U'wa Demand Immediate
Withdrawal of Ecopetrol
From Our Sacred
Land Drillbits & Tailings v.8, n.2, 28feb03
Comunique: Statement to the Colombian and International Communities
If ECOPETROL continues with the Sirirí project in U’wa 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. 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 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 guaranteeing oil operations like exploration, exploitation and transportation of this “black gold” from the department of Arauca to Coveñas and the Gibraltar 1 oil project. In response to Colombia’s 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 U’wa President took office yesterday, February 11, before the Mayor of the municipality of Cubará. This U’wa leader has received the official order of our maximum authorities to continue with the national and international campaign against ECOPETROL’s oil project in U’wa ancestral territory.
“The U’wa will not allow oil exploration in our sacred territory,” stated the official decision of the Sixth Congress of the U’wa Association, January 19-26, 2003.
Given that ECOPETROL will continue with seismic exploration activities in U’wa 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 U’wa resistance.
Today, like yesterday, the U’wa 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 U’wa community, Colombia and the World.
ROBERTO AFANADOR COBARIA BERITO KUBARUWA- U’wa President. Asociación U’wa, Cabildo Mayor
“We are children of the earth, help us defend her.”
SOURCES: Amazonwatch Press Release Resguardo Unido U’wa, Cubará, February 12, 2003
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