The peace community San José de Apartadó
The peace community San José de Apartadó lies in Urabá (Antioquia) in the frontier area to Panama. The land is fertile, agriculturally valuable (bananas, cacao) and rich in mineral resources (oil, ores, carbon, gold); due to its geographical position it is strategically important for the communication lines between North and South America (inter- Oceanic canal and Pan-American Highway).
Because of its richness and its geographical position Antioquia has been hard-fought in a bloody conflict between military, police groups, para military and guerrilla for 40 years. The civil population are the victims of this conflict and constantly under threat by armed groups.
The warring parties follow “policy of burned soil” and try to make the hard-fought area uninhabitable. The defenceless farmers of the combat zone are accused of collaboration with the “other side” from all sides and are thereby declared outlaws.
Today, numerous peace initiatives exist in Colombia, amongst them 20 peace communities with about 12,000 inhabitants in war zones. They left the killing spiral thereby becoming targets of the death squats of the different armed conflict parties themselves.
They live in combat areas in permanent state of emergency. Most acutely threatened by elimination is the peace village San José de Apartadó.
The peace community San José de Apartadó is a rural community of about 1500 inhabitants and was established in 1997. They do not belong to any organisation, do not carry weapons, and are bound together through an unswerving ethic of peace. Yet they are in the way of the government and multinationals who want to push forward globalisation, and are therefore being brutally fought by the state. In the past thirteen years they have lost nearly 200 community members who were killed by the military, paramilitary and guerilla.
In 2005 the peace community San José de Apartadó began a deep cooperation with Tamera peace research centre in Portugal through the Global Campus project. The Global Campus is a world-wide education initiative to develop concrete living models in peace. With sites in Colombia ( San José), Palestine (The HolyLand Trust) and Portugal (Tamera) peace workers are offered training in developing social and community models, ecology, water management and sustainable energy technology.
The Global Campus have had 2 events in the peace community San José de Apartadó to date.