I: U'WA Thousands join blockade! March 9 Day of Solidarity!

Migliaia di Colombiani manifestano in appoggio alla resistenza degli indios
U'Wa in difesa del loro territorio contro lo sfruttamento dell'industria
petrolifera OXY. Negli USA è stata lanciata una campagna nazionale per il 9
marzo. Il maggior azionista della Fidelity Investiments finanziaria
associata alla oxy è il candidato alla presidenza degli Stati Uniti Al Gore.

>In the post :
>1. Uwa Defense Working Group press release - Feb 25
>2. U'wa communique - Feb 21 (ingles y espanol)
>3. El Tiempo article - Feb 22
>4. Orgaznie against Fidelity MARCH 9TH DAY OF SOLIDARITY!
>5. U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney supports the U'wa!
>FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2000
>CONTACTS: Lauren Sullivan, 415-398-4404 or Stephen Kretzmann,
>Atossa Soltani, 310-317-7045 or Martin Wagner (415) 627-6700 ext. 216
>Thousands of Colombians Resume Blockades Near Planned Oil Well Standoff
>With Oxy Escalating
>Solidarity March Today In Bogota
>Rallying behind the struggle of the U'wa people of Colombia, at least
>2,500 people have arrived during the past week in the small community of
>Gibraltar, in the department of North Santander. The town is
>approximately 6 kilometers from the site of the first well planned by
>Los-Angeles based Occidental Petroleum (Oxy). The campesinos, students,
>and union members have reportedly joined thousands of U'wa and other
>indigenous peoples in resuming the blockade of the main road to Oxy's
>well site.
>"They are maintaining the blockade of the road that leads to Pamplona
>and are taking shelter in the church, the schools and other sites," said
>César Hipólito Mora, the mayor of Cubará, a neighboring town according
>to Tuesday's edition of El Tiempo, a Colombian daily.
>The secretary of the local Association of Campesinos (ADUC), Reina
>Rojas, said from Saravena that it is not a strike, but rather a
>mobilization which involves representatives from the different guilds
>and unions.
>"It's something indefinite that will only end with a commitment from the
>Government to halt the petroleum exploration in the Samore Block. We ask
>that the Ministers of the Environment, Juan Mayr, and of the Interior,
>Nestor Humberto Martinez come and endorse this agreement," said Rojas.
>Observers in the area report that a heavy military and police contingent
>in the area is monitoring the protestors, and has stopped some shipments
>of food and medical supplies bound for the U'wa. On February 11, the
>police reportedly used tear gas and forcibly removed 450 U'wa who were
>blockading the road, resulting in the reported drowning of three
>indigenous children. The body of a four month old U’wa girl was found
>last week. Two other children, ages 9 and 10, from the Guahibo tribe are
>still missing and presumed dead.
>Just one week ago, Occidental Petroleum Vice-President Lawrence Meriage
>testified before the U.S. Congress in a subcommittee hearing on the
>Military aid package to Colombia that "only two groups are intent on
>blocking the project … leftist guerrillas… and non-governmental
>organizations in the US." Meriage further implied that the U’wa were
>merely pawns of others.
>The U'wa issued a statement responding to Meriage's testimony saying:
>"We demand that Occidental Petroleum and those in the media who have
>called us guerrilla sympathizers, rectify these accusations immediately,
>because they endanger the life of the U'wa community and of those that
>support us. We fight to defend our cultural principles which benefit
>society as a whole, and not those particular dark interests."
>"Clearly, opposition to this project began with the U’wa and support
>among Colombians is broad-based and growing" said Atossa Soltani of
>Amazon Watch. "Given the widespread protests in Colombia by unions,
>farmers, students and indigenous communities, the only responsible
>course of action is an immediate suspension of this project pending a
>negotiated settlement in which all sides participate."
>In Bogota, members of Colombian non-governmental and indigenous
>organizations will be holding a solidarity march at 2:00 p.m. today at
>the Plaza Simon Bolivar which will culminate in a rally at the Ministry
>of Environment. In the United States, supporters of the U'wa continue to
>target the two most prominent Oxy shareholders - Fidelity Investments
>and Vice-President Al Gore Jr. Over 40 nonviolent demonstrations have
>taken place in the last several weeks.
>(version en espanol abajo)
>Association of Traditional U'wa Authorities
>Communique to the General Public
>As a result of the recent events that have occurred in U'wa territory,
>due to the violent military and police intervention, that in past days
>took the lives or three of our children and resulted in the
>of five indigenous brothers, demonstrations of solidarity for our
>community have continued to grow. This show of solidarity comes from all
>sectors of national and international civil society, who without
>distinguishing race, color, or politics, have joined in this unequal
>struggle against the National Government, the Ministry of the
>the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Occidental Petroleum of Colombia.
>This time, support has come from groups in the farming communities of
>Arauca, who have added approximately 4,000 people to the 1,200 members
>of our indigenous community gathered near the Gibraltar well-site in
>Norte de Santander.
