«We have to be lookouts for hope»: Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas


In the face of constant news about what is happening in Colombia, how can some people remain hopeful? The following is a reflection of a social leader, Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas, who has worked for more than fifty-five years promoting peace and defending human rights in Colombia. It is an invitation to keep hope alive. Lee este artículo en español.


By Ricardo Esquivia Ballestas [Sembrandopaz Director]
Translated by Lillian Hall
Edited by Daniela Moreno Ramírez

We have to transform ourselves into guides of hope. Lookouts for hope are responsible for finding the positive where everyone sees the negative, using residual math not the math of zero. 

The math of zero is this: when I multiply something by zero, it always gives zero. It can be ten billion dollars times zero and it will give zero. Sometimes we have the tendency to say ‘it can’t be done’, ‘that’s bad’, ‘the government’s no good’, ‘politicians are corrupt’. That is the math of zero.

In contrast, residual math occurs when there is at least a decimal point. In residual math, if you multiply something by 000.1, it will always give you a bit more. Buddha once said if you add a bit to a bit over time, it will eventually become a lot. So, the role of the lookouts for hope is to keep hope alive. It’s imperative to take small steps. 

In Colombia, on the one hand, we have to understand that the peace accords are not peace; they are a step towards peace, but they are not peace. Peace has to be built. On the other hand, we must understand that the State does not have all the answers or the resources to make peace. 

There is no doubt that the people who decided to give up their weapons and do politics without weapons are not angels. These are people who have lived in war for years and are not used to living in civil society. Clearly, they, who spent decades in the jungle, need to re-organize. Many of them do not know how to work or have not finished high school, because neither in the jungle nor in the war is there high school.

The government must provide them with economic assistance so they can do new projects and sustain themselves for a while. Otherwise, they will have to leave, and if all they know is war, they will return to it.

One must understand that peace can only be built by everyone contributing little by little. But, more importantly, we need to believe that we can see the seed and tree growth. These actions develop us, strengthen us, and give us the hope that we can escape this nightmare.

It is for this reason that we must become lookouts for hope.

Este artículo ha sido traducido del original en español por Lillian Hall y editado por Daniela Moreno.

Para conocer más sobre los Montes de María, visita: https://diariodepaz.com/portfolio/especial-montes-de-maria-colombia/

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En Diario de Paz Colombia pensamos al país de manera constructiva. Difundimos textos que invitan a conocer y a reflexionar sobre la realidad nacional y que, desde diversas áreas y perspectivas, promueven una cultura de paz. ¡Escribe con nosotros! Envía tu colaboración a editores@diariodepaz.com. Leer nos une.

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