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Urgent Action Alerts

Action Alerts!!
SEMINAR IN ANIMAL CRUELTY
HELP LIBERATE CAPTIVE DOLPHINS!
URGENT LETTER PROTESTING ABUSE OF DOG AT A HIGH SCHOOL
HELP PROTECT AMERICA'S BEARS!

Activists want Halt to Pesticide Spraying
Get American Companies out of Burma!
Help out Direct Action Network's Legal Team

Urgent Petition For Action: Petroleum Activities in the Maya Biosphere Reserve Violate The Rights of Guatemalen Citizens

 

SEMINAR IN ANIMAL CRUELTY: Billing it as *an event too decadent to miss,* the Wine Tasting Association of Alexandria, Virginia is conducting a *Foie Gras Seminar* on Wed., October 18th to promote the French *delicacy* of foie gras (which translates, literally, into *fat liver*). What the Association is not mentioning in its promotions are the actual methods by which this *delicacy* is produced - which are anything BUT delicate. While event brochures explain that *when raised to specifications, the Moulard duck features the enlarged foie gras liver, * they fail to disclose the true nature of these *specifications,* which include force-feeding ducks and geese through tubes attached to mechanical pumps. The result is an animal with a grossly enlarged liver, and very often, fatalities from ruptured internal organs and torn esophagi.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please send protest letters to
Mark Phillips, Executive Director, Wine Tasting Association,
8501 Doter Drive, Alexandria, VA 22308
Ph: 703 799-1221 (703) 799-1221/ Fax: (703) 799-1695
Email: wta@winetasting.org . Tell him that *foie gras* cruelty is OUT.

HELP LIBERATE CAPTIVE DOLPHINS!

Please take a minute to voice your opposition to holding dolphins captive in a shopping mall. Tell Maui you are against building new prisons for dolphins.
Maui County is currently debating whether or not to build a shoppingmall/dolphin research/theme park facility on the island of Maui.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please take a minute to write a letter to the Maui County Council at
200 South High Street, Wailuku, HI 96793
Email: County.council@co.maui.hi.us Fax (808) 270-7686 (Faxing is best)
Tell them
1. holding such sentient and highly social animals captive is immoral.
2. that it makes you less likely to want to live on/visit the island.
3. that The Dolphin Institute, which has been stealing dolphins from the wild and experimenting on them for decades now is a notorious organization that has been cited on numerous occasions for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
The intimate nature of the island and its interest in maintaining its status as a prime tourist destination (Maui has been voted "The Number One Island in the World" several years running by Conde' Nast Traveler, the pre-eminent American travel publication) makes this one of those occasions where your voice will be heard. Thank you very much.
You can also send us copies of the letter at The Free Dolphin Coalition of Maui, free_dolphin@hotmail.com, Fax: (208) 485-6457
PO BOX 1547, Kahului, HI 96733

URGENT LETTER PROTESTING ABUSE OF DOG AT A HIGH SCHOOL

Click here for background info.
October 4-A $ 1000 reward is being offered for information that will lead to the conviction of the people responsible for abusing Blu, a Las Vegas high schoolâo™s mascot. THE ENGLISH BULLDOG WAS FOUND BLEEDING AND CHAINED TO A FENCE AT CENTENNIAL HIGH SCHOOL™S FOOTBALL FIELD. Last week, Blu was taken from her backyard. Investigators think she was forced into a dogfight and they are also looking into the possibility that she was beaten. Veterinarians say Blu now is dealing with internal infections. The medical bills are climbing as Blu continues to receive treatment. If you would like to help Blu, contact the Ark Animal Clinic at 648-8583.