>The purpose of the group gathered there is to vehemently reject the
>measures taken by the National Government in favor of OXY, whose plan
>seeks to subdue the U'wa culture by spearheading an oil exploration
>project on our ancestral territory. Nevertheless and in spite of the
>demonstrations of support coming from all sectors of civil society, the
>armed forces and police keep attempting to stop others from joining us
>solidarity to protest Occidental.
>Not only have they stopped people from passing through, but they have
>also thwarted the passage of vehicles that are transporting food,
>and other necessary resources crucial to the wellbeing of the people at
>the Gibraltar site.
>Because of the above mentioned facts:
> 1) We demand that the President of the Republic of Colombia and the
>Ministry of Defense, immediately withdraw the army and the police that
>surrounding, abusing, and violating the rights of the U'wa community and
>the rest of the civil population that have united with us in non-violent
> 2) We demand that Occidental Petroleum immediately stop all activity on
>our ancestral territory, as their presence has unleashed violence
>our brothers, including the deaths of our children and of the American
>indigenous rights activists Terence Frietas, Ingrid Washinawatok and
> 3) We demand that Occidental Petroleum and those in the media who have
>called us guerrilla sympathizers, rectify these accusations immediately,
>because they endanger the life of the U'wa community and of those that
>support us. We fight to defend our cultural principles which benefit
>society as a whole, and not those particular dark interests.
>We ask that the national and international communities support our cause
>which seeks to exercise the social rights of all Colombians.
> Cabildo Mayor U'wa
> Kuirasiru Barrosa (Traditional Authority)
> Cubara, February 21, 2000
>* * * * * * * * * * *
>Comunicado a la Opinión Pública
>A raíz de los últimos acontecimientos que se vienen presentando en
>territorio Uwa producto de la agresión estatal a través de sus fuerzas
>armadas y de policía, que en días pasados cobró la vida de tres de
>nuestros niños y la desaparición de cinco hermanos indígenas, las
>manifestaciones de solidaridad hacia nuestro pueblo han venido
>creciendo. Esta solidaridad proviene de todos los estamentos de la
>sociedad civil nacional e internacional, que sin distingo de raza, color
>o política, se han sumada a esta desigual lucha que venimos librando
>contra el Gobierno Nacional, el Ministerio del Medio Ambiente,
>Ministerio de Minas y Energía y la Occidental de Colombia.
>Esta vez los grupos de apoyo provienen de comunidades campesinas del
>Arauca que se suman en un número aproximado de 4000 a los
>aproximadamente 1200 miembros de nuestra comunidad indígena que se
>encuentran concentrados en el corregimiento de Gibraltar, Toledo, Norte
>de Santander.
>El objetivo del grupo allí concentrado es rechazar enérgicamente las
>medidas tomadas por el gobierno nacional en favor de la OXY, que
>pretende avasallar a la cultura Uwa teniendo como punta de lanza las
>exploraciones petroleras en nuestro territorio ancestral. Sin embargo, y
>pese a las múltiples manifestaciones de apoyo que provienen de todos los
>sectores de la sociedad civil, las fuerzas armadas y de policía vienen
>impidiendo el paso, a todo costa, de todo aquel que quiera sumarse a
>estas manifestaciones de repudio hacia la Occidental y de solidaridad
>hacia los Uwa.
>No solo se bloquea el paso de transeúntes, también se le ha cerrado el
>paso a los vehículos que transportan alimentos, medicinas y demás
>elementos de vital ayuda para las personas concentradas en Gibraltar.
>Por los hechos en mención:
>1. Exigimos del Presidente de la República, a los Ministros de Defensa y
>del Interior, el retiro inmediato de la ejercito y la policía que
>acordonan, atropellan y violan los derechos de nuestra comunidad U´wa y
>demás miembros civiles que se han unido a nuestra pacifica protesta.
>2. Exigimos a la empresa Occidental el retiro inmediato de toda
>actividad en nuestro territorio ancestral, ya que su presencia ha
>desencadenado procesos violentos contra nuestros hermanos, incluyendo la
>muerte de nuestros hijos y los hermanos indigenistas estadounidenses
>Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawatock y Larry Gay.
>3. Exigimos a la empresa Occidental y a los medios de comunicación que
>nos han tildado de guerrilleros la rectificación inmediata de tales
>afirmaciones, que ponen en peligro la vida del pueblo U´wa y de quienes
>nos apoyan. Nuestra lucha es por defender nuestros principios culturales
>que velan por el interés general y no por defender oscuros intereses
>4. Demandamos de la comunidad nacional e internacional el apoyo
>irrestricto a nuestra causa, que busca la reivindicación de los derechos
>sociales de los colombianos.
>El Tiempo - February 22, 2000
>2,500 People Blockade the Pamplona-Saravena Road
>Blockade in Solidarity with the U'wa People
>Arauca- Some 2,500 citizens from the Sarare area occupied, since
>yesterday, the small North Santander community of Gibraltar, in support
>of the U'wa Indians protest against petroleum exploration in the region.
