Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Meeting Ricardo

I'd like you all to meet the man who got me to go to Colombia. (Or at least one of them.) Ricardo Esquivia is a lawyer-turned-organizer who has created some very impressive church networks and NGOs. He is currently working in the Montes de Maria region of Colombia, which is a flashpoint on the touchy subject of paramilitary demobilization. Part of the reason I went on this trip was to get to meet him. I've heard a bit about him and his work over the last few years.

A few years ago, one of a number of times when Ricardo's life was in danger due to his work, I received a request to write letters to the Colombian government on his behalf. It was a big moment on this trip when he talked to us about his experiences surviving night raids and arrest. Afterwards I was able to thank him for the opportunity to make his acquaintance. Over the last 15 years I've written a lot of letters to a lot of different countries hoping they might help save an activist's life, but Ricardo is the only person on whose behalf I've written whom I've ever met afterwards.

Here's a photo and article about a peacemaking award he received last year:

This link, to an interview in which he talks a lot about water, has a photo of him with Barbara Gerlach, a UCC minister in Washington who helped lead our delegation:


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