Communique from the Pueblo U’wa

From the Association of Cabildos and U’wa Traditional Indigenous Authorities

For more information, contact:

Rania Batrice at +1.510.394.2041 or rania@amazonwatch.org


Cubara, Colombia
We, the U’wa, declare to the government and its various entities, to Congress , to the different social organizations, human rights NGO’s, national and international environmentalists, to the oil companies and to the Colombian people in general, that we have united formally behind the stoppages and peaceful demonstrations that has been going on since July 30 in Sarare and in the municipalities of the departments of Arauca, North Santander and Boyaca’.

We have united because the struggle we’re pursuing for the conservation of life in our territory is not just our problem. That is how many people understand it, people like the majority of the inhabitants of Arauca and Sarare, who are demanding that oil exploration not take place in that area, given the threat that it would mean to life, as has been adequately demonstrated by the oil projects which have been carried out in the last few years in the Llanos Orientales.

The invitation that we, the U’wa have extended to the people of Arauca and Sarare to defend our mother earth, is the same as the one we are extending to all Colombians and to everyone with whom we share the luck of this planet.

We are hoping that more and more people will understand that to recuperate broken ties with the earth is the only formula that will save us from the grave error of passing on to our children a tortured world. Our words should be a warning that reunites us again as one family in order to ensure our future in harmony with the whole universe, or they will be one more voice that prophesizes the destruction of life because of the absurd disposition of the white man.

The stoppages which the indigenous people and campesinos have brought into existence will perhaps be the vanguard of a bigger movement in which the indigenous people, black and white, all have to be united to save the lives of everyone. A true crusade, which reaches to the origins of life and once again, recognizes the mother of us all, the earth.

Today, it is the municipalities of Tame, Fortul, Arauquita, Cravo Norte, Puerto Rondo’n, Arauca, Saravena, Cubara’ and Toledo that have recognized that you can’t treat the earth any way you like without it having an impact on every living thing. More than 25,000 Colombians are demanding an explanation for Cano Limo’n, for the Lipa Laguna, for the Talados Forests, for the polluted rivers, the dead fish, the species that are on the road to extinction, for the destroyed Cuahiba culture....we are seeking an explanation for this progress that goes against life. We are demanding that this kind of progress stop, that oil exploitation in the heart of the earth is halted, that the deliberate bleeding of the earth end.

What the other Colombians and people in the rest of the world are doing to unite in defense of our land is what we all have to do, unite to ensure life and liberty to those who take advantage of them, and against any project which threatens them. This is what the U’wa have always done, it is what we do when we sing, we ask for the sustenance of our mother earth and not only for indigenous people. Thanks to this care we have life, clean rivers, pure air for everyone, black and white. Because of this, today when we talk to campensinos, we talk about uniting to defend the future of everyone.

We, the U’wa have never tried to close the doors of our territory to other peoples, we don’t do things that way, Cobarias, Tegrias, Aguablancas, Bocotas and all the communities of our people are in one territory, the Kera Chicara, the heart of the world, and the mission of all is to take care of it. Therefore, we want to unite all brothers, campesinos, white and black in one family to take care of our mother earth.

To those who insist on regarding the earth as a usable product, we say that you can’t continue to persecute the trees, animals, water, and their guardians, the indigenous people without also putting in motion the terrible moment of their destruction because when the last indigenous group disappears, and with it the jungles, animals and plants that they look after, the people made crazy by arrogance will have finished dictating their death sentence.

We, the U’wa have always struggled with the spirits and with darkness to avoid breaking the equilibruium that makes life possible. Today we feel that we’re fighting a large and strong spirit that wants to beat us or force us to submit to a law contrary to that which Sira (God) established and wrote in our hearts, even before there was the sun and moon. When faced with such a thing, we are left with no alternative other than to continue fighting on the side of the sky and earth and spirits or else disappear when the irrationality of the invader violates the most sacred of our laws. We will in no way sell our mother earth, to do that would be to give up our work of collaborating with the spirits to protect the heart of the world, which sustains and gives life to the rest of the universe, it would be to go against our own origins and those of all existence.

One more time, we, the U’wa are insisting in t the government and the oil companies to ask them to understand that our law is eternal, and therefore we cannot change it although everything around us is changing. To hand over our sacred elders like the mountains and oil is not possible without us U’wa feeling such a deep shame that it would lead us to death, and not only us, but also the danta, the pajuil, the sientaro, the yopo, the nuezkara and all our brother and sister animals and plants which have always provided us with company and food.

Today we ask that our other brothers from other races and cultures unite in the struggle that we are undertaking, therefore we have united campesinos and settlers, those same people who at other times and for different reasons invaded our sacred land, so that they will defend it with us, because it has also helped them, giving them food and drink.

We believe that this struggle has to become a global crusade to defend life. Therefore we are taking important steps towards this as we know other of our brothers are doing, indigenous and non-indigenous brothers who are going against the current by believing that nothing can be put above the laws of life and that there is nothing that justifies the threat of a species, or a tribe, which is ultimately the threat to all living things, to the planet, to our mother earth which is the mother of all our brother trees, animals and of course our brother the white man.

Today we have united with the campesinos from the municipality of Cubara and they have united with us, and we have understood that although their history is different to ours, the two have met and can’t continue to exist for ill. Therefore, we have decided to unite in our desire to live, and therefore we have begun to convince an elder spirit to protect Ruiria (oil), to take care of our Kera Chicara (sacred land) and to save us all from the final destruction when instead of water we’ll drink oil, when the earth will have been completely bled dry and the heart, in which our people live, doesn’t beat anymore, and when we will no longer be there singing and dancing to the sound of those heartbeats.

Berito Cobaria

Presidente, Cabildo Mayor

Bascayo Tegria

Cabildo Tegria

Rukakuba Rutkuara

Profesor Communidad Barrosa

Rosarayo Tegria

Autoridad Tradicional

Kochkana Tamaran

Presidente Cabildos Norte

Abruna Ritkara

Comision de Tierras

SOMOS HIJOS DE LA TIERRA, AYUDANOS A DEFENDERLA

[We are all children of the Earth, Help Us To Defend Her]

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