Colombia ? CINEP: from death to life?

Colombia, wracked by forty years of war between paramilitary forces and guerrilla fighters struggling to gain possession of land, is grievously weakened by social inequalities and by traffic in narcotics. While 60 percent of the people languish below the poverty line, the drug market in the US ensures that this traffic flourishes, and the money obtained from this death trade goes to sustain the war. Negotiations in the past resulted in the dismantling of some of the paramilitary organisations, but now the new Government policy against what is labelled ?terrorism? has only raised the cost of weaponry, again with US support. The Centre of Research and People Education (CINEP) acts in such a situation as best it can. It offers humanitarian assistance to farmers and fishermen who migrated to the north and who can?t, or won?t, return to their original homes. This takes the form of psychological counselling, organisation of communities, production projects and commercial enterprises. To help avoid regional conflicts CINEP creates small networks: of farmers to organise opposition to the takeover of lands; of women to improve family life; and of communities according to regions. It also offers a programme to protect social leaders and those working for human rights. Finally, CINEP attempts to deal with regional conflicts through research into their causes and historical development, and through the legal systematisation of social and human rights. [HL31104] Director Fr. Alejandro Angulo SJ ; website