Colombia

Living in Fear

Luis Sinistera lives with his family and his four children in a small community by the canal. “We live from fishing and from coconuts we turn into oil. We actually also tend to several fields a bit further up, but the path there is dangerous. We’ve already had to leave our village twice because armed groups were battling right in front of our doorstep. The conflict is damaging our local community. Here, we are actually a total of 15 families with 20 children. But after the last time we were driven away, not all came back. The conflict is damaging our local community. I hope someday peace really does reach us as well. I want my children to be able to go to school and get an education. I hope someday peace really does reach us as well.

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How Caritas International is Helping the Forgotten People in Colombia

Caritas International supports communities in various conflict regions in the north and southwest of Colombia. Because it is a Christian aid organization, the conflict parties consider Caritas to be politically neutral, which often makes it the only organization that can be active in this difficult environment. Alongside the communities, Caritas members develop self-protection plans for the people on site. They also offer various kinds of support to those affected by the conflict, including enabling displaced people to create vegetable gardens, caring for landmine victims, and supporting people returning to their homes.

  • Luis Sinistera is 32 years old and has four children. He hopes his children will someday be better off.

    Photo: caritas international

Background of the Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Colombia

The way it is now, the armed conflict in Colombia has been raging on since 1964. It is being fought out between the armed governmental forces (military and police), paramilitary groups and the Communist rebels of the FARC. Furthermore, not only the paramilitary, but also the FARC, will occasionally form an alliance with drug cartels in order to finance themselves. Ultimately, the root causes of the conflict lie in the enormous social inequality throughout the country, as well as in the corruption and inefficiency that have taken hold of its state’s institutions. In September 2016, after lengthy talks, the FARC and the Colombian government signed a peace agreement. It remains to be seen if this will improve living conditions for the Colombian population.

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