SOURCE: Member of Great Dane Club of Las Vegas
"....My name is Claudia Baker, I am the secretary of the Great Dane Club of Las Vegas, NV. A horrible thing has happened, that all dog fanciers should know about as reported by Bob DeCastro, of KVBC channel 3. (www.kvbc.com click on More Local News) Blue, a female registered English Bull Dog and mascot of Centennial High School, was stolen from her home and several found days later bleeding, chained and staked to the 50 yard line right before a football game. Blue was found wearing the visiting team, Mojave High's, T-shirt Blue had been kicked, beaten black and blue with a blunt object, allowed to be gnawed on by a pit bull badly enough to have gaping open wounds. The alleged GANG of football players had turned her spiked collar inside out so that the spikes dug into her neck, then placed a bowl of water out of her reach.

If you think this is bad enough, read on. This has not been publicly made known on the news, but she was SEXUALLY abused with either these sicko's own penises or with a not so blunt object. She was then urinated upon. As you all know, sexual crimes are about power not sex. These jerks tortured a defenseless, sweet dog because of a stupid, childish, football game rivalry. Blue was treated at the ARK animal clinic (702 648-8583), and has been released, but she's now battling severe internal injuries and infection.

The principle of Mojave High School has downplayed the event not wanting to spoil the school's image and has even COMPLAINED about police interviewing his football team over, a stupid dog. The Centennial High School students have raised $1000 as a reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible, but the Code of Silence amongst Mojave students is in full force, so the case has been frustrating to the Metro police department. Please, please, please write to KVBC, and forward this to other lists! - Claudia Baker, Durango Great Danes , Henderson, Nevada

WHAT YOU CAN DO: PLEASE DO NOT LET THESE STUDENTS GET AWAY WITH THIS!! SEND THE FOLLOWING LETTERS.
SEND LETTER TO: SESCALANTE@kvbc.com
SAMPLE LETTER: I am writing from (ADD STATE YOU ARE WRITING FROM) to let you know that the story about Blu, the dog that was so violently abused, has gained international attention, via the internet and animal rights activists. I commend your station for reporting this, and hope to see updates on the investigation on your website.
Sincerely, --end of sample--
SEND LETTER TO: Mojave High School
5302 Goldfield St., N. Las Vegas, NV 89031
702-799-0432, x211 (IF YOU CAN CALL) Warren Hagman, Assistant Principal of Athletics 702-799-0432, x276
SAMPLE LETTER: Dear Mr. Hagman: I am writing in reference to the reported incident involving your students and the horrific abuse of a dog. This case has gained international attention, via the internet and animal rights activists, and will be watched closely. What happened to this dog is an absolute disgrace to your school and I would like to know what your plans are for dealing with this. I look forward to your reply.
Sincerely, --end of sample letter--
SEND LETTER TO: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
400 East Stewart Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101-2984
702-795-3111 , Email: PIO@lvmpd.com (IF POSSIBLE PLEASE SEND A COPY OF THIS TO MOJAVE HIGH SCHOOL.)
SAMPLE LETTER: I am writing in reference to the the reported incident involving Mojave High School and the horrific abuse of a dog. This case has gained international attention, via the internet and animal rights activists, and will be watched closely. I am sure you are aware of the connection between violence against animals and violence against humans. The students responsible for this crime must not go unpunished. A strong message must be sent to the community that animal abuse will not be tolerated. If the students involved are capable of such cruel and inhumane acts against a defenseless animal they must seek psychiatric help. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply.
Sincerely, --end of sample--
SEND LETTER TO: Media Partners for Pets (Las Vegas) 702-617-3323 E-Mail: spotslover@lvcm.com
SAMPLE LETTER: I am writing in reference to the the reported incident involving Mojave High School and the horrific abuse of a dog. This case has gained international attention, via the internet and animal rights activists, and will be watched closely. Please do everything in your power to ensure that this incident is not ignored. I am sure you are aware of the connection between violence against animals and violence against humans. The students responsible for this crime must not go unpunished. A strong message must be sent to the community that animal abuse will not be tolerated. Thank you for your time.
Sincerely, (YOUR NAME)

HELP PROTECT AMERICA'S BEARS!

