Betreff: [EF!] GALAPAGOS UNDER SIEGE! (+ update)
Von: Earth First! Media
Datum: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 12:27:52 -0700
An: Earth First! alert , seamammals posting


JUNE 3, 2004

NEWS RELEASE



GALAPAGOS UNDER SIEGE!

Reported by Captain Paul Watson 1800 hrs. PST



(Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz & Isabella Islands, Galapagos, Ecuador)



Sea Shepherd crew members held hostage by angry 
mob of fishermen demanding unrestricted 
exploitation of Sea Cucumbers



The offices of the National Park on Santa Cruz 
Island and the offices of the National Park on 
Isabella Island have been taken over by angry 
mobs of fishermen.  Also taken were the island of 
Espanola and the tourist sites there.  The mob is 
armed with clubs, lead pipes, & Molotov 
cocktails.  Our unarmed Sea Shepherd Crew had a 
standoff lasting hours until just recently when 
the rangers & all persons were ordered out by the 
Ministry of the Environment, basically leaving 
the office in the hands of the Mob. Some of the 
Marines & the Police are still there but it’s a 
very touchy situation.  Apparently there is help 
coming from the mainland.



However, our Sea Shepherd crew on Isabella Island 
is still being held hostage there, and that 
includes citizens from America, Canada, New 
Zealand and Switzerland.  There has been no word 
from them at the time of this release.



People are getting weary of this mob rule… 
anytime the fishermen make demands; they simply 
use violence to get what they want. 



They were given a quota of 4 million sea 
cucumbers, that’s not enough for them, even 
though the scientists have said that none was too 
many.  Now the fishermen are demanding 
unrestricted exploitation which is an impossible 
demand.



The fact is that the Galapagos Islands are a 
World Heritage site. We all have a responsibility 
to protect them, not just the Ecuadorians!



We possibly protect natural resources that don't 
have even this so called “protection”.



The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is asking 
that people write, fax, or e-mail the Ecuadorian 
government through the embassies in their 
countries and demand that the government stand up 
to the mob of violent thugs terrorizing the 
Galapagos.  






El presidente Lucio Gutiérrez , Presidente de la Republica del Ecuador
Fax: 593-2-580-735
E-mail: <mailto:monica.iza@presidencia.gov.ec%20>monica.iza@presidencia.gov.ec


Embassy of Ecuador UK
Flat 3, 3 Hans Crescent
London
SW1X 0LS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 75842648
Fax: +44 (0)20 78239701

Consulate of Ecuador Canada
50 O'Connor Street, Suite 113
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2
Tel: (613) 563-8206
Fax: (613) 235-5776

Consulate of Ecuador USA
2535 15th Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20009
Tel: (202) 234-7166
Fax: (202) 667-3482
e:mail: <mailto:consuladodc@ecuador.org>consuladodc@ecuador.org
website: <http://www.ecuador.org/>http://www.ecuador.org  





Captain Paul Watson

Founder and President

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

<http://www.seashepherd.org>www.seashepherd.org

Director-Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil

National Director-Sierra Club

Director-Farley Mowat Institute

<mailto:paulwatson@earthlink.net>paulwatson@earthlink.net

Satellite: 011-8816-3143-4290

Office: 360-370-5650

Fax: 360-370-5651

Cell: 310-701-3096



  ***************************************************




GALAPAGOS UPDATE - June 6, 2004

Report from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Ship R/V Farley Mowat
Academy Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

Sea Shepherd Crew Released from Isabela Island

        
       During the evening of June 5, six Sea 
Shepherd crewmembers stranded on Isabela Island 
were finally allowed to leave.

       At 1300 Hours the crew, escorted by Naval 
marines, went to the dock to board a Galapagos 
National Park vessel. They were stopped by a 
crowd of about 50 fishermen who told them they 
could not leave. The marines and the crew 
retreated to the office of the Port Captain 
followed by the fishermen. The fishermen informed 
the Port Captain that they would let the Sea 
Shepherd crew depart if they would agree to sign 
a document stating that they had never been 
prevented from leaving and were never held on the 
island against their will. The crew refused to 
sign.

       The Navy insisted that the crew sign the 
document so they could depart. The crew contacted 
Captain Paul Watson onboard the Farley Mowat and 
he advised them to not sign any document.

       "Do not lend credibility to that mob," said 
Captain Watson. "The Navy should be ashamed of 
themselves for insisting that you follow the 
orders of those thugs."

       The Port Captain told them that they were 
not being held against their will and that they 
could leave if they would just agree to sign the 
document.

       Cathy Davies of New Zealand said to the 
Port Captain, "Can you not see how absurd you 
sound? We are being held right now against our 
will and you are asking us to sign a statement 
saying that we are not and unless we agree to 
sign this statement saying we are not being held 
against our will, we will continue to be held 
against our will."

