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A week ago, on 30 May 2013, we got word from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia that Tito, one of the members of Las Pavas community in Colombia, had been attacked with machetes by workers for Aportes San Isidro, the palm oil company that has been trying to push the community of Las Pavas off their land for many years: 

He was walking from the farm back towards Las Pavas after fetching water for a meal. The security guards beat him using machetes, cutting one of his legs and his arm, kicking him in the head repeatedly, and insulting him.  They threatened his life and that of other community members and shot at him twice. Hearing the shots, Bladimir Alvear ran out to find Tito bleeding while the company guards ran away.  

This attack is an escalation of the pressure on this community that is deeply committed to nonviolence.  The Las Pavas leadership asked CPT to provide increased accompaniment for community members as they walk to and from their fields.

In Garzal, another community that the team accompanies, people witnessed the Barreto family, which contests the community's land rights, hosting members of the Urabeños paramilitary group.  One of Garzal's leaders has fled with his loved ones, and the remaining community members are terrified.  Paramilitary presence in an area often signals that deaths are follow.

Our team on the ground is already stretched thin and they have made an appeal to CPT reservists to support them.  We have people ready to go to Colombia if we can raise the funds. Can you contribute $10 now to make this possible?

These requests are just two of four that CPT has received in the last week.  On 8 June 2013, our Aboriginal Justice team sent a group of reservists to New Brunswick, Canada in response to an invitation 48 hours earlier from Elsipogtog First Nation. Mi'kmaq and Maliseet peoples have been using creative Nonviolent Direct Action to stop shale gas exploration on their traditional lands, including peacefully blockading a truck hired by the exploration company, SWN Resources Canada. 

In South Dakota, responding to a request from the Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way) International Justice Project, Christian Peacemaker Teams is renewing a relationship with Lakota communities by sending a Duane Ediger and Carol Rose to support a nonviolent direct action training on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota 14-16 June, in preparation for the community response if US President Barack Obama approves the Keystone XL pipeline.  Its proposed path crosses treaty lands of Lakota nations, which have published official statements, conducted public witnesses, and launched hunger strikes against the pipeline. 

Your donations provide exactly what CPT needs to respond creatively and powerfully to these calls from communities to build partnerships with them that transform the violence and oppression they face. Please consider making a special contribution beyond your current level of giving to respond to these urgent requests. Please also extend the invitation to people in your community, congregation, and family to contribute at this time (or regularly!).

At a time when industrial agriculture and resource extraction companies are pushing communities harder than ever, CPT comes alongside those using nonviolence in their struggle to live 'neath their vine and fig trees, in peace and unafraid.  If we truly believe that there are alternatives to violence, now is the time to step up. Donate and get involved here.

- Tim Nafziger, Assistant Director and Sarah Thompson, Outreach Coordinator

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