More About U'wa
"The U'wa people are thankful for the solidarity from everyone who made possible this trip in favor of our territorial defense. We hope that, with your help, we will be successful in defending Mother Nature."
Plans by Colombia's state-owned firm Ecopetrol to drill for gas in the north of the country have been suspended following opposition from the indigenous U'wa people.
This brief report details recent threats faced by the U'wa of Colombia and their renewed call for international support to protect their territory and way of life.
After a tense 40-day stand-off over a bombed and paralyzed oil pipeline, the U'wa indigenous people came to an agreement late yesterday with the Colombian government, avoiding the possibility of a forceful incursion into their territory.
A forcible eviction of the U'wa from their encampment would certainly be a horrific event. The U'wa are pacifists by culture – while they are not willing to kill anyone for their beliefs, they are willing to die for them.
The situation for Colombia's U'wa people is both more hopeful and also more precarious than it has been in years. This could be a watershed moment – either allowing them to achieve several key demands or ending in tragedy.
Shutdown of Pipeline Has Cost the Government Over $130 MillionApril 25, 2014Wall Street Journal
"The proposals they offered weren't close to what we were demanding," said Ms. Tegria, who said the tribe is preparing a formal statement for later Friday. "We will continue to not authorize the repair of the oil pipe."
U'wa Refuse to Allow Ecopetrol, Occidential to Repair Pipeline Damaged by RebelsApril 24, 2014Wall Street Journal
"The government (Ecopetrol) wanted to do what they always do after the rebels attack, they wanted to fix the pipeline and then maybe later clean up some of the spilled oil," said Aura Tegria, an U'wa spokeswoman. "Well, it's not going to happen that way anymore, and that's why we're not allowing in the repairmen."
"We are tired of the explosions on the pipeline that have ruined our ancestral lands, polluted our water and put our people in danger. We want it relocated," said Heber Tegria Uncaria, vice president and spokesman for the U'wa Association.
"We refuse to be silent and we are going to mobilize ourselves and once again engage in protest actions against the extraction of oil which will damage our Mother Earth."