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SUMMER, 2000: Volume 5 Issue 2

CPT Team Joins Las Abejas in Lenten Presence on Military Base from CPTNet accounts

For five weeks, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams’ (CPT) Chiapas team accompanied members of Las Abejas (The Bees), a Mayan Indian group that is committed to nonviolent action, in their presence at a civic action camp of the Mexican Army located half a kilometer from the settlement of over 1000 displaced Abejas near X’oyep. (See Las Abejas: Nonviolence on the Line, PTNv3i2.)

Las Abejas is the group of people who suffered the massacre of forty-five of their members in December, 1997, while they prayed and fasted in Acteal. Thousands of them have been forced to flee from their homes because of paramilitary threats in the counties of Chenalho and Polho. As part of a “winning hearts and minds” strategy of the Mexican Army, thirty to fifty soldiers have taken over land near one of the displaced people’s settlements, and offer food, medical and dental attention, and other services, which the  people have refused. Previously, Abejas have entered the camp area and planted corn there, reclaiming the land for themselves and life.

After Ash Wednesday, they entered the camp, constructed a shelter of blue tarps (exactly like the shelters the displaced people are living in) and began presence that included at least three CPTers and three to ten Abejas who were fasting and praying every four hours around the clock. On Easter, they rearranged the white rocks that mark the helipad to say “Paz” (peace). They engaged in many conversations with (somewhat puzzled) soldiers and officers, consistently asking them to lay down their arms and leave the land. The presence remained peaceful, as was Las Abejas’ departure after Easter services. But they plan to return to tend and harvest their corn. 

For more information regarding CPT and its projects in Chiapas, Mexico; Hebron, West Bank; Vieques, Puerto Rico; and Burnt Church, New Brunswick, see: www.prairienet.org/cpt/. A Calendar link has the dates and sites of upcoming short-term teams (delegations), and CPTNet has detailed stories about their work.


For more on Las Abejas see PTNv5i3, Fall 2000.

 

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