Update on Occidental Petroleum, U'wa Rights and Plan Colombia
While the Bush Administration relentlessly pushes for war in Iraq, they continue to fan the flames of oil wars and corporate terror around the world, and Colombia is proving to be ground zero in the other front of the War on Terrorism. From the ever-evolving Washington justification for US involvement in Colombiafrom the War on Communism to the War on Drugs to the War on Terrorism-- US foreign aid to Colombia has been great for Corporate America and deadly for the Colombian people.
Plan Colombia is wreaking havoc on indigenous peoples, Afro-Colombians, campesinos, labor leaders, and innocent Colombian civilians, as well as the countrys vast and fragile ecosystems. Widening US involvement in Colombia is driven by the same addictions as US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world: oil and empire. Weapons and training paid for by US tax dollars kill in Colombia so that U.S. corporations can make record profits clogging American highways with SUVs powered by Colombia oil.
According to the Bush Administrations draft budget request for 2004, the US would allot $110 million dollars to protect OXYs Cano Limon oil pipeline-- a $3 per barrel corporate subsidy paid for by US taxpayers and the lives of innocent Colombians. Should the operations of a morally bankrupt US oil company implicated in numerous human rights abuses related to the infamous Santo Domingo massacre receive a $110 million corporate welfare package (up $12 million from last year) for a project that protects pipelines, not people? According to community sources on the ground, US trained troops patrol within a few feet of the pipeline to keep the oil flowing.
Meanwhile the local residents find themselves caught in the spiraling violence between guerillas, paramilitaries, and the army that OXY and the oil industry helped create. The conflict that has plagued OXYs existing Cano Limon operations form part of the basis for Uwa resistance: that oil exploitation on their land will bring the countrys violent conflict home to their forest communities. If oil were to be found under Uwa land, it would flow through this pipeline, which crosses the northeastern boundary of their recognized land reserve. And Colombias state oil companyEcopetrolis dead set on finding that oil, whatever the price to the Uwa and their fragile homelands
While the efforts of thousands of Uwa supporters worldwide who offered their energy, creativity, and bodies to support the Uwas decade long resistance to oil exploitation succeeded in kicking OXY out of Uwa land, the oil barons continue to see nothing but dollar signs underneath Uwa sacred land. In addition to continuing to test drill in OXYs abandoned Gibralter wellsite, Ecopetrol, has announced plans to drill for oil INSIDE the Uwa legally protected reserve. As in the past, the Uwa have reaffirmed their adamant opposition to any oil drilling on their ancestral land and vow to fight this project every step of the wayand theyre going to need our help.
The Uwa are again asking the international community to stop the drilling plans and stop US military aid to Colombia. The Uwa say no to the oil wars and we must stand with them! Currently, the best way to take a stand for the Uwa and all Colombians suffering from US foreign policy in Colombia is to come out and support the National Colombia Mobilization on March 24 and expose the corporate profiteers behind the War on Terrorism in Colombia.
For more info on the Uwa campaign, contact:
THE UWA DEMAND THE IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ECOPETROL FROM OUR SACRED LAND
Comunique to the Colombian and International Communities
Resguardo Unido Uwa, Cubar, 12 de febrero de 2003
If ECOPETROL continues with the Sirir project in Uwa territory, our culture will disappear.
With this affirmation, we want to remind and inform people that ECOPETROL and its associated companies like OXY have destroyed indigenous cultures and the environment. Some clear examples are: the Guahibo tribe in Arauca, the Motilones Bari tribe in Norte Santander, the indigenous brothers of the Putumayo, and now us. In these lands, violence, hunger, forced displacement, state abandonment and the absolute poverty are rampant.
Plan Colombia has facilitated the invasion of transnational petroleum companies like OXY onto our lands. The militarization of our lands is guarantying oil operations like exploration, exploitation and transportation of this black gold from the department of Arauca to Coveas and the Gibraltar 1 oil project. In response to Colombias need to secure its petroleum interests, two rehabilitation zones have been created, one of them being the department of Arauca, which directly affects our territory.
Roberto Afanador Cobaria Berito Kubaruwa- current Uwa President took office yesterday, February 11, before the Mayor of the municipality of Cubar. This Uwa leader has received the official order of our maximum authorities to continue with the national and international campaign against ECOPETROLs oil project in Uwa ancestral territory.
The Uwa will not allow oil exploration in our sacred territory, stated the official decision of the Sixth Congress of the Uwa Association, January 19-26, 2003.
Given that ECOPETROL will continue with seismic exploration activities in Uwa territory, we see the need to reactivate the May 1997 lawsuit against the Colombian Government before the Inter-American Commission of Human rights of the O.A.S. We also denounce and reject the offers of projects that ECOPETROL is giving to some communities as mechanisms and strategies of division to debilitate the Uwa resistance.
Today, like yesterday, the Uwa ask for Colombians and people all over the World to demand that the President of the Republic of Colombia Alvaro Uribe Velez, and his ministers respect the right to life, culture and the environment in our territory, because ECOPETROL is causing irreparable human and environmental damages to the Uwa community, Colombia and the World.
ROBERTO AFANADOR COBARIA BERITO KUBARUWA-
Uwa President. Asociacin Uwa, Cabildo Mayor
We are children of the earth, help us defend her.
- 107 Energy
- 116 Human Rights
- 124 War & Disaster Profiteering