URGENT Communication To The National and International Public: Oxy Invades U'wa Territory The Colombian Army Has 5000 Agents at the Service of Occidental

Communique from the U'wa People

For more information, contact:

Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542 or ada@amazonwatch.org


Cubará, Colombia - On January 19, 2000 more than 5,000 agents of the Colombian Military, heavily armed, invaded our traditional territory, exactly at Cedeno, where Oxy's oil drilling site Gibraltar 1 is situated. Faced with opposition presented by the U'wa people, headed by our representative and Indigenous leader Roberto Cobaria, military forces declared that "the oil will be extracted even over and above the U'wa people." Also police forces were dispatched to the zone for the security of Occidental's engineers.

Since the 15th of November 1999, more than 250 U'wa people have occupied Cedeno, part of our ancestral territory, resisting the exploitation brought on by Oxy. Now we are being surrounded by the 5000 military agents and Colombian police who have put at risk our physical integrity.

With this deed, Occidental and the Colombian government are insisting on ignoring our territorial rights over land we have occupied for thousands of years. We are the owners of the territory on which they aim to exploit petroleum, without recognizing the constitutional rights of community lands for our ethnic group which are inalienable, non-negotiable, and irremovable, protected by public laws over collective property.

In this way, the Colombian government headed by the Minister of Mining and Energy with the compliance of INCORA, in a shadowy process is seeking to declare U'wa territory a special petroleum reserve zone with the false argument that the national petroleum industry is covered by the law as a public utility or social interest, with the sole purpose of permitting and facilitating petroleum exploitation by the multinational corporation Occidental. We are making an urgent call to the national and international community, and to all groups who have supported us, to mobilize against this last attempt to trample upon the U'wa nation, which threatens our existence and culture. WE U'WA WILL NOT CEDE OUR CULTURAL, HISTORIC AND ANCIENT RIGHTS. WE PREFER GENOCIDE SPONSORED BY THE COLOMBIAN GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN HANDING OVER OUR MOTHER EARTH TO OIL COMPANIES.

Signed: CABILDO MAYOR U´WA
Cubará, Boyacá, Colombia


The U’wa Defense Working Group in the United States is urging that letters of concern be sent immediately to Vice President Al Gore (major owner of Oxy stocks) and to the Colombian President Andres Pastrana calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops and a suspension of Oxy’s oil project on the U’WA land.

Honorable President Andres Pastrana, c/o Ambassador Luis Roberto Moreno, Colombian Embassy, Washington, DC Tel: 202-387-8338 Fax: 202-332-8643 Email: pastrana@presidencia.gov.co

Honorable Al Gore, Vice President of the United States Tel: 603-622-8303 (New Hampshire Campaign HQ) Fax: 202-456-7044 Email: vicepresident@whitehouse.gov

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