Pablo Iván Galvis Díaz

Librarian for Peace during 2017 in the village of Las Morras
and in the Transitory Point of Normalization of the FARC Mira Valle,
both of which are located in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán,
Caquetá, Colombia.

    Pablo, sociologist and Master of Anthropology, tells us:
    "As a schoolteacher and as a social researcher, I have tried to open roads, different ways of approaching the identities marked by the armed conflict and build territory in the middle of a place "Without God or law."
    I wish to continue building historical memory archives from the local memory center of San Vicente del Caguán, which will contribute to a broader panorama of what people have experienced in these national territories: Presence of insurgent groups, place of cultivation, commerce and transport of 'coca', clearing grounds for the peace process, Colombian Amazonia run over by oil exploitation and insurgent discourses.
    Through research, the construction of social and literary theories, I help define the paths of these territories that have experienced the war and whose experience has left indelible marks on each of their inhabitants. It is also my desire to continue in the Caguán to provide the ability to continue building projects of identity, memory and inclusion in a region that is preparing to be a model of coexistence and reintegration after more than fifty years of war.
    I want to build peace from the classroom, social theory and the platforms of collective construction of historical memory. I wish from my social work as a teacher to continue strengthening the practice of reading (I am the applicant of the winning library of the 2015 National Library Prize, representing a group of friends of the library of San Vicente del Caguán), and as a writer to continue to contribute to the historical memory of my country (Books: Narrativas de vida, dolor y utopías, jóvenes y conflicto armado en Colombia, Editorial Universidad De La Salle, 2014, ISBN 978-958-8844-28-2. Dios lo manda y el diablo lo susurra, cuentos y diarios a orillas del Caguán, 2016, La Salle, ISBN 978-958-59270-5-6). Book chapter: "Etnografías contemporáneas III, el uso de la narrativa en la investigación social", Chapter, "Nando: rituales de la guerra en el Caguán", UNAL, 2016).
    I worked as peace librarian in the village of Las Morras and at the Transitional Normalization Point of the FARC in Miravalle, San Vicente del Caguán, in the Librarians for Peace project of the Ministry of Culture.

Where is the vereda of Las Morras?

Coexistencia. Construyendo un camino juntos. (Coexistence. Building a path together) (4 minutes)

The village of Las Morras is one of the 287 districts of the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán. It is located 151 km northeast of Florencia, the departmental capital, and an hour and a half from the urban center of San Vicente del Caguán. It is bathed by the Caguán and Yarí rivers. The municipality of San Vicente has approximately 57,000 inhabitants. It was a neuralgic center of guerrilla and paramilitary violence.
"Before the bombing and the conflict, the animals died or left," says Doña Dalia Campo Soto, in the village of Las Morras, (San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá). Her tears flow when she remebers the times of war, the fear and the pain of those days.
As is the case in many parts of Colombia, the inhabitants of this "vereda" now enjoy again the presence of wild animals that the conflict also displaced.
"They sought refuge elsewhere. Now, it is very beautiful. One goes out and sees macaws, parrots, cajuches (wild pig), monkeys, armadillos ... They are already returning to their land," says Doña Dalia.
While we drink the coffee Doña Dalia offers us, she points out that thanks to the peace process it is now more beautiful to live in Las Morras, not only because fear has already passed, but because the animals have returned, completing the paradisiacal landscape of Las Morras.

Escrito por: Laura Santamaría, Oficial de Información Pública, regional Florencia
–Written by Laura Santamaría, Public Information Officer, regional Florence UN Mission in Colombia, May 2017.



"Senderos de Paz" (Trails of Peace)
Ways of telling local stories and forming narratives, an instrument of reconciliation and recognition
An 11-minute documentary that must be seen!!


Mobile Public Library of Las Morras. May 2, 2017


Pablo "rapping"


Work at the Rural Public Library of Las Morras

"A former combatant looks with nostalgia and bewilderment as they take weaponry from the transitory point where he is grouped for reinsertion into civilian life, and he lets out a scream that resounds in the depths of the Pato River: 'It is not by chance that the day when the books arrive, the weapons are gone.'

Legend has it... that twenty rural libraries arrived at the most unlikely places of "deep Colombia" and initiated processes of reading, writing, reconciliation and coexistence with the peasant communities and with the ex-combatants of the FARC.

