( Translated by Stephanie DiBello, a CSN’s volunteer translator)

From  TPP ( Permanent People’s Tribunal) and ONIC ( Colombia’s  National Indigenous Association )

This weekend the indigenous people of Motilon Barí will denounce the transnational carbon and petroleum companies because they are impinging on their rights.

(Colombia) (Author: TPP-ONIC)

Everything is ready for the fourth stage of hearings before the Permanent Tribunal of Villages to be carried out June 13th and 14th in the city of Norte de Santander. With the National Authority of the Indigenous Government of the ONIC (National Indigenous Organization of Colombia) the indigenous group Motilon Barí from Norte de Santander will host its brothers in Venezuela, the Uwas from Boyaca, Arauca, and Santander as well as human rights organizations.

The Barí people will focus on some central themes, without doubt to debate and denounce  ‘Petroleum and Carbon’, and the event will be held at the public library Julio Perez Ferrero, located on 1st Avenue Number 12-35 Barrio la Playa.

Apart from the indigenous villagers, human rights organizations are expected to participate along with international organisms, national authorities, and the states and cities of Tibu, Teorema, Tarra, Convencion, and El Carmen, where there is a presence of the people of Motilon Barí in Colombia.


In the past Barí territory covered the entire region of Catatumbo up to Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela; but historically we have faced a constant loss of our territory. Not only have the Barí had to fight in colonial times for our land, but our more recent history as well has been marked by the exploitation of natural resources, namely petroleum, and the colonization of land that since the 1910’s and 1920’s has significantly diminished the Barí territory. And now that the multinational companies have arrived the Colombian government has been gradually giving away our indigenous territory to them.

The petroleum companies have violently usurped our land, and their workers have brought a sharp increase of settlers. Since 1983 we have lost 90% of our land- THE REASON WE EXIST- and we have suffered a considerable demographic reduction caused by this violent invasion; In the past the Barí were many and we would fight guided by our own people.

Today the indigenous territory legally constitutes only 1,200 square kilometers within Colombian and Venezuelan territory, and it is being reduced and under the constant threat of an invasion of our lands.

Within Colombian territory we have posession of the indigenous reservations of Motilon Barí and Cautalara, who operate under the Forest Reserve and the Catatumbo Barí National Park and are recognized under the 102nd Resolution of November 26th, 1988 and the 105th Resolution of December, 1981, respectively. However, the land the Barí people occupy now, which is the same land our ancestors lived on, reaches beyond the territory delimited by INCORA and falls in five zones. Barí territory is defined in the following manner: in the town of el Carmen lie the communities of Iquiacarora, Ayatuina, Aratocbarí, Adosarida, Corrancayra, Ichirrindacayra and Pathuina; in the town of Convencion lie Batroctora, CaxBaríngcayra, Saphadana, and Bridicayra communities; in the town of Teorama lie the Brubucanina, Ocbabuda, Suerera, AsaBaríngcayra, ShubacBarína, Yera, and Sacacdu communities; in the town of Tibu lie Caricachaboquira, Bacuboquira, Beboquira and Isthoda communities; In the town of Tarra lies the Irocobingcayra community.

Our land currently continues to be threatened, now by more powerful invaders, whose intention is to explore and exploit sources of petroleum and carbon. This is because our land is rich in biodiversity, minerals, hydrocarbons, and sources of water. The incursion of the multinationals has caused not only a dwindling of our land, but also the loss of natural and cultural worth, which puts at risk the continuance of the Barí ethnicity; these kinds of invasions are brought forth with a persistent and blatant ignorance and disrespect for the principles vested in the Constitution and the national and international laws that protect indigenous people. Therefore the result of the exploitation of the petroleum companies is nothing more than the extermination of autonomous populations, who are accused of being obstacles to progress by “progressive” groups who suffer from near-sightedness and unfettered ambition.

Now we are few and we have been tolerating so much- the consequences of a war that is not ours, the Militarization, the fumigations, the violations of human rights, the infractions of International Human Rights.

The indigenous community Motilon Barí has a territory full of natural riches and is characterized by its flora and fauna. In this environment we have transmitted generation by generation our cultural values in order to conserve our indigenous ethnicity; this is what impels us to conserve our culture, protect and defend our territory, and maintain our traditional and ancestral cultural practices and customs. It is very important to us to maintain the land that our ancestors lived on because nourishes us, it is the way we live with mother nature, to maintain a relationship with sacred beings, with the spirits and the allies through the god Sabaseba.

Because of the aforementioned situation, we are calling the Traditional Authority of the Autonomous Council of Chiefs of the village of Motió Barí and the National Authority of the Indigenous Government of the ONIC to the Hearing of the Permanent Tribunal of Villages, Colombia chapter, Indigenous session, with the goal to present our culture and cosmovision, the history of agression to which we have been subjected, the recent threats and violation of rights, and the process of resistance that moves the Village of Motilon Barí forward.



“INCHIYI ITAN BAYT SATCHRIDRY” “We will rise up to fight for our land!”

For the autonomous government of the indigenous people of Colombia!!!

Contact: ASCOBARÍ: Carrera 6 No. 6-34 Casa Indigena. Tibu. Norte de Santander. Colombia

Fax: 5663591


For information: email:


Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621

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