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De-Mobilizing Gang Members

Claude AnShin Thomas will visit the Buffalo area next month. Here's another email from his trip to Columbia where he visited young people trying to get out of the 7,000 member gang named Combus.


Fri, October 1, 2010 11:04:50 PM

(Communa 13)


Dear Fred

  Thank you for your e-mail and thank you for keeping KenShin and I in your thoughts. We arrived back in Bogota yesterday morning - Thursday, 30 September 2010. 

The trip to Medellin was both very important and extremely necessary. From all intents and purposes it was also very successful.

     When we arrived in Medellin we were picked up by a driver. I was sitting in the back seat, together with KenShin. The vehicle was some sort of Chevrolet Cross - over. I was sitting behind the passenger seat. At a moment I looked up and noticed that the driver had an Israeli 9mm revolver tucked under his thigh which immediately brought me into some discomfort. After sitting with the circumstances in a heightened state of awareness I asked the person who is hosting us and who made all of the arrangements in Medellin, Ricardo Correa, what was up with the 9mm.

     Ricardo explained that he was not only a driver but a body guard and it was his custom to carry a gun all of the time. This driver stayed with us until about mid day then another driver took his place, one who was unarmed.

     It seems that the one of the people who was responsible or very interested in bringing me to Medellin was someone who I had met last year. He is the director of a Foundation who is committed in demobilizing one of the largest gangs in Colombia, Combus. They boast a membership of 7,000 and all are armed.

     Anyway, the day before we arrived in Medellin, Francisco received a death threat, therefore the body guard and police protection.

     The time in Comuna 13 went very well. All of the people who were there for the meeting were members of Combus who had made a decision to demobilize. The neighborhood is rough and I never felt unsafe, however, I was in a high state of alert, paying attention and making contact where and how I could with all of the people in the talk to determine wether they were armed or not. I found out later though that they are not permitted to bring weapons into the facility where the talk/meeting was held.

      Just now though I will close here as I want to get some rest. I will facilitate 2 days of meditation practice this weekend and then I will be on my way to Ecuador. 

      I look forward to our next contact - so, until then.


With Much Care and

Respect - In Gassho:


Claude AnShin

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