A society that is devastated by the conflict surrounding its natural resources, territory, and autonomy for many long years has a telling tale to tell. The involvement of armed forces of the Department of Arauca in the nation’s turmoil has resulted in the travesty and loss of peace.
Arauca – Columbia, is located on the northeastern edge of Colombia bordering Venezuela, and was named after the indigenous people of Arauca. Being plain, it is frequently visited by flood.
The war that ravaged the small state is home to the Caño-Limón-Coveñas pipeline. What caused the conflict – poverty, joblessness and economic downturn are also the results of the war. Plus, people have had to suffer indignities including sexual violence and terror.
There is seen an emerging movement for peace and reconciliation but its effects on stability and violence hasn’t been seen to an appreciable extent.
What is the role of social organizations?
Stabilizing the society by re-weaving the social fabric has meant the involvement of citizens and not just organizations from across the border. A matter of increasing urgency is the need for policy makers in power to intervene with projects that seek to find answers to questions such as what will lead to economic progress and how it can be achieved.
Steps that the organizations can take:
- Holding workshops and involving the citizenry in decision making, while still maintaining governance authority is a step forward in that direction.
Shootouts, bombardments, continue despite peace efforts. However, can peace efforts be stalled?
The hope and effort of people from Citizens Commission for Reconciliation (CCRs) and the International Forum for Peace and Reconciliation in Arauca will help continue the process. The US Institute of Peace is also involved in the effort. Social organizations play a major role in stabilizing communities.
- Organizing events like dialogues, marches, concerts, meetings with highly participative crowds to create radio programs, print flyers, and formulate ideas to connect the education sector are part of the agenda of these organizations.
A national peace accord signed by the regions requires participation and following its own process to achieve the purpose it seeks to achieve.
Each region has a composition that is unique when it comes to demography. Taking into account its history, and diversity along with the local organizations’, Arauca can develop into a region with its unique identity.
- Political intervention can solve the problems of this region frequently marred by marginalization, and other events that threaten to disrupt normal life.
Such is the effect of the social organizations that people from the region have made efforts to interact in spite of the differences and lack of a clear sense of priority and purpose.
A region ravaged by wars will take time to heal. But the efforts should continue. This is what Jaramillo had to say, “If peace can be built in Arauca, it can be built anywhere” Social and armed conflict notwithstanding, the region wants peace. Let us help them have it.