This blog was first published on December 18, 2013 on Fellowship of Reconciliation's blog . You can read the original here.
Looking at Paraguay through Colombian eyes
Sitting under a tree in humid 90-degree weather and surrounded by a sea of soy fields in Tucautí Poty, I couldn’t help but think how familiar and yet unknown this place was to me. There is something unique in this landlocked country, in the heart of South America, where peasant and indigenous people’s main language is Guaraní, and Spanish speakers like myself need interpretation. Where the Cold War military dictatorship lasted several decades longer than in other countries in the region: General Alfredo Stroessner’s sanguinary rule lasted from 1954 until 1989.
Yet I found communities and groups very similar to those of my birth country of Colombia, fighting inequality, struggling for a piece of land to grow the crops they have grown for centuries; communities organized and committed to nonviolence. As in Colombia, groups are facing repression in a highly militarized territory. Yet, I was still shocked to see how overt the repression is in Paraguay and how spaces for nonviolence are closing.