The U’wa Defense Project
Terence Freitas was working on the Big Mountain project when he was introduced to U’wa (Colombia) leader Roberto Cobaria. A peaceful indigenous community of some 5,000 people, the U’wa live in the remote Andean cloud forests of northeastern Colombia, along the border with Venezuela. The U’wa hold that the Earth is their Mother and oil her blood. In 1998, Occidental Petroleum (OXY) was preparing to drill on pristine U’wa rainforest and the small tribe of about 5,000 were threatening to commit mass suicide (they had committed mass suicide when the spanish tried to enslave them) if OXY’s drill bit cut into their Mother Earth. Terry, without a second thought, created the U’wa’s Defense Project and began fighting with everything he had to bring the world’s attention to this insane scenario. Terry’s very first donation came thru SOL, from Vanguard, and led to his expedition to Colombia with Indigenous leadersLahe’ene Gay, and Ingrid Washinawatok to form a school system that would allow the U’was more communication with the outside world (to help navigate their survival). ALL THREE activist leaders were murdered by the FARC after being kidnapped and dragged around the jungle for over a week.
Attorney General Ashcroft indicted six FARC guerrillas for the murders. The Freitas family issued a statement in opposition to more military aid to Colombia. Our deepest sorrow and gratitude shall forever live in the absence of their monumental lives.