Open Letter to James Rodriguez

(Translated by David Van Den Brandt, a CSN Volunteer Translator)


Open letter to James Rodríguez: Let’s construct more hope, Let’s join together our willpower

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The goals we’ve described to you from posts on our twitter account in the recent [soccer] game with [Colombia against] Uruguay [in the 2014 World Cup] express the beauty, the result of the collective game, of individuality in harmony with the rest, of hard work, of discipline, and of perseverance.

From various places in Colombia…

James Rodriguez:
You express the lost values in the collective game, and we hope that publicity doesn’t ruin that. We hope that success and flattery don’t extinguish your soul. We don’t mean to moralize you, nor distract you. We want to express to you our great appreciation and hope—without caring about what may happen next Friday [July 4, 2014] or what may happen in this World Cup. What you and your team have already done is historic, learning from your matches with our brothers from Argentina and Costa Rica, Pékerman and Pinto, and getting along with the Brazilian people. That is a demonstration of the fact that soccer goes beyond our own nationality—it’s cooperation, it’s a meeting, it’s collective.

You and the entire national team are the expression of what we wish for country: plurality in a national project, a country in which difference is complementary. Such is the joy that will spring forth from a inclusive democracy, a democracy that respects the sources of life—water, trees, the páramo, and human beings. A democracy where no one is killed, tortured, disappeared, nor displaced for thinking about a new, more just country for all. A democracy where we are all important, including us, the rural inhabitants, just as in the national team where everyone contributes.

Even that individuality, as you express it, is maintained with a certain timidity and humility, and without arrogance to be just a goal scorer. You have expressed that new way of feeling, and not the way of an idolized super star, but rather one that in public and private is recognized along with a team. You know this well and you have said so—the work is everyone’s, even if you lead and score goals.

We write to you as more than 113 communities and organizations that live in regions where we still suffer human rights violations, where the armed conflict continues developing and therefore violations of humanitarian law, the life among combatants, civilians, and our property, continue to be committed. Here, private national and international companies unfortunately take advantage of the armed conflict to deny us and all Colombians many rights.

Many of us quadruple your age, while others are the same age as you, and still others are even younger. In CONPAZ [Comunidades construyendo paz / Communities Constructing Peace], we are white, mestizo, indigenous, and black. Our condition of being victims unites us. But above all, we are collective subjects with proposals for a peaceful country with social and environmental justice. In some of the places we live in, we know you for your voice, and therefore, we imagine you, since we don’t have access to a television. In other places, our communities have seen you. But no one can say—out of men and women, of all ages—that he or she has not heard about you. We are writing to you from remote places, where soccer balls are made from plastic bags and filled with waste, where the sport doesn’t have any support—just like the right to shelter, land and education all lack support. With those balls, which are made from what’s thrown in the garbage, we play. We play in Buenaventura, Cacarica, and Cuvaradó, in Putumayo, in el Meta, and on the Caribbean Coast.

When you weren’t more than seven years old, some of our communities had already been displaced. We had already gotten together as CONPAZ when you used to play soccer when you were little. We used to make, just a few years ago, “hashes” [a food dish] throughout our neighborhoods. Now they use the same word to refer to dismembering people.

We live in regions with incredibly high biodiversity, in climates similar to those of Brazil, and in regions where sackers continue to take possession of the land. In these territories, in which pain and destruction have flourished, in these unimagined places, we continue living and supporting you and the team. And given that a thousand and one expectations will come of you, we want to request of you, respectfully, that you help us to make possible a direct dialogue with several of our representatives, no more than 10, to converse with you for 30 minutes. It won’t be to ask for money or anything like that. We want to ask for your ethical support for a proposal for this country—a proposal for peace.

We await your response by email: or on twitter @CONPAZ_

With this meeting you will understand the importance of having given us your time and the importance of a possible second opportunity in which we may meet with Nayro Quitana, Rigoberto Urán, Julián Arredondo, Mariana Pajón, to contribute to this idea of a country of joy that we dream of for Colombia.

We thank you for your attention and await your response,

Communities Constructing Peace in Territories

(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)

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