I'm sure most of you have heard about the China bile bear industry, in which 10,000 bears are cramped in tiny cages on "bear farms" and milked for their bile. The bears have no room to move, stand up, or turn around. They lie down horizontally and are "milked" for their bile twice a day. The process is so painful that they roar, mutilate or kill themselves. They spend their whole lives like this, usually 10, but up to 20 years! The bile is used for "ancient Chinese remedies," (which are not even proven to work), aphrodisiacs, shampoo, and even wine! The active chemical can be synthesized, so this cruelty is not even necessary!

The UK-based World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has uncovered evidence that American's black bears are getting caught up in this cruel business. "Captive-breeding programs in China are not sufficient to meet the demand for bears and their gall bladders," reports WSPA's Susan Sherwin. As wild populations continue to dwindle, producers are forced to look elsewhere for their raw materials--and we have found that North American black bears, as well as bears in Asia and South America, are being killed for their gall bladders."

To help halt the exploitation of bears, WSPA is urging U.S. citizens to press their legislative officials for the passage of H.R.2166, the Bear Protection Act, which would ban the import, export and interstate trade in bear organs and products.

Please contact your legislative officials and ask them to co-sponsor, and/or push for the passage of this important bill.
In New York: The Honorable Daniel Moynihan, U.S. Senate (NY)
464 Russell State Office Bldg, Washington, DC 20510-0001
Washington Voice: (202) 224-4451 Washington Fax: (202) 228-0406 Voice: (212) 661-5150
e-mail: senator@dpm.senate.gov URL: http://moynihan.senate.gov/

Charles Schumer, U.S. Senate (NY)
313 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington, DC 20510-0001
Washington Voice: (202) 224-6542 Washington Fax: (202) 228-3027, Voice: (212) 486-4430 =
e-mail: Senator@Schumer.senate.gov URL: http://schumer.senate.gov/

In New Jersey: The Hon. Frank Lautenberg, U.S. Senate (NJ)
506 Hart Senate Office Bldg.., Washington, DC 20510-0001
Washington Voice: (202) 224-4744 Washington Fax: (202) 224-9707 Voice (973) 645-3030
e-mail: frank_lautenberg@lautenberg.senate.gov URL: http://lautenberg.senate.gov/

The Hon. Robert Torricelli. U.S. Senate (NJ)
113 Dirksen Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510-0001
Washington Voice: (202) 224-3224 Washington Fax: (202) 224-8567 Voice: (973) 624-5555
URL: http://torricelli.senate.gov/

For House representatives, you can write to:
The Honorable _______________ U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 50515
or call, (202) 225-3121
You can also look up your representative at: www.house.gov/writerep/ or call the New York League of Women Voters at (518) 465-4162. You can also call Kim Downes at (212) 912-7606 (during the day), as she has all the New York Congresspeople's addresses.

Activists File Lawsuit Seeking Halt to Pesticide Spraying in Light of Threats to Health and Safety, Legal Violations

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Environmental activists filed suit against the City of New York in federal court today for violations of federal and state environmental statutes in the city¹s mosquito-control pesticide-spray program. Activists charge the city with engaging in unlawful discharge of toxic chemicals into and over air, land and waters around New York City, which has put the health of residents at serious risk and threatens critical environmental wildlife habitat. They have asked the court to stop the spraying because of the health and safety risks and violations of the approved labels and the law.

The suit lists a series of violations associated with the 1999 spraying in which hazardous insecticides were sprayed from helicopters and trucks. This week, the city began spraying of a hazardous pesticide in Staten Island. Activists tie the pesticides in use at the time and proposed for use this season to dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, skin irritation, loss of coordination, twitching and seizures, as well as delayed long-term neurotoxic effects, including optic and peripheral neuropathy. The pesticides may also be a cause of breast cancer.

The suit is being brought by the New York City-based No Spray Coalition, Disabled in Action, Save Organic Standards - NY and the National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides. Also on the suit as plaintiffs are city residents Robert Lederman, Valerie Sheppard, Eva Yaa Asantewaa and Mitchel Cohen.

