Colombia: Nights of Peace planned for December in the neighborhoods of Cúcuta


An article from Caracol

Achieving peace has been for years the great dream of nations around the world, a collective utopia that includes the wisdom of the ancestors and the hope of the new generations. Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize such as the Dalai Lama, David Beasley of the World Food Program, and even the former president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, have stated in their speeches that there are multiple paths to achieve peace: with access to food for all, with nonviolent actions that generate changes, with the disarmament of illegal groups, and a large number of etceteras that trace an imaginary path of peace and freedom.

With great or little rigor, some countries have been working on it. Some Colombian cities such as Cúcuta, historically affected by armed conflict, are undertaking strategies that benefit collectives, entrepreneurs, diverse population groups, provide individual services such as attention to the victims of the conflict. This leads to mass events such as the Nights of Peace that for the second consecutive year is planned for all the city’s neighborhoods during the month of December.

(continued on right column)

Questions related to this article:

What is happening in Colombia, Is peace possible?

Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

(continued from left column)

“Recognizing the historical memory of our municipality and understanding the social context in which the different communes live, we decided to continue this year with the strategy called Peaceful Nights. It consists of visiting the neighborhoods of Cúcuta and adjoining rural area for 17 days, with different entertainments including theatrical presentation, puppet shows, musical acts and, of course, the prayer of the Novenas of Bonus. All these are framed under the message of the culture of peace and the promotion of the values of respect, forgiveness and reconciliation”, says Elisa Montoya, secretary of Post-Conflict and Culture of Peace of the Mayor’s Office of Cúcuta.

This year, the strategy began on December 1 and is already on day number 5, in which more than 1,200 people have participated, including children and adults. Juan Santos Omaña, coordinator of the initiative explains that: “So far we have visited neighborhoods that have historically had to face situations of armed conflict; We have reached places like Ciudad Rodeo, Motilones, Simón Bolívar, San Martín and Cuberos Niño, and the acceptance has been surprising. Every day there are more than 250 people who live with us the Nights of Peace”.

In the coming days, this strategy of the Municipal Mayor’s Office will reach the neighborhoods: Nuevo Horizonte, Aeropuerto, Guaimaral, El Bosque, Santa Clara, Pizarro, Manuela Beltrán, Santander, García Herreros, Prados del Este, El Llano, La Conquista and al corregimiento of Banco de Arena. Those interested in participating in this free event can learn about the daily schedule through the social networks of the Secretariat for Post-Conflict and Culture of Peace, which can be found as @secposconflictocucuta on Instagram and Facebook.

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