The Justice and Peace Intereclessiastical Commission (Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz) claims a seires of threats and intimidations were made against methodist pastor Luis Miguel Caviedes Moreno, who has been doing pastoral work supporting communities within the context of the National Strike, in particular, the community based on Siloé in Cali and Paso del Comercio. “For his humanitarian work on human rights, peace and spiritual counselling has been made the target of harassment and death threats,” it has been claimed
Here is the piece of news which tells the story of what happened:
For more than one month and a half, amongst different circumstances regarding his praxis as a pastor, actions have been identified with the intention to condemn his mission in behalf of life.
On Sunday, May 2nd , in Paso del Comercio (renamed as Paso del Aguante) on Street 66 section 1, around 3 pm, while Luis Miguel was engaged in conversations with spokesmen of the movement, two people dressed in grey shot their guns from a motorbike to the place where he was talking to some youngsters.
On Tuesday, May 11th’s afternoon a relative of Caviedes’ got a call from an unidentified woman asking if that was the pastor’s number.
Four days later during the evening, when Caviedes was at Siloé’s plaza, a group of boys approached him to warn him to be careful. According to them, a series of threats were being made against believers who stood by the resistance.
On Thursay, May 22, for three hours starting at 2 pm, at a relative of Caviedes’ store, a man dressed in jeans and a yellow shirt stood in front of the door. He typed on his pone and only asked later for an article of the store and left the momento he was about to be questioned for his behaviour.
On Friday, May 28th, at 3 pm, during the movements for the first month of National Strike setting off from Siloé’s plaza towards the Universidad del Valle, the pastor was addressed by a civilian who wanted to see his papers. Luis Miguel refused and the civilian identified himself as an agent of SIJIN. The officer checked the church ID and then returned to the precint in Cali20.
That same day at 5.30 pm, the pastor on his motorbike from the medical station of Siloé to the plaza, when a group of doctors shouted to warn him the moment they saw a group of civilians started shooting. The pastor Heard “Father, father, they are shooting,” he managed to stop and a bullet hit a vehicle just in front of him.
On Monday, May 31st, around 3.30 pm, at Siloé’s plaza, during the funeral of Maicol Aranda, who was murdered by the armed civilians who shot the past 28th May, a conflict between marchants and the police arose in before precinc Cali20.
Pastor Luis Miguel Caviedes interceded between the community and the police in order to ease the tension, given that the officers were pointing with their guns and a member of ESMAD threw a granade of pepper gas which hit a young boy who stood for the movement.
Even though the youngsters later left, and while the officers insisted on chasing after them, a cop who was at the entrance of precint Cali20, after observing Luis Miguel, made a threating gesture to him to show he was watching and that he would take the pastor to the precint.
On Wednesday, June 9th, between 8.30 am and 12 pm while the pastor was at a meeting, he left his bike in a Street in el Cortijo, Siloé. When he came back, he found the bike had a broken mirror and the gas tank had a leak.
On Saturday, June 19th, around 3.30 pm in El Temple, while Luis Miguel was in conversation with members of our Justice and Peace Comission, a grey vehicle with tinted windows with two men inside approached the place where they were talking twice. The situation became suspicious when one of the windows was lowered to better observe the group.
Luis Miguel, an expression of solidarity and the faith on Jesus, assumed the risk to support the defense of life of excluded and impovered communities who participated in the National Strike, focusing their efforts and the local methodist church’s on the protection of life, the seek for dialogue and the defense of the life of people and their families who are affected by torture, killings, sexual abuse and judicial persecution. The series of situations occurred under cover against his mission are indicators of its contributing to throw light over the mechanisms of governmental agression, and judicial and social impunity against the poor neighbourhoods of Cali.
The case of Luis Miguel reflects the absence of protection for practicing as a pastor and the defense of life from a spirituality based on human rights and peace.
The Colombian government has the duty to promptly adopt efficient measures to protect the legal and legitimate work, life, integrity and freedom and the quietness of Luis Miguel’s movements and his environment.