According to the lawsuit, wind currents caused pesticides to draft or were directly sprayed over water bodies of New York City, accumulating in the city¹s waters and sediments, harming aquatic invertebrates and aquatic life stages of amphibians, fish, shellfish and other organisms. Also stated as a concern is the impact of the spraying on critical environmental habitats for birds, including migratory and uncommon species.

The lawsuit charges violations of the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, the State Environmental Quality Review Act, and the City Environmental Quality Review regulations. The plaintiffs allege that the city failed to apply for the appropriate permits, neglected to conduct Environmental Impact Statements, and violated pesticide product label restrictions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act(FIFRA), the federal pesticide-control law.

"The spraying continued without concern for risk to people with asthma or compromised immune systems," said Eva Yaa Asantewaa, a Plaintiff and board member of the No Spray Coalition. "Our neighborhoods have a very high number of both, particularly among people of color."

Due to pressure from anti-pesticide activists, the city has been forced to stop future use of malathion, but sprayed Staten Island with sumithrin. Sumithrin and resmithrin, another pesticide used by the city, are pyrethroids. Inhaling pyrethroid insecticides can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, runny or stuffy nose, chest pain or difficulty breathing. Skin contact can cause a rash, itching, or blisters. According to Mitchel Cohen, of the No Spray Coalition and the Brooklyn Greens, "The brand of sumithrin used by the city, Anvil, includes piperonyl butoxide, which can cause skin and eye irritation. All the health effects of this chemical have not been fully researched, but pyrethroids could be a cause of breast cancer - laboratory tests have indicated the disruption of the endocrine system by mimicking the effects of the female sex hormone estrogen."

What you Can Do:

· Donate. The lawsuit takes money! Although our lawyer, Joel Kupferman, of the NY Law and Environmental Justice Project, has donated his time (as have ALL of us!), we still need thousands of dollars just to transcribe the testimonies we'll be taking of all the officials involved, including the Mayor, and proceed with the lawsuit. We cannot underplay our need for funds. Whatever you can give, whether it be $5 or $5,000, it is greatly appreciated and will be put to excellent use. Please make out checks to the No Spray Coalition, and mail to: PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station, NYC 10272-0334. All funds are tax exempt.

· Call us and find out what you can do to help! We need people to donate their TIME as well as funds. Ask us for flyers you can distribute. We have several pamphlets geared to distribution at elementary schools, municipal workers' and their unions, science professionals, health care providers, and others. Set up a meeting at which we could speak. We have an excellent group of public speakers on this issue. Ask organizations to which you belong to join the No Spray Coalition. Call the "No Spray Hotline" at (718) 670-7110 to get regular updates of events, and to volunteer to help!

The No Spray Coalition, PO Box 334, Peck Slip Station, NYC, NY 10272-0334 The No Spray Hotline (718) 670-7110

 


Write a letter to get American companies out of Burma!

Since the corporations who continue to invest in Burma play such an important role in propping up the military regime, one of the most effective ways we can support democracy in Burma is to encourage those corporations to withdraw. Please contact the companies who invest in Burma to express your concern.

UNOCAL

Roger Beach, CEO
2141 Rosecrans Ave.
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310)726-7600

Dear Roger Beach,
CEO of UNOCAL,
I am writing to express my concern about UNOCAL's continued investment in the Southeast Asian nation of Burma. The democratically elected leadership of Burma has been very clear in asking foreign corporations to withdraw until democracy is achieved. As corporations are increasingly deciding to withdraw from the country in response to public pressure, Suzuki should not be part of the small group of stubborn corporations who insist on continuing to invest, thereby propping up the ruthless regime. I ask that UNOCAL immediately cut all ties with business in Burma until democracy is achieved. To continue to play a role as responsible members of the business community worldwide, UNOCAL should respond to the legitimate and reasonable calls from the democratic leadership in Burma and take a stand for democracy and human rights. Please be advised that I will not patronize UNOCAL until the company has withdrawn from Burma. Please respond and let me know what you are doing on these matters.
Sincerely,

Continuing the campaign to convince UNOCAL to leave Burma by contacting members of their boards of directors, please write to a board member of Unocal, Mr. John Amerman, retired CEO of Mattel Inc., the toy manufacturer. Please send Mr. Amerman a brief note about Unocal and Burma. Also send a copy of your note to Ms. Jill Barad, the current CEO of Mattel. Ms. Barad is currently having a lot of difficulty with falling share prices and profit at Mattel.