       The crew informed the Port Captain and the 
fishermen that holding them on the island was 
resulting in focusing international attention on 
the situation in the islands, and if they 
insisted on continuing to hold them hostage then 
the negative reporting would continue.

       Finally at around 1730 Hours, the fishermen 
decided to let the Sea Shepherd volunteers go 
without the signed documents and the crewmembers 
boarded the Park boat and departed for Santa Cruz 
Island.   

       Back on the ship, the crew reported it was 
extremely strange to see armed Marines and police 
being intimidated by club wielding thugs.

D-Day in the Galapagos: Sea Shepherd Lands Crew 
on the Beaches of the National Park
       

       The illegal and violent occupation of the 
Galapagos National Park continues as mobs of 
disgruntled fishermen on five islands continue to 
hold the Park hostage to their demands.

       At 0600 Hours on the morning of June 6, the 
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society landed a crew 
of six at the Darwin Research Station behind the 
lines of the fishermen barricading the Park 
entrance.

       Their mission was to check on the welfare 
of Lonesome George and the hundreds of tortoises 
in the breeding facility in the Park.

       Lonesome George is the last surviving 
member of his sub-species. He is over one hundred 
years old although his exact age has not been 
determined.

        The four crew plus two members of a 
documentary team from Canada moved through the 
Park undetected and were able to investigate the 
tortoises. They found that the tortoises were 
unharmed but it did not appear that they were 
being fed.

       The crew then decided to walk out of the 
Park and approached the main entrance.

       The surprised and clearly angry fishermen 
threw rocks and attacked Jordan De Vann and Alex 
Cornelissen from the Netherlands, Graham 
Cantellow from Britain, Jared Rubin and Edward 
Curran from the United States and Cameraman Paul 
Kell of Canada. The Sea Shepherd did not 
retaliate nor did they say a word although they 
were repeatedly struck with sticks and stones. 
 Paul Kell filmed the entire incident.

       Ecuadorian Marines at the gate leveled 
their guns at the fishermen and escorted the crew 
out of the main gate.

       Shortly after returning to the Farley 
Mowat, the Port Captain sent a launch to the Sea 
Shepherd ship to demand that Captain Watson 
report to the Port office.

       He did so and arrived to find Pablo Salas 
the chief of marine enforcement for the National 
Park, along with dozens of Naval officers and 
about twenty armed marines.

       Jordan De Vann and Alex Cornelissen arrived to support Captain Watson.

       Captain Watson angered the Captain of 
Marines when he asked Pablo Salas, "Who is this 
guy?" He was referring to a man in shorts and a 
T-shirt who looked like a fisherman.

       The man replied in English, "I am the 
Captain of the Marines and you people have caused 
a serious problem here for us."

       The Port Captain, Freddy Endara, and 
Captain Cajas of the Marines informed Captain 
Watson that his crew had broken the law by 
entering the National Park.

       "What law have they broken?" Captain Watson 
answered. "We were never informed that we could 
not enter the Park."

       Captain Cajas replied, "The fishermen told 
you that you could not enter the Park."

       Captain Watson laughed, "When did the 
fishermen start making the rules here? I don't 
take my orders from a criminal mob. You tell me 
to not enter the Park and we will not enter the 
Park. If the Park Director tells me to not enter 
the Park, we will not enter the Park. We will not 
take orders from the fishermen nor should you."

       The Captain of Marines angrily replied, 
"This is an Ecuadorian problem, it is not your 
problem. The fishermen are Ecuadorian and you are 
not."

       "This is a United Nations World Heritage 
Site and the protection of the Galapagos is the 
responsibility of all the people in the world," 
Captain Watson replied.

       This answer clearly made the Captain of 
Marines angry. "That is not the case, this is 
Ecuador and the Ecuadorian government is in 
charge here."

       Captain Watson replied, "That is not true, 
the fishermen with their clubs are in charge 
here. Don't you realize how embarrassing this is 
that an armed mob is holding these islands 
hostage to their demands and you are doing 
nothing? You're not in charge here, those thugs 
are."
    
       At this point some of the fishermen came 
into the Port Captain's office to swear a 
complaint that our crew had assaulted them.

       Captain Watson reminded the Port Captain 
that the entire incident was filmed and demanded 
to know how fishermen who were occupying 
government property could march into the military 
base and complain about anything. "Have you all 
gone completely loony tunes?"

       The Captain of the Marines said that they 
were thinking of jailing Captain Watson for three 
days.

       Again Captain Watson laughed. "Really, oh 
please do. That would be incredible. You would 
jail me for looking into the welfare of the 
tortoises and yet you do nothing against an armed 
gang of thugs in possession of the Park offices. 
I really do hope you jail me.  What a hell of a 
story that would be."

