rn: U’wa struggle international


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,

I had prepared this message to send to you in October, but I wanted to get
contact information for some of the cities listed below first. So, I
e-mailed Patrick Reinsborough for more information but have not yet received
a reply.

It,s time to give up waiting and share this with you, especially as it fits
in well with the next posting.

all the best, Jan
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 19:59:56 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: Mark Douglas Whitaker <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Oct 12 Report on Global solidarity with U'wa! 

[Thought you might be interested in the multi-sited mobilization here. With

Title: Oct 12 Report on Global solidarity with U'wa
Date: 14-OCT-1999
Author: various
Source: Patrick Reinsborough <•••@••.•••>
Style: first person

In an amazing show of solidarity events were held in 20 cities in 10
countries around the world to demand that the Colombian government and
Occidental Petroleum cancel their plans to drill for oil on the sacred
ancestral homelands of the U'wa people.  Events ranged from  activists
scaling buildings to drop banners, demonstrations, guerilla theater,
delegations meeting with Colombian officials, letters of protest being
delivered, teach-ins, a 24 hour vigil and a statement of solidarity from
the communities of the Narmada Valley in India who are fighting to
protect their land from being flooded by a mega-dam.  More details and
pictures can be found on the RAN website - www.ran.org  as well as
information on the meeting US groups had with the Colombian
Environmental Minister last week. If you organized something on behalf
of the U'wa (or want to in the future!) please contact patrick at RAN
and let him know - •••@••.•••.

This is just the beginning!  Oct 12 was our response to the granting of
the drilling permit.  We've shown the Colombian government that the
world is watching and sent a clear message that unless they respect the
U'wa's rights we will be back.  Now we need to continue our organizing,
build a stronger network and connect more movements together.  Whether
groups are working for ecological sanity, indigenous rights, community
autonomy, an end to war, or to overthrow the WTO and its corporate
masters - there is something in the U'wa struggle for them to connect
with.   Let us all help make these links!

The next three months will be the critical time for the U'wa. As
Occidental moves into U'wa territory they will bring the military and
inevitably there will be confrontations.  The U'wa are deeply committed
to non-violence and are relying on activists around the world to stand with
them by keeping the pressure on both the Colombian government and
Occidental Petroleum.  The U'wa have called on us to help them launch
"the global crusade to defend life" not only to protect their culture
and homelands but to protect all peoples and ecosystems from the ravages of
militarism and multi-national corporate greed. Now is the time for all of us
to answer. Our actions around the globe will continue to speak as one voice in
support of not only the U'wa but   all communities on the frontlines of
globalization. As the U'wa say - defend life!

In solidarity for the Earth and all her Peoples,
Patrick Reinsborough
Rainforest Action Network

Events took place in the following cities :

(*) - denotes further information included below

* Toronto, Canada
* Vancouver, Canada
* Prague, Czech Republic
* Geneva, Switzerland
* Amsterdam, Netherlands
Madrid, Spain
Bogota, Colombia
* Santiago, Chile
* The Narmada Satyagraha, Domkhedi-Jalsindhi, India
Dublin, Ireland
U.S : (all 10 Colombian consulates in the country!) Chicago,* Atlanta,
Houston, * Boston, Miami, New York, New Orleans, * San Francisco,* Los
Angeles, * Washington D.C.

Reports below :


From: Ahlia Vallevand [mailto:•••@••.•••]

Twenty five activists gathered outside of the Colombian government trade

bureau in Toronto at 11AM to protest Occidental Petroleum's impending
oil project.
Local rainforest activists spoke about the issue, as well as Owens Wiwa
(the brother of murdered Nigerian activist, Ken Saro Wiwa).  The
demonstration attracted the attention of the public, and many people
stopped and signed letters to Oxy and to the Colombian government.
After the speeches were finished a group of three activists went up to
the trade bureau and presented a Colombian representative with
information about the U'wa, the press release, and an example of the
letters that will be presented to the Colombian embassy this week.   We
wait in anticipation for positive news, and are ready for further action
if necessary.

Ahlia Vallevand
Toronto Co-ordinator Forest Action Network/Rainforest Action Network


A delegation of forest activists, representatives of the Native Youth
Movement and the Nuxalk First Nation visited the Colombian consulate in
Vancouver.  They delivered a letter of protest to the apparently quite
surprised consul and warned him that unless the U'wa's rights were
respected they would be back.


From: hubert   •••@••.•••

About 50 people (thats quite a lot despite short time for
leaflets...etc) met before Colombian embassy here in Prague. We had
banners saying "no oil drilling on U´wa land", "Earth First!" and "stop
destroying forests and killing indigenous people" Also there was several
funny masks and drummers. We
made a press release and send it around local newspapers. And finally we
gave a protest letter to Colombian ambassador in czech rep.

please keep us informed, in case it looks like nothing changes we are
to do another maybe more radical action. NO COMPROMISE!

