More About U'wa
A Year in the Struggle to Defend the AmazonFall 2011
Defending the Amazon is a defining battle of our time and has the potential to shift the balance towards justice, ecological balance and the recognition of our interdependence on nature and living systems. In this year's Amazon in Focus, we share stories from this struggle.
This year's luncheon was a celebration of fifteen years of achievements for the people and rainforests of the Amazon.
U'wa Indigenous Group Confront New Threats to their Lives and TerritoryJanuary 2011
Known as "the people who speak", the U'wa are a peaceful Indigenous community of roughly 6,200 people who live in the cloud forest of northeastern Colombia, straddling the border with Venezuela. They have fought against oil development on their land for over 15 years.
Colombian indigenous leaders from the U'wa people visited friends old and new in San Francisco and Los Angeles in late September of 2010.
Berito burst onto the international scene in 1997, when he first traveled to California to face down Occidental Petroleum. The Los Angeles-based oil company had been scheming to drill for oil on U'wa territory, against the vociferous opposition of the U'wa. Berito's charismatic message inspired Amazon Watch – along with dozens of sister organizations and thousands of grassroots activists.
Roberto "Berito" Cobaria and Gilberto Cobaria from the U'wa people of Colombia were our guest speakers. James Cameron joined the luncheon by video to present A Message from Pandora, a special feature about the battle to stop the Belo Monte Dam.
In this year’s Amazon in Focus, we are pleased to present to you powerful and insightful articles from our campaigners in the field. The journeys and events that inspired these articles demonstrate the breadth of our work and, at the same time, the depth of our connection to our indigenous partners and the rainforest.
New York – As the Colombian government seeks to expand oil and gas drilling to raise production, it is licensing blocks in increasingly remote areas, infringing on the territory of indigenous tribes, according to environmentalists and groups rep- resenting indigenous people. Today, most of the country's oil output comes from the Llanos and Magdalena Basins in central Colombia. [...]
Photos from a week-long visit of U'wa Association leaders Gilberto Cobaría (President) and Berito Cobaría (International Coordinator) to the East Coast, co-facilitated by the National Museum of the American Indian and Amazon Watch.
This past summer, President Obama announced that he had signed an agreement with Colombia to grant the U.S. military access to 7 military bases in Colombia. [...]