Dipaz delegation in Cali, Colombia

Today, 18 May, our Dipaz delegation is having the second day of visits, accompanying the people of Cali in the streets. Yesterday we visited four protest points out of about 30 that people have organized.

We visited Meléndez, UniValle, Loma de la Dignidad and Siloé. In each one, we listen to their stories, we talk, we try to understand their dreams, their struggles, why their resistance and persistence in this strike.

We learned about their organizational forms; there are boys and girls putting their chests ready to receive the indolence of the government in their bodies. In their faces, I saw fear and mistrust, but also the firmness of their political convictions, family, loyalty to their friends, friends, neighbors, colleagues murdered by the brutality of the public force, their dreams of a better country. And in the middle of criminal gangs of drug trafficking and micro-trafficking. 

What is happening is terribly painful. The voices of the people we met say:

We cannot take it anymore.”

This city has to change.”

The rich cannot continue to be indolent in the face of the suffering and misery of others.”

"Injustice must end.”

We need leaders who rule with justice.”

The majority of young people, students, women, mothers are committed to their causes. Communities committed to defending those who are on the street but who also show signs of fatigue in the face of reality. Neighbors who have attacked them. High-end trucks that threaten them with their weapons. Shots in the air. The public force attacking them with their lethal force.

The communities around us saw each other. They know that those who protest are not alone. We brought them hope, we told them that God is accompanying them in their struggle, and we gave them words of encouragement in the midst of their struggle.

And we hope to arrive with support through solidarity aid projects, legal advice that protects the lives of those who are being delegitimized and singled out.

We invite our churches to continue praying and to accompany this situation with a solidarity and concrete presence, since the solution to this complex reality in our country seems uncertain.

About the author :

The Rev. Gloria Nohemy Ulloa Alvarado is the WCC president for Latin America and the Caribbean. She obtained a bachelor's degree in commercial studies, followed by theological studies at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia, and the Pontifical University Javeriana of Colombia, a master's degree in pedagogical processes. She served as a pastor, academic coordinator, and college chaplain and university president.

Her ecumenical engagement of more than three decades involved collaboration with the Latin American Council of Churches, and with the WCC for the creation of the Programme for Ecumenical Accompaniment in Colombia (PEAC).

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The impressions expressed in the blog posts are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.