Mr. John Amerman
CEO, Retired
Mattel Inc.
333 Continental Blvd
El Segundo CA 90245

Ms. Jill Barad
CEO
Mattel Inc.
(same address)

Dear Mr. Amerman,
I hope that you understand the widespread concern about Unocal's pipeline venture in Burma. The Burma pipeline has not profited Unocal, and has caused great hardship and tragedy for the people of the region, as well as financing and encouraging a brutal, drug-dealing regime. A panel from the French Parliament has recently reported on the harm associated with the Burma pipeline project. Unocal's joint venture with one of the world's most notorious regimes gives a terrible image to Board Members like you. At a time when your own company, Mattel, is working to improve its business, why should you continue to be associated with Unocal and the heroin thugs of Burma? Please speak out for Unocal's withdrawal from Burma, or resign from the Unocal Board. Please respond and let me know what you plan to do on this matter.
Sincerely,

Best Western International Inc
6201 N. 24th Parkway
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Dear Best Western,
I am writing to express my concern about Best Western's continued investment in the Southeast Asian nation of Burma. As you know, Best Western's involvement in Burma is small. It is for this reason that I ask that you revoke your membership as soon as possible from all hotels in Burma until the military regime in that country has fallen from power. The democratically elected leadership of Burma has been very clear in asking foreign corporations to withdraw until democracy is achieved. As corporations are increasingly deciding to withdraw from the country in response to public pressure, Best Western should not be part of the small group of stubborn corporations who insist on continuing to invest, thereby propping up the ruthless regime. I ask that Best Western Hotels immediately cut all ties with business in Burma until democracy is achieved. To continue to play a role as responsible members of the business community worldwide, Best Western Hotels should respond to the legitimate and reasonable calls from the democratic leadership in Burma and take a stand for democracy and human rights. Please be advised that I will not patronize any Best Western hotel or affiliate until the company has withdrawn from Burma. Please respond and let me know what you are doing about these matters.
Sincerely,

Suzuki
3251 East Imperial Hwy.
Brea, CA 92821

Dear Suzuki,
I am writing to express my concern about Suzuki's continued investment in the Southeast Asian nation of Burma. The democratically elected leadership of Burma has been very clear in asking foreign corporations to withdraw until democracy is achieved. As corporations are increasingly deciding to withdraw from the country in response to public pressure, Suzuki should not be part of the small group of stubborn corporations who insist on continuing to invest, thereby propping up the ruthless regime. I ask that Suzuki immediately cut all ties with business in Burma until democracy is achieved. To continue to play a role as responsible members of the business community worldwide, Suzuki should respond to the legitimate and reasonable calls from the democratic leadership in Burma and take a stand for democracy and human rights. Please be advised that I will not patronize Suzuki until the company has withdrawn from Burma. Please respond and let me know what you are doing on these matters.
Sincerely,
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***PLEASE FORWARD VERY VERY WIDELY!!!!***

Dear Friend,
The World Trade Organization protests in Seattle were an incredible week that saw the shutdown of the WTO and the emergence of amazing new alliances between disparate groups working for social justice. Perhaps most important is the wonderful feeling among many that this is just the beginning.

The protestors experienced unbelievable amounts of state repression, including tear gassings, beatings, and the suspension of their constitutional rights. Five hundred and seventy-six people were arrested for raising their voices against the human rights abuses and environmental destruction fostered by the WTO. These defendants need your help.

The defendants have shown incredible courage both in jail and in court, with over ninety eight percent maintaining solidarity agreements. The majority of the cases have been dropped because of this amazing solidarity and with the help of the Direct Action Network (DAN) Legal Team. Now the real fun is just beginning, as the DAN Legal Team gears up to give trial support to those defendants whose cases have not been dismissed. The DAN Legal Team is hard at work helping these defendants with legal information, housing, and travel expenses.

