Colombians face violence just for going outside

May 23, 2022 by Noah Cassetto in Latin America

Since May 5, northern Colombia has been engulfed in armed strikes, organized by the infamous cartel the Clan del Golfo. The cartel told everyone in the area to keep out of sight, and anyone who disobeyed the lockdown orders faced dangerous retaliation from the cartel—The Washington Post reports that several people have been killed and significant property has been destroyed, including at least 187 vehicles. 

Christians have been unable to attend church because of the strikes. On Sunday, May 8, more than 2,000 churches were forced to cancel services to keep their congregations safe and avoid the cartel’s wrath.  

The cartel organized the armed strike following the extradition of its leader, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, to the United States. Although the Clan del Golfo originally declared the armed strike for four days, people are still unable to leave their houses. Even Mother’s Day, a major holiday in Colombia, came and went without its usual celebrations as people were forced to stay home. 

Armed strikes are not new for Colombia. In February 2022, guerilla fighters from the National Liberation Army, another rebel group, closed roads, bridges and other infrastructure across the country to protest the government’s policies leading up to legislative elections. Eight people were injured and dozens of vehicles were destroyed over the course of the three-day armed strike. 

The Clan del Golfo strikes come three weeks before the May 29 Colombian presidential elections. There are concerns that violence could escalate as the cartel seeks to assert its ambitions into the elections.

How to pray for Colombia 

Pray that God would protect the Colombian church. Pray that our brothers and sisters caught in the crossfire would be safe. 

Pray for peace in the coming weeks as elections begin. 

Pray for the Colombian branch of Open Doors, Visión Ágape, as lockdowns have made its work much more difficult. 

Pray for those who have lost income, food and other resources due to the lockdown. Pray that God would provide what families need.