Looking back on the film screening and discussion on impunity in Latin America

On Sunday 26th of May, we held an event at the Utrecht library focusing on the struggle with impunity in Latin America, featuring the screening of the documentary “Chocolate de Paz”. We were joined by Ruby and Roviro from the peace community of San José de Apartadó and our Shelter City guest, Lola.

Marlinde Weener and Loïc Chartier kicked off the evening with an introduction to the Shelter City Utrecht project and shed light on PBI and our mission. By hosting this event, we aimed to raise awareness about the current situation faced by rural communities in Colombia and the general degree of impunity in Latin America. Nearly all seats were filled, showing the remarkable interest from the audience.

Following the introduction, we introduced our Shelter City Utrecht guest, Lola, to the audience through a short animation video made by Linda van Bruggen. In the documentary, Lola shared insights into her journey as a Human Rights defender, the challenges faced, her hopes for the future, and how her stay in Utrecht reinvigorated her commitment to his work. After the film screening the animation was published on YouTube.

After this, it was time to introduce our Colombian guests, Ruby and Roviro. The two of them presented their community, its concept, convictions, and fight for survival. The two of them also discussed the challenges faced due to opposition from government actors, paramilitaries and the military. They also introduced the documentary, “Chocolate de Paz” which was filmed in their community. 

Then came the time to watch the documentary. “Chocolate de Paz” was produced by Gwen Burnyeat and Pablo Mejía Trujillo and depicts the Peace Community of San José de Apartadó’s experiences of resistance, via a journey through their processes of organic chocolate production. From the seed to the product, the cacao is the narrative thread that takes us through the Community’s stories of violence and resilience, and their fight to remain neutral in the face of the Colombian armed conflict. This film offers a panorama of hope, proof that despite great difficulties it is possible to sow peace through human and economic relationships. It invites us to rethink our relationship with food, to value the efforts of those who produce it, and to build bridges between the victims of the armed conflict and other sectors of global civil society.

After the film screening, we initiated a discussion moderated by Marlinde and Loïc, with Lola, Ruby and Roviro as panellists. Ruby and Roviro provided insights into the situation in Colombia, while Lola offered perspectives on the issue of impunity in Venezuela.

The discussion was followed by a Q&A session, where the audience had the opportunity to engage with all our guests, asking questions and sharing their thoughts. Additionally, we invited the audience to write personal messages to our panellists on postcards, offering them support and solidarity to take back home. The messages were heartwarming!

A special thanks goes out to Linda van Bruggen, the maker of the short animation video about Lola, Emilia Guzman and Mar Oller Sigró, the two translators, and all of our wonderful PBI volunteers who put so much of their energy into making this evening a success! Last, but certainly not least, thank you to our partners Municipality of UtrechtJustice & Peace Nederland, the Shelter City projectHuman Rights UtrechtThe Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (SIM) and Bibliotheek Utrecht.

Aftermovie made by Jasmijn Verkaik and Sam Wiegers who joined our team through the Sprint programme of NJR (Nationale Jeugd Raad)