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From skywalker@disinfo.net Wed Oct 18 13:04:25 2000
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2000 16:45:39 -0500 (CDT)
From: Agent Smiley <skywalker@disinfo.net>
Subject: [smygo] U'wa rainforest tribe to be EVICTED by AL GORE's favorite OIL company!
Article: 106902
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

On Tue, 19 Sep 2000 23:00:34 -0500 (CDT) Patrick Reinsborough <rags@ran.org> wrote:

Emergency in Colombia on U'wa land

From Patrick Reinsborough,
U'wa Emergency Response Network,
19 September 2000

Greetings friend,

You have probably heard about the struggle of the U'wa people in Colombia to defend their culture and homelands from Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum's plans to drill for oil. The U'wa (a name which means the thinking people) grabbed international headlines in 1996 when they vowed to commit collective suicide rather than accept the environmental destruction and violence oil drilling would bring to their homeland. Since then a growing international movement has emerged to support their uncompromising resistance and prevented the project from proceeding.

After 10 months of repeated blockades by thousands of U'wa, farmers, students, workers and representatives of other indigenouus communities, Oxy and the Colombian military are almost ready to begin drilling the first well. One of the few obstacles preventing the drilling are the hundreds of U'wa occupying the surrounding area and sending a clear message to Oxy and the Colombian government. In their own words: We would rather die, protecting everything that we hold sacred, than lose everything that makes us U'wa.

The Colombian government granted Oxy drilling rights after much lobbying from the Clinton administration. This lobbying was facilitated by Al Gore who has long term political and personal ties to Oxy. These ties have been the basis of Mr. Gore's family wealth (his father was a VP of Oxy) and a consistent source of large campaign contributions.

It's no surprise then that Al Gore - self-proclaimed environmentalist and human rights advocate - has so far refused to speak out on this issue. Gore's silence amounts to a death sentence for the U'wa culture and homelands. Wherever oil development occurs in Colombia it attracts violence since oil installations are one of the main targets in Colombia's three decade old civil war. This war, which has cost the lives of 25,000 people in the last decade alone, is intensifying thanks to the Clinton administration's recently approved $1.3 billion military aid package.

Violence has been escalating in the U'wa's territory as the ongoing military occupation brings guerilla attacks, sexual assaults and intimidation by Colombian soldiers.

In the last few days the situation has reached a crisis. The military issued an eviction order which they intend to serve in the next few days. With the last remaining U'wa forcibly removed from the drillsite area Oxy will be able to bring the final machinery in and begin drilling. The U'wa people need our solidarity now more than ever!

Al Gore could take real action to stop this project. He could denounce Oxy's actions and make a statement of support for the U'wa. He could publicly call upon the Colombian government to pull the troops out of the region and support the self-determination of the U'wa people. The U'wa are depending on all of us to put the pressure on him and get him to do the right thing! Organize a demonstration, informational picket or non-violent direct action at your nearest Gore office. Organize a teach-in, phone bank or letter writing table in your community. Bring this issue to the attention of your local newspaper by writing a letter to the editor or op-ed piece for your local newspaper. (SEE SAMPLE LETTER TO THE EDITOR BELOW)

Our actions now will also be in preparation for an emergency response day of action. Should the rights of the U'wa people be violated U'wa supporters will call for a emergency day of action. We can show Al Gore that he must take action on this issue by rallying at his campaign offices across the country within 48 hours of any action by the military in Colombia.

To make this final line of defense for the U'wa people possible we need CONTACT PEOPLE in every region - are you willing to be one? If so contact Rainforest Action Network at 1-800-989-RAIN or organize@ran.org.


This is just an example. Please borrow from it as much or as little as you care to and tailor it to respond to a specific recent article in your local paper about Al Gore's campaign. Follow all the paper's rules for Letter submissions - word count, contact info, etc. Let's get these letters printed everywhere!


Al Gore claims to care about the environment, human rights and standing up to big corporations. (name of article, date) So why has Mr. Gore been silent on the controversial efforts of one of his longtime corporate backers - LA-based Occidental Petroleum - to drill on the U'wa people's land in the Colombian rainforest? The U'wa are a traditional indigenous people who cannot survive if their homeland is devastated by oil drilling. In fact, the U'wa are so concerned about Oxy's plans that they have been non-violently blockading the proposed drillsite and stating they are willing to die to stop the project.

The situation is growing very serious as the Colombia military (soon to be equipped with more than $1 billion dollars in new US military aid) increase their presence in the region. At least three peaceful protesters have been killed and dozens seriously injured in recent months.

Why doesn't Al Gore speak out to support the U'wa and stop this human rights and environmental tragedy before its too late? Gore is putting his long-time, cozy relationship with Occidental (campaign contributions, payments on mining royalties, up to $1 million in family stocks in the company) ahead of the environment and the survival of an entire indigenous culture.

We all know George Bush is a pawn of the oil companies. If Al Gore wants voters to believe he's different he should prove it by speaking out on behalf of the U'wa people and severing his ties with Occidental.

Your name
Relevant contact info (daytime phone etc)