Tribe Threatens Mass Suicide U’wa Chief to Deliver a Personal Message to Occidental Petroleum and Shell (Entrevistas en Espanol)


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Roberto Cobaria, President of the Traditional U’wa Authority, an indigenous tribe from the Cloud Forest joins scores of demonstrators and other concerned members of the Los Angeles environmental, human rights, religious, legal and academic communities calling on Occidental and Shell International to abandon plans to drill for oil on U’wa lands.

Roberto Cobaria will make an important announcement at a press conference in front of the offices of Occidental Petroleum in Westwood. Demonstrators will protest against plans by Oxy and Shell to drill for oil on the sacred lands of the U’wa.

Monday, October 20, 1997; Demonstration at 1:00 PM Press Conference at 1:30 PM

In front of Occidental Petroleum, 10889 Wilshire Blvd (corner of Westwood Blvd.)


Roberto Cobaria, chief of the U’wa people from the cloud forest in Colombia is paying a visit to Occidental Petroleum once again to bring his people’s message that the U’wa people are unanimously opposed to oil development in their sacred lands. The U’wa are threatening to walk en-mass off a 1,400 foot cliff in the Andes mountains if the southern California-based Occidental Petroleum and Shell International commence oil exploitation within their territory. The U’wa have stated that "We would rather die with dignity, protecting what we hold sacred, than to lose everything that makes us the U’wa- the Thinking People."

The Samore oil block, contains 1.5 to 2 billion barrels of oil worth billions of dollars. Faced with the destruction of their ancestral territory, the U’wa have mounted a strong legal and political battle against the project.

Mr. Cobaria will make an important announcement at Monday’s press conference. He is arriving in Los Angeles from a trip to Washington DC and New York where he took his case before the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Recently, the OAS in conjunction with Harvard University issued a series of recommendations including an immediate and unconditional suspension of all oil activities in the area and the legal recognition of the U’wa’s full traditional territory.

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