The concentrated resources of the activist community and the DAN Legal Team, coupled with the astounding flimsiness of the cases against the WTO defendants, means that justice will prevail - but we need you to help make it happen! Your donation to the DAN Legal Defense Fund will help to pay for defendants' travel expenses and DAN Legal Office expenses.

Please make checks payable to the DAN Legal Team. You can mail your donation to: DAN Legal Team, PO Box 95113, Seattle, WA 98145. Please feel free to contact Amanda Jarman at (206) 632-9482 or dan_legal@yahoo.com with any comments or questions.

Thank you for your generous support. With your help, the WTO defendants will win at their trials!

Cordially,
the DAN Legal Team
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URGENT PETITION FOR ACTION: PETROLEUM ACTIVITIES IN THE MAYA BIOSPHERE RESERVE VIOLATE THE RIGHTS OF GUATEMALAN CITIZENS (Please distribute as wide as posible)

A great fear that petroleum companies will continue operating with business as usual, and that the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) will be destroyed forever, was recently provoked by the Guatemalan Government's halfhearted and contradictory responses to Guatemala's Attorney General for Human Rights who concluded that petroleum activities in the Maya Biosphere Reserve constitute a violation of the fundamental rights of all Guatemalans.

On February 7th, Guatemala's Attorney General for Human Rights ruled that the petroleum activities in the Maya Biosphere violate human rights "each time they disrupt the right to a clean environment, to the right of individual dignity, to the right of the preservation of the cultural and natural patrimony of the country, and to the right to social and economic development". The ruling also affirms that the violation of the Law of Protected Areas constitutes "an administrative tendency detrimental to the citizens of Guatemala, and especially, to the communities neighboring the ravaged protected areas."

However, the official reaction focused exclusively on one of the nine concessions illegally approved in the Maya Biosphere. In doing so, the government failed to address the preoccupations of communities such as Carmelita and Uaxactún who have been threatened by the pending approval of petroleum concessions that will overlap forest areas which they have inhabited for over a century.

Despite the fact that the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) has been protected by law since 1989, continuous violations of the law by authorities have allowed approximately 50% of the MBR Buffer Zone, as well as 40% of the MBR Multiple Use Zone and Core Zone to be opened, or auctioned off, for petroleum extraction. Using disingenuous legal trickery, nine new contracts for exploration or extraction have been approved since 1992 in the heart of the MBR and in the Buffer Zone, in addition to the two new proposals which affect the communities of Carmelita and Uaxactún.

The Maya Biosphere is located in the northernmost part of Guatemala, forming the frontier with Mexico and Belize. It also serves as the heart of the greater Maya Forest (or Selva Maya), which is shared among the three countries. With an area of 1.6 million hectares in the Guatemalan part alone, the Maya Forest is considered as the second most important remaining tract of tropical forest in the Americas, second only to the Amazon.

Among the potentially illegal new contracts recently approved, only three contain producing wells. Upon commencing exploration and extraction in the six pending concessions including Carmelita and Uaxactún, the reserve would be irreparably damaged as would be the forest cultures and communities in the area. The incoherent government response to the Attorney General for Human Rights' recent condemnation of petroleum activities was highlighted by the contradictions between two government agencies: the Secretary of the Environment, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Indeed, the Secretary's failure to mention all petroleum concessions apart from the Laguna Del Tigre contract (1-92), and the subsequent reaction by the Minister of Energy and Mines in which he belittled the Secretary of the Environment's authority to comment, amplify the fear that petroleum activities will continue destroying the Maya Biosphere Reserve. There is ample evidence to suggest that Guatemalan government's efforts to subdue the negative consequences of petroleum activities will be focused only on Laguna Del Tigre, allowing the remaining concessions to continue as a time bomb in the MBR.

