembly to create a culture of peace surrounding the topics of ancestral medicine, technology and nature. From the gathering, we follow the ceremonies of each community as they pray to maintain their culture and sacred traditions in the face of globalization and to resist big companies in protection of their territory.

In this increasingly fast-paced world, how do the elders pass on their ancient wisdom to the youth? From Ayahuasca ceremonies in the depths of the Amazon rainforest, to protests using music in the streets of Quito, the film explores the importance of prayer in the presence of culture.

“The Roots Awaken” was made in collaboration with 12 indigenous communities in the country of Ecuador through a process of community cinema, where the individuals in the film participated in the production. The aim of the film is to support the indigenous communities that co-created the film and their movement to maintain their ancestral lands and cultures through new collaborative initiatives.

Part of the proceeds from the film will go directly to building an educational center in the Amazon rainforest for international guests to come and learn about medicinal plants and ancestral cultures.

Join us for a special free premiere of “The Roots Awaken” and a Q-and-A with Hayashi. This free screening was made possible with the generous support of Adele Sands.

“The Roots Awaken” will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 4 p.m. All tickets are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are available in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office; by calling 282-1177; or online at The theater and film festival office are located at 2030 W. SR 89A in West Sedona.