Zeme predevsim!  -  (Earth First! Prague)

From: Alain Cassani [mailto:•••@••.•••]

Dear worldwide U’wa campaigners,

Hello from Geneva. Today we entered as a delegation of 12 persons from
various movements in the  Colombian Mission by the U.N.and asked a
meeting with the director; after pretending it was not possible on this
date, we insisted until after a while being attended by an other
official. Hanging different signs , we transmitted our deep worry  about
the recent denial of rights of indigenous peoples in Colombia and ask
the government to revoke the license to OXY drilling  in UWA traditional
land; then we gave a pack of the first 500 letters of protests to be
transmitted to the president ; we also mentioned our deep concern for
the Embera Katio people of the rio Sinu, in a similar situation of  the
U’wa, being threatened by the permit to fill the URRA dam just these
last days. We declare the starting of a world campaign,  emphasizing
that the U’WA and the Emberas fights are also ours....because it is a
struggle for life on earth as a whole. That's all for today, lets keep
this great energy of life growing and fight the powerful forces of
oildeath !

Warmest greetings to all,


From: Trasgu [mailto:•••@••.•••]

The demonstration was a small one... anyway it was a good beginning. We
will have a meeting on monday 18th. We will collect more signatures and
make an official appointment with the consul (the Indigenous Council in
the Netherlands and a couple more organizations). We got a couple of
stations speaking about the issue in Dutch and Spanish and the
indigenous council wrote a couple of letters with part of international
agreements. We are trying to organize with more time (at least one week)

a bigger demonstration.



A Delegation of Franciscan monks delivered a letter of support for the
U'wa people to the Colombian embassy.


>From - •••@••.•••

The struggle of the U'wa People was present in India on the 12th of
October at the celebration held to conclude the 10th Monsoon Satyagraha
[peaceful struggle] of the Narmada Bachao Andolan [Save the Narmada

Representatives of 60 villages affected by the ignominious Sardar
Sarovar Dam, who gathered from different parts of the Narmada Valley to
review this year's resistance against unjust submergence and to
corraborate and reinforce their continuous struggle for life and
livelihood, began their programme with a solidarity message to their
U'wa brothers and sisters in Colombia. The striking similarities between
the neocolonial plunder planned by Occidental Petroleum in collaboration
with the Colombian government and the displacement and internal
deportation of Adivasis [indigenous peoples] and farmers planned by the
'developers' of the Indian elites were discussed, both of which are
characterised by the pillage and devastation of sustainable livelihoods
to cater national and global upper echelon. The people of the Narmada
Valley then passed a resolution expressing their solidarity with the
U'wa in their common struggle for life and livelihood, for justice and
dignity, and condemning the multinational and national corporations and
the governments responsible for so much oppression and destruction.

Finally, one of the main slogans of the movement, "We are all one!", was
sung in relation to the U'wa people and the people in the Narmada
Valley, making clear that despite the thousands of kilometers of
distance that divide them, they are united by the same cause, the same
values and the same struggle.


contact - Leigh Scherberger •••@••.•••
phone - 770-232-7084

Atlanta rainforest activists joined with representatives of the American
Indian Movement (AIM) to hold a 24 hour vigil outside the Colombian
consulate.  They caught the public's attention with signs and bright
colored banners,  and remained in high spirits despite the rain.


contact - Kim Foster   •••@••.•••
phone - 781-551-6674

Members of the Boston Rainforest Action Group joined with the Colombia
Support Network and local students in demonstrating outside the
Colombian consulate.  Over 1500 leaflets were handed out and a 50 ft
long banner reading "Occidental Out of U'wa Land" continues to hang down
the front of a sympathetic church just a few doors down from the


contact - patrick reinsborough •••@••.•••
phone - 415-398-4404

Around 100 people from various groups gathered outside the Colombian
consulate in an energetic rally with lots of signs, chanting and stilt
walkers performing interactive guerilla theater.  Climbers from RAN and
Project Underground rappelled down the side of the building to hang a
banner that said "Colombia : Invierte en Paz no en Petrole!" (Invest in
Peace Not Oil!).  Another banner read "Arms + Oil = More Violence" with
accompanying pictographs.  The rally featured speakers from the
International Indian Treaty Council, groups supporting indigenous
resistance in Southern Mexico (both Chiapas and Guerrero) and the
International Rivers Network.  Selected quotes from U'wa communiques
were read out.  The climbers and one support person were arrested but
released shortly.


contact - brett doran  •••@••.•••
phone - 310-392-7656

U'wa Defense Working Group members Action Resource Center, Amazon Watch,
and Rainforest Action Network joined forces to hang a banner on the 20+
story building occupied by the Colombian consulate.  Identical to the
one used in San Francisco it read "Colombia : Invierte en Paz no en
Petrole!" (Invest in
Peace Not Oil!).  5 activists in total were arrested for the action and
were released after being held for 8 hours.  The day also including
giving flyers to Occidental Petroleum employees as they arrived at work
and a demonstration at the consulate.  Students from both UCLA and USC
(2 local universities which both have links to OXY CEO Ray Irani)
participated in the demo  and vowed to take the issue back to their
respective campuses.



A demonstration held at the embassy involved activists from Project
Underground, Amazon Coalition and groups working for human rights and
peace in Colombia.  A guerilla theater sketch brought attention to the
US government's efforts to give Colombia a $1.5 billion military aid

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