We urgently ask for your support. You can help by sending an email message to the Guatemalan government at: Copredeh@guate.net, with copy to the Ministry of Energy and Mines (unimem1@pronet.net.gt) and Tropico Verde (tropicoverde@guate.net), expressing:

1) Your preoccupation that the environmental authorities in Guatemala have focused only upon the legality of contract 1-92, in Laguna Del Tigre, and that they have not mentioned contracts 1-91, 5-93, 1-95, 2-95, A-9-96, >A-11-96, A-1-97 (Carmelita), A-2-97 (Uaxactún), 1-98, and 2-98, that were also approved after the creation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, or are >currently pending.

2) That the Law of Protected Areas clearly establishes that within Guatemalan protected areas, including buffer zones, destructive activities such as petroleum extraction are prohibited, and that all the above listed contracts are within the Maya Biosphere and the MBR Buffer Zone.

3) That the Maya Biosphere Reserve is included within UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program, and that citizens of all countries have the obligation to resist its reckless destruction.

4) Your desire that the Guatemalan Government immediately suspend all petroleum contracts in the MBR signed after the establishment of the reserve. By failing to do so, the current government will be running the risk of being charged with violating the fundamental human rights of the local people along with previous administrations who supported the clearly illegal contracts.

5) That the following signatories of this letter of concern will continue to vigil regarding the Guatemalan government's response to this crisis, and until a solution respectful of the natural patrimony of the Guatemalan people, and indeed all people, is found.

Below, a sample letter is provided that can be sent in its entirety, or modified as desired.

President Alfonso Portillo - Republic of Guatemala,
Esteemed President,
It is with great preoccupation that we write regarding the petroleum operations that were approved between 1992 and 1998 in the Maya Biosphere Reserve and the adjacent Buffer Zone. We recently learned of the ruling by Guatemala's Attorney General for Human Rights indicating that the petroleum activities within the Maya Biosphere Reserve constitute a violation of the fundamental right of all Guatemalans to a healthy environment.

We are bothered by the contradictions emitted by your functionaries and advisors in response to the recent ruling, and by the fact that all government personnel have only considered the legality of contract 1-92, in Laguna Del Tigre, having otherwise failed to discuss the legality of contracts 1-91, 5-93, 1-95, 2-95, A-9-96, A-11-96, A-1-97 (Carmelita), A-2-97 (Uaxactún), 1-98, and 2-98. All of the above contracts are situated within the Maya Biosphere Reserve and its buffer zone. All were approved after the declaration of the reserve. Especially confusing is the government's position regarding contracts A-1-97 (Carmelita), and A-2-97 (Uaxactún), both offered for concession in 1998, and both encountered within the Multiple Use Zone.

The Guatemalan Law of Protected Areas clearly establishes that destructive activities are prohibited within all protected areas and their surrounding buffer zones. As a result, all authorizations of petroleum activities within the Maya Biosphere Reserve after 1990 are a clear violation of the law. We remind that all the previously mentioned contracts were approved after that date.

Your government now faces the responsibility of choosing between two paths: one against popular opinion, that would do tremendous harm to your country's environmental legacy; the other the path of permanently suspending all concessions in the Maya Biosphere subsequent to the establishment of the reserve. This second path would allow you to demonstrate your respect for the fundamental rights of your citizens, while complying with the laws of your country.

In consideration of the above, we urge:
1) That you reject any new petroleum activities within the Maya Biosphere Reserve, including the buffer zone, and in all other Guatemalan protected areas.
2) That you immediately support a review of all existing or pending contracts within the Maya Biosphere Reserve, and that you immediately suspend all contracts approved since the creation of the reserve as a protected area.

We will continue monitoring the measures taken by your government to remedy the problem. We urge you to quickly respond to this crisis, and at the same time we remind you that the Maya Biosphere Reserve is included within UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program, making it the responsibility of all citizens everywhere to vigil for its protection.

Sincerely,
Your name and the name of your organization

Tropico Verde
14 calle 5-08 Zona 10 01010
Guatemala, Guatemala Tlf: 502 6341444

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