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Americas Actions On 510th Anniversary of Columbus

Actions Throughout the Americas to Be Held on the 510th Anniversary of Columbus


***Media Advisory *** ***Media Advisory ***

CONTACTS: Brendan O’Neill, Justin Francese - ACERCA - 802-863-0571 or 202-285-5977

October 11, 2002

Actions Throughout the Americas to Be Held on the 510th Anniversary of Columbus

Thousands to Stand for Indigenous Rights and Against New Era of Corporate Colonialism

This Saturday, October 12th, dozens of demonstrations will be held all over the US in solidarity with actions in Mexico and Central America to protest the 510th anniversary of Columbus day. Thousands of indigenous activists and supporters from Canada to Panama, will demand basic human rights for all native peoples and an end to free trade agreements that exploit native communities and their lands. They will also call for an end to the militarization that accompanies corporate globalization. Demonstrators will block roads and borders, and hold marches, cultural celebrations, rallies, and other direct actions.

“October 12th marks the 510th anniversary of the coming of the colonial pirate Christopher Columbus and the beginning of the American holocaust that has claimed 16 million Indian lives in what is now called United States,” Says American Indian Movement (AIM)’s Vernon Bellecourt. “On this day, we join voices with all peoples of Peace and Justice to call for tribunals against all death squad governments in the Global South and their CIA collaborators. Also, we demand respect for indigenous treaty, cultural and environmental rights by way of restitution and reparations that will begin the reconstruction of an indigenous future in America.”

The Southwest Network for Environmental & Economic Justice will mobilize activists from the U.S./Mexico border communities of El Paso/Ciudad Juarez and Nogales to rally at the border. This rally will demonstrate their rejection of the corporate colonialism advanced with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and now the looming FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas). In Washington, D.C. demonstrations led by representatives of AIM will take place at a Christopher Columbus statue to demand, among other things, the immediate release of AIM’s Leonard Peltier, wrongfully imprisoned for the deaths of two FBI agents. Other large demonstrations are planned in New York City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Columbus, Ohio among other cities.

Also in the US, actions will occur at Federal Buildings, borders, military installations, trade offices, and multinationals such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Monsanto, and Citibank. Demands of the U.S.-based Latin American Solidarity Coalition (LASC) include ending U.S. sponsored economic and military violence in the Americas including halting bombing on Vieques, Puerto Rico, shutting down the School of the Americas, and stopping the FTAA.

The LASC actions will occur in solidarity with Central America and Mexico-wide actions against the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP). Teodosio Angel of the Union of Indigenous Communities in the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI), in Oaxaca, Mexico says, “We will block roads, ports and borders and protest multinationals like Coca Cola to demand that corporations and governments stop robbing our natural resources and basic rights. For 510 years, governments and corporations have ignored us and it continues today with the PPP.” In Panama, indigenous activists are marching from Costa Rica to Panama City, a distance of over 200 miles, to protest the ecological destruction caused by mining on their lands. In Managua, Nicaragua, actions against the Inter-American Development Bank will expose their role as a corporate welfare institution.

“October 12, so called Columbus Day, is the day when terrorism began on our lands.” says Andrea Carmen of Yaqui Indigenous Nation and Executive Director International Indigenous Treaty Council (IITC). “Its ongoing legacy has continued for 510 years. We've seen our lands taken, cultures and sacred sites destroyed, treaties violated, families killed and imprisoned, and so-called Œdevelopment’ imposed on us with no regards for our peoples’ ways of life. October 12, 2002 is a day not to despair about the past but to celebrate our continued resistance and survival as Peoples and Nations. We are coming together today to rededicate ourselves to the struggle for safeguarding our Mother Earth, the continued survival of our traditional cultures, and renewing bonds of solidarity with all peoples of this world who share our aspirations for a better life."

To reach local organizers in cities from Panama to Canada please contact ACERCA (Action for Community and Ecology in the Regions of Central America) at 802-863-0571 or brendan@asej.org. For more information and to see a list of U.S. based actions visit www.lasolidarity.org and www.aimovement.org.

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