Activists arrested urging Gore to help halt U'wa drilling
Eight environmental and human rights activists were arrested today for staging a sit-in at Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign headquarters in Manchester. The protesters want Gore to use his connections with Occidental Petroleum (Oxy) to stop the U.S. corporation from drilling on indigenous U'wa lands in Colombia. The groups say Gore holds about $500,000 in Oxy stock, and has received campaign contributions from the company.
Since January 19, at least 500 - and as many as several thousand - Colombian soldiers have been occupying an area of the traditional territory to which the U'wa hold legal title. On Tuesday, the Colombian Army forcibly evicted dozens of U'wa from their land using helicopters. Three U'wa people are now reported missing.
The U'wa gained international attention in 1996 when they vowed to commit collective suicide if the Samoré Block oil drilling project is not halted. "We prefer genocide at the hands of the Colombian government over relinquishing our Mother Earth to the oil companies," stated a U'wa communiqué. U'wa leaders have vowed to continue their nonviolent protests against Oxy' s efforts to drill on their land. "Gore can make the difference. He can save the U'wa and avert a public relations disaster for himself by intervening now," said Atossa Soltani of Amazon Watch. Dozens of activists from Action for Community and Ecology in the Rainforests of Central America (ACERCA), Amazon Watch, Native Forest Network, Rainforest Action Network and international trade coalitions from Vermont and Boston participated in today's protests.
Additional protests are planned at future Gore campaign stops. More information is available at: http://www.ran.org and http://www.amazonwatch.org http://ens.lycos.com/ens/jan2000/2000L-01-26-09.html
Source: Environment AmeriScan: January 26, 2000
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ACERCA is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice and a member of the Native Forest Network