Twenty librarians, plural in their practices, but with the same spirit of freedom to transform the realities of the armed conflict, set out in 2017 to visit the most rugged places of the geography of our country, to develop the Ministry of Culture and National Library's Libraries for Peace project.

One of these zones of Colombian rural life, San Vicente del Caguán, was the scene of encounters and disagreements based on the books that were produced in the communities that lived through the armed conflict, and from within the transitory normalization zones of the FARC, in the first year of implementation of the peace agreements.

A challenge that at the time awoke the most common fears when thinking about living in the periphery of Colombia and encouraged the librarians to be pioneers of this titanic task of settling part of the historical debts with the peasantry of our country. And this is how this adventure of books, peasants, writings, librarians, hopes, ex-combatants, peace and reconciliation began ..."

Section of the article published by Pablo Iván Galvis Díaz in El Espectador on May 6, 2018. See the full article here

Listen, Dialogue and Write: The librarian who promotes "farctastic" narratives

"...In Mira Valle, sitting around a long table, several guerrillas listen to the story that Kevin has written in his notebook: "El 'viejito' de Ithaca had 14 children with María. One morning she woke up to realize that she was missing a leg and saw that, by the door of her house, the frog that was carrying it in its mouth disappeared."

Galvis begins the "farctástica writing workshops" that he imparts to the ex-combatants of Mira Valle with his traditional 'retell the legend.' After hearing the story of the day, the members of the FARC compete in a group dynamic at the end of which they begin to write their own stories.

"Through the writing of their memories and their creations we want to accompany processes of writing, creation and reading aloud" says Galvis who, in addition to providing all the services of the mobile library, is also responsible for training two librarians, one on the road and the other at the transitory point, with the hope that someday, both can take charge of the collection that the Ministry of Culture and the National Library sent.

In another of the stories that came out of the workshops, a girl comes to school without shoes. The teacher tells her that she cannot be received at school that way, and she decides to leave with the FARC. Years later, the same girl is sitting in a library learning to tell stories.

"That story touched me a lot," recalls Galvis, "Two months ago, I went to work with FARC fighters and now I am sharing my life with human beings who have a world to tell. Little by little, the camouflaged one is disappearing and peasants who were in the war are leaving because they had no other option."

See the full article here published in El Espectador May 20, 2017.

The Library and literature

Pablo has two published books and two others in the making. The published books are the fruit of his experiences in San Vicente del Caguán, where he arrived in 2013 as a teacher, with the goal of doing an investigation on the armed conflict that has affected that area of the Department of Caquetá.
From the work in the classroom and collaboration in the public library, Pablo focused on three lines of work that gave him great results. The first refers to historical memory, recording what happened in the Caguán, the relationship between people and armed groups and the demilitarized zone. The second line was the promotion of critical reading in the "veredas", and the third was the reconstruction of local memory from the stories of older adults.
Pablo has organized creative writing workshops, using the short story and personal diaries as strategies to train his students. You can consult an excerpt from his most recent book, which is ready to be published, and another excerpt from the book composed from the writing workshops carried out with veteran ex-combatants of the Teófilo Forero column.
You can also read a personal journal published in the magazine A Las Orillas del rio on July 6, 2018, or the draft of his personal diary about the first day of the reopening of the Morras Public Library, after four months of closure due to violence in the region.
You can also consult the article published after the visit of writer Alfredo Molano to San Vicente del Caguán.

Clara Inés Campos Perdomo Public Library Wins the 2015 Daniel Samper Ortega Prize

Before branching out to Las Morras, Pablo worked at the Clara Inés Campos Perdomo Public Library in San Vicente del Caguán (Caquetea). As a member of this library's Group of Friends, he was the principal applicant to the 2015 Daniel Samper Ortega Prize. Thanks to his efforts, the library was awarded the prize and became a national model in areas such as historical memory, rural extension and collective identity.

The following video sums up the experience of this library, highlighting how "in a town stigmatized by armed conflict ... the Clara Inés Campos Perdomo Public Library emerges as a neutral space where reading and recovering local memory work together to erase the footprints that the past has left behind."

"Premio Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas Daniel Samper Ortega, Biblioteca Pública Clara Inés Campos Perdomo",
September 1, 2015