A woman of courage in Colombia

Yesterday we met with Lilia Solano, another woman of courage in Colombia.  It was great to see her in person and in her element. I hadn’t seen her since the recent death threats and attacks to the office of Justicia y Vida.   We were able to tell her that in Canada there was a huge response to the urgent action and grave concern about her safety and well-being.

Lilia spoke about the political and human rights context in Colombia.  I was so glad the delegation had an opportunity to hear her.  Her analysis is always so clear, her message so strong.  She described the reality faced by communities and social movements in Colombia, very different from the reality that is presented by the Colombian and Canadian governments.    She spoke about the importance of visits by the international community like our delegation who meet with communities and see this reality, not the international community that meets only with government and business.  She spoke of the strength and wisdom of the women’s movement in Colombia.  Women’s groups together with the Indigenous movement and other social movements in Colombia are struggling for buen estar – the right to well-being and life for all.  In Colombia this struggle has been criminalized.  People like Lilia who struggle to protect life, have their lives threatened.   Lilia ended by quoting an African saying , in Spanish Soy si, tu eres which I think translates to – I am if you are.   We are connected.  Our actions and in-actions affect others.

I was very moved by the delegates’ responses to Lilia.   To quote a few comments from our debriefing: “She validated my struggle.”  “ She has electricity- she is sparkling”,  “ She is now a huge part of my heart” “The words of my father came back to me here”.  I hope Lilia will read this and realize what an impact she is having

Today we are off to the regions after a meeting with the OFP.  I will go with Jill, Yolanda  and Theresa to Pasto in the South of Colombia.  John and MaireDo are off to Buenaventura on the Pacifica Coast.  We are missing Chantal.  In the next entry,  I hope you will hear from the delegates directly.

Filed in: Gender Justice/Women of Courage, Latin America

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