>"They are maintaining the blockade of the road that leads to Pamplona
>(Norte de Santander) and are taking shelter in the church, the schools
>and other sites", said the mayor of the neighboring town of Boyaca,
>Cubara, Cesar Hipolito Mora.
>According to the public official, the people are sleeping in makeshift
>beds made of sticks and plastic.
>The secretary of the Association of Campesinos (ADUC), Reina Rojas, said
>from Saravena (Arauca), that it is not a strike, but rather a
>mobilization which involves representatives from the different guilds
>and unions.
>"It's something undefined that will only end with a committment from the
>Government to halt the petroleum exploration in the Samore Block. We ask
>that the Ministers of the Environment, Juan Mayrs and of the Interior,
>Nestor Humberto Martinez come and endorse this agreement", said the
>trade unionist.
>The Mayor of Cubara stated that the people have stored food and other
>necessities which will allow them to remain there for a good period of
>In the meantime, the mayor of Saravena (Arauca), Roberto Martin Vera,
>indicated that each day that the blockade of the road between Norte de
>Santander and Santander continues, the municipality sustains a loss of
>at least 100 million pesos.
>The conflict began the first of February when close to 450 U'wa
>blockaded the same road at the Canoas and Chinita sites, after which
>they were removed by the Army from the Cedeno site where the National
>Government authorized petroleum exploration by the multinational
>The 11th of February, anti-riot agents dissolved the blockade of the
>access road using tear gas. The indigenous people reported the deaths of
>three children and the disappearance of another 11 natives during the
>procedure in which two uniformed agents were injured, one of them by an
> The U'wa resistance remains strong.  Their ongoing blockade of the
>drillsite sends a strong message that no amount of brutality by the
>Colombian government will stop their efforts to defend their sacred
>lands.  The people of Northeastern Colombia are showing incredible
>solidarity with the U'wa by joining in the blockade of the drillsite.
> The U'wa have put out the call for international solidarity.  Now all
>of us who care about justice, the environment, human rights and
>resistance to corporate rule must answer with action.  Our actions will
>show Occidental and all those companies that are willing to profit from
>the destruction of  U'wa lands and culture that we will not tolerate
>their attacks on our U'wa brothers and sisters. An injury to the U'wa
>people is an injury to us all!
> The best way to take on Occidental is to target their 2 most important
>shareholders - Vice President Al Gore and Fidelity Investments.  As the
>U'wa blockade their homelands they time has come for us to blockade
>Fidelity's operations.  Whether its demonstrating at their offices,
>leafleting their customers, organizing educational events,  or shutting
>down their operations with non-violent direct action the U'wa need us
>all to organize in our communities.
> In the US find your nearest Fidelity Investor center at :
>Internationally get free  phone numbers to call Fidelity from around the
>world at :
> Send letters of protest to Fidelity's CEO  :
>Mr. Edward Johnson III,  Chairman Fidelity Investments
>82 Devonshire Street, Boston, MA  02109
>fax # =  617-476-4164
> Also keep the pressure on Al Gore.   Activists have been continually
>disrupting his campaign appearances demanding that he address the U'wa
>issue.  Let's keep it up!  Contact his national campaign office in
>Nashville TN at : p) 615-340-2000   or
>fax)615-340-3295  email : vicepresident at whitehouse.gov Tell him that as
>an major shareholder in Oxy he  has a responsibility to speak out
>against Oxy's crimes!
> Updates, factsheets and other campaign materials in a downloadable
>format are available at www.ran.org also www.amazonwatch.org.  To
>coordinate your local actions with other supporters and get hard copies
>of materials and great stickers  please contact Patrick at Rainforest
>Action Network  1-800-989-RAIN or organize at ran.org
>IMMEDIATE RELEASE         Contact:  Jocco Baccus
>February 22, 2000 Phone:   (404) 377-6900
>Email:Jocco.Baccus at mail.house.gov
>"No more blood for oil"
>WASHINGTON, DC -- Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Ranking Member
>the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, today
>sent a
>letter to Vice President Al Gore, calling on him to take action in
>Occidental Petroleum from drilling on ancestral indigenous land in
>"The location of the drill site represents a serious disregard for the
>spiritual and cultural heritage of the U'wa people," says McKinney.
>drilling on U'wa land will result in considerable environmental damage
>social conflict which will lead to greater militarization of the region
>well as an increase in violence."
>"The only way to avoid this tragedy is through respect for the rights of
>U'wa under Colombian and international law.  Sadly, both the Colombian
>government and Occidental Petroleum have disregarded these rights. If
>Occidental Petroleum begins drilling , which they say they could do at
>time, it will be catastrophe. "Respect for democracy, human and
>environmental rights are much more important than cash for capitalistic
>corporations," stated McKinney.
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