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Wetlands Works Newsletter October 2000

Wednesday, September 6: Protest Against Colombian President Pastrana at the World Forum

15-20 protesters with signs, leaflets, and drums protested Colombian President Pastrana at the World Forum, a major gathering of world leaders held at the Hilton Hotel and Towers. Pastrana spoke on a panel on Globalization and Latin America, voicing his support for the Plan Colombia as a means to combat the drug trade. The protesters were almost immediately moved across the street under threat of arrest by police. There they staged a street theater performance, where an activist wearing a Ray Irani mask and sign handed money to activists dressed as Al Gore and President Pastrana, who proceeded to lift oil drums bearing Oxy logos and dumped "oil" on an an activist bearing a sign which read "U'wa people." The "U'wa" then whithered under the oil, fell to the ground, and died. The demonstration was covered by Univision and Telemundo, NYC's two Spanish language TV stations. Maria Gallon, a Wetlands activist and Colombian citizen handled Spanish language press interviews.

Friday, September 8: People's Assembly Against Anti-Imperialist Globalization Consulate March 100-150 protesters

Activists from Wetlands and a broad range of other imperialist groups held a march stopping at the Colombian, Peruvian, Salvadoran, and Phillipine consulates to challenge the US/corporate domination of the third world and the suppression of its people. At the Colombian consulate, a Wetlands activist joined other speakers in the challenging US military aid to Colombia, serve the agenda of big oil. The Wetlands activist used the case of the U'wa to illustrate the Clinton/Gore/big oil agenda within the Colombian civil war.

Thursday, September 14 Protest at Major Gore Fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall with Colombia Action Committee

Amidst the media circus of the Gore's star-studded celebrity benefit concert, CAC and Wetlands activists were on hand to expose Gore's connection to the ensuing war in Colombia and his stake in Occidental's grab of U'wa lands. Numerous TV stations filmed the demonstration. Also on hand were Nader activists protesting to get the Green candidate included in the presidential debates. After the protest, about ten activists sneaked into the pedestrian viewing area by the red carpet celebrity entrance and held up signs, drummed and challenged celebrities like Crosby, Stills, and Nash; Jon Bon Jovi; Julia Roberts;Michael Douglas; and Lenny Kravitz on ther support of a human rights and environmental abuser.

Wednesday, September 20 Protest at Victory 2000 Office (campaign office for Gore-Lieberman 2000 and Hillary Clinton 2000.)

20-30 protesters staked their ground outside the Gore/Clinton campaign office, with the intent to enter the building to serve Gore a notice of eviction. The group brought a poster-sized eviction notice, an 8' cardboard oil derrick and oil drums bearing Oxy logos intending to "drill for oil" in the lobby of Gore's building just as Occidental intends to drill on U'wa lands.

Entering the building, however was made difficult, by a few rather large, imposing gentlemen who stood directly in front of the entrance of the building with their arms folded. They were joined shortly their after by a large compliment of uniformed police officers.

TV crews, reporters, and journalists began to arrive in surprisingly large numbers. Paradoxically, though, they were uninterested in talking to our media rep or taking our press packets. We soon learned that they were there not to cover our demonstration, but instead to cover a media stunt by Rick Lazio campaign reps who were bringing a contract to the Hillary Clinton campaign folks, asking Clinton to join Lazio in refusing to accept soft money contributions.

The group had decided that despite the large guys and cops at the doors, we would attempt to enter the building. When we realized that the media presence on site would only grow as the minutes passed we bided our time.

At one point, the numerous media crews entered the building with the Lazio aides. When activists tried to enter after them, they were grabbed by cops, and pushed back, but not arrested.

Thereafter, we negotiated a scenario, whereby we could enter the building, but if we were asked to leave by security upon entering we would have to depart or be arrested. Thus,as the media folks were about to leave the building, a bizarre spectacle took place in front of them: activist would enter one of the buildings revolving doors, a security guard would gesture at him or her to leave, and he or she would go out the other revolving door. With twenty or so people doing this in immediate succession, it created a sort of carousel effect, which was shot by many media still and video cameras. The first activist to enter the building served the notice of eviction, and announced that Gore employees would have to leave the premises.

We continued protesting until the last vestiges of Lazio campaigners and media were gone, and then, much to the relief of cops, and security, called it a night.