       The Port Captain demanded that the entire 
crew that entered the Park be brought to his 
office.  He then informed Captain Watson and his 
crew that they would not be jailed but would be 
ordered out of the Galapagos immediately.

       "We cannot go without fuel. We have already 
paid for the fuel, and we cannot and will not 
leave without it."

       The Port Captain said that the Farley Mowat 
would have to leave Santa Cruz and could proceed 
to the island of Baltra to the fuel station and 
that no crew would be allowed ashore.

       Captain Watson agreed but could not resist 
saying, "I suppose you are merely relaying the 
orders of the fishermen."

       Back on the Farley Mowat, the crew could 
plainly see the National Park offices where the 
fishermen were in complete control and making a 
mockery of law enforcement in Ecuador.

       The crew of the Farley Mowat are being 
expelled from the Galapagos for investigating the 
conditions of the tortoises, yet the military and 
the police do absolutely nothing to stop the 
on-going siege of the Park by a violent mob. The 
authorities also point blank refused to address 
the complaint of our crew backed-up by video 
footage of the fishermen assaulting them.

       Tourists should take note that according to 
the Ecuadorian military, only Ecuadorians have 
rights in the Galapagos and assaults against 
foreigners will not be investigated, let alone 
punished.

       It remains a mystery how six Sea Shepherd 
crew could successfully land at the Park 
headquarters and check out the facilities, and 
yet the Ecuadorian military and police have been 
unable to gain access to the Park and to bring it 
under control of the law.

       The reason for this was plain to see at the 
gates of the Park where the soldiers and the 
fishermen were sharing the same barbeque and 
drinking beer, talking and laughing together.

       It represents all that is wrong with the 
Galapagos. Greedy fishermen and corrupt military 
are bringing this unique eco-system down. The 
tourist industry and conservation interests 
appear not to be represented. The tourist 
industry appears to be afraid to rock the boat 
and is saying very little despite dozens of 
cancellations of bookings for tours.

       We are seeing the beginning of the end for 
this incredible natural ecological treasure. The 
fishermen will most likely win their impossible 
demands. Resignations will be asked for from Park 
officials. Naval personnel and politicians will 
pocket their bribes, and the natural indigenous 
species of these enchanted islands will continue 
to diminish in numbers and along with them, the 
majority of people whose livelihood depends on 
tourism and conservation will suffer.

       All this so Asian weddings can serve 
sharkfin soup and Asian gourmets can dine on the 
increasingly rare sea-cucumber. For every dollar 
made from this illegal and immoral trade, a 
hundred dollars will be lost for the tourism 
industry.

       As Shakespeare once wrote, "What a piece of work is man. . ."

       On the Galapagos this D-Day, the invasion 
by the government to retake the National Park did 
not happen, and the forces of illegal and immoral 
occupation continue to hold these islands and the 
future of the good people who live here as 
hostage to their unreasonable and avaricious 
demands.  

       The Ecuadorian military stands in stark 
contrast to the courage demonstrated sixty years 
ago on the beaches of Normandy. That was a day of 
honor. Today in the Galapagos, the Ecuadorian 
military should hang their head in shame for 
lacking the courage to uphold law and order, to 
protect the citizens of the Galapagos and the 
National Park and all its wonderful and unique 
species of wildlife from ignorant thugs who have 
demonstrated that all it takes is mob violence or 
bribery to get what you want in the Enchanted 
Islands.

       Today was the opportunity for the 
Ecuadorian Navy and Marines to act with honor, 
with courage and with determination.

       Instead they have demonstrated inaction 
with dishonor, cowardice and a lack of morality 
and justice. They have been defeated, embarrassed 
and humiliated by a small gang of thugs.

       Not Ecuador's finest hour.

       The Sea Shepherd flagship, Farley Mowat, 
has been ordered to leave by the end of the day.

       More news tomorrow.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Send letters, emails, faxes and phone calls to 
the Ecuadorian government and the Media to 
express your outrage on how Ecuador is handling 
this situation and allowing mob rule in the 
Galapagos.  Tell the government officials that 
you want Ecuador to enforce the rule of law and 
fulfill their duty to protect this historical, 
vital World Heritage Site and Marine Reserve from 
rampant, short-sighted commercial destruction.

Please visit the Sea Shepherd website 
(http://www.seashepherd.org) for information on 
how to contact Ecuadorian officials, embassies 
and consulate offices.

More contacts available at Ecuador's official website: http://www.ecuador.org

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society welcomes your 
support. To learn how to support our conservation 
work, please visit: 
http://www.seashepherd.org/donate.shtml.

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