Pubdate: Feb, 2001
Source: The Ecologist (U.K.)
Unit 18, Chelsea Wharf, 15 Lots Rd.
London SW10 0QJ, U.K.
Tel: 44 (0)20 7351 3578
Fax: 44 (0)20 7351 3617

Page: 17
Copyright: The Ecologist 2000
Author: "Campaigns" item by editors

newshawk notes: Although this article contains no mention of the drug war and U.S. anti-drug efforts in Colombia, it starkly reveals a major reason, perhaps THE major reason why the U.S. is interfering in Colombia: Petroleum.


Last September Italian Green Party Senator Stefano Boco announced that the Green Party of Europe is prepared to bring the case of the U'wa, the Colombian Indians who have threatened to commit suicide if their land is drilled for oil, to the Hague Tribunals. The very next day, more than 80 trucks carrying drilling equipment arrived on U'wa territory, protected by thousands of Colombian troops. Barely a week later, in an interview with the Colombian daily El Espectador, retired US Special Forces Sergeant Stan Goff admitted that the US military's "principal interest [in Colombia] is oil. They seek to defend the operations of Occidental Petroleum ('Oxy'), British Petroleum and to secure control of the future Colombian [oil] fields." A month on, Oxy has begun drilling on U'wa territory.

In December last year, human rights and environmental organisations launched a campaign against the Achilles heel of Oxy. Building on their success in persuading Fidelity, Oxy's main investor which divested half its stock in the company following a public campaign, Amazon Watch, Project Underground, Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society are now targeting Sanford C Bernstein & Co. The company became the largest investor in Occidental after Fidelity backed out. Sanford Bernstein holds 53 million shares (valued at $1.19 billion) in Occidental Petroleum.

The NGOs are urging Sanford Bernstein and other major Occidental shareholders to follow Fidelity's example and divest from this morally bankrupt company. Sanford Bernstein manages about $72 billion worth of assets, and counts amongst its clients the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, United Parcel Service, Wisconsin Power & Light and Coca-Cola.

Last April, Sanford Bernstein President Roger Hertog promised the U'wa that he would seriously investigate his company's investments in Occidental, and let the U'wa know of his position. Since then, this company has acquired an additional 10 million shares of Occidental stock. The desperate U'wa have heard nothing.

"Make a Difference" [sidebar]

Write to Roger Hertog, President, Sanford C Bernstein & CO, 767 Fifth Avenue 10153-0185, New York. USA, fax: +1 202 756 4453, copy your letter to Amazon Watch (below). Contact one of the NGOs and ask about organising a day of action at a Sanford C Bernstein office close to you. Sanford C. Bernstein has various offices throughout the US and one in the UK (see ). For more infor- mation contact Amazon Watch, 115 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite E, Topanga, Ca.90290, USA.
Fax +1 3104550619 or visit, email: <amazon@amazonwatchorg>