Peru: Amazonian indigenous communities protesting against oil pollution

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Society & You - Social Critic
Monday, 18 June 2012 22:47

In early June 2012, the President of Petroperu, Humberto Campodonico, announced that Lot 1-AB, an oil field currently operated by the North Pluspetrol, be tendered before 28 July. This lot, like others whose contracts expire between 2013 and 2015, is part of a set of hydrocarbon reservoirs with which the state Petroperu plans to return to the oil industry by partnering with private enterprise and which would have up to 49% participation.

This question might seem merely contractual and business operation, alerted the people of the indigenous communities of Pastaza River.

Cocha Ushpayacu, Batería Capahuari sur, Cuenca del Pastaza

Ushpayacu Cocha, south Capahuari Battery, Pastaza Basin. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

These communities have been negotiating with the company Pluspetrol compensation for the pollution of the Cocha Atiliano , located in Block 8, and is another of the lots that the company will cease operations. Negotiations have been conducted both in the community of Pucacuro as in the city of Iquitos . But this is not the only case of environmental pollution in the jungle.

Lote 1AB, Batería San Jacinto

Block 1AB, Battery San Jacinto. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

For the last week scheduled an inspection of the Parliamentary Working Group belonging to the Commission of Andean, Amazon and Afro-Peruvian Peoples, Environment and Ecology Congress, which investigates pollution product of the petroleum operations carried out from For over 40 years in the basins of the rivers Pastaza, Tigre, Corrientes and Marañon. However, the visit was frustrated by the renunciation of the ruling bloc of Congresswoman Veronika Mendoza.

At first this caused suspicion , as to pretend to "hide all the environmental impacts to facilitate this tender," but then Rep. Mendoza explained that the suspension of travel of the commission was because his resignation had caused it to withdraw from that committee. However, the Apus of indigenous communities indicated to be reported in peaceful march demanding the establishment of a roundtable for the communities of San José de Saramuro (Kukama town), New Alliance Andoas or Topal (Pastaza Quechua village), New Jerusalem (Achuar of the Corrientes) and October 12 (Kichwa people of Tigre).

Shashococha, Batería Capahuari Sur, Cuenca Pastaza

Shashococha, Battery Capahuari Southern Pastaza Basin. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

The said Rep. Mendoza posted on her blog about the points which give the Roundtable:

- Carrying out a consultation process before the announced tender for Lot 1AB July, under the ILO Convention 169.
- Performing an independent international audit the environmental and health issues before they materialize new agreements for exploration and exploitation.
- Compliance with environmental remediation necessary and Sincerity of the existing environmental liabilities.
- Compliance with compensation for the use of land and compensation for oil spills and other environmental damage.

Cocha contaminada, Lote 8x

Cocha contaminated, Lot 8x. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

But the foundations of the Indian Federation of Pastaza Quechua that go to the oil camp of Andoas in the province of the Marañon Datem have reported that the government has militarized the locality, which hinder any chance of dialogue, they say. In this regard issued a statement that among other things says :

- We demand a process of prior consultation and informed in the best conditions and even to take an inventory of existing environmental liabilities and the registration of pollutants which are not so far in a remediation plan or program.

- Reject the presence of military contingents in Andoas, which has the sole purpose of suppressing fuegocualquier with bullets and legitimate expression of discontent. Our communities are not barracks. We will not repeat what happened in 2008 in Andoas where death, torture and imprisonment they beat us soundly.

Santán del pozo 6 (rebalsa cuando llueve), Batería Bartra, Cuenca del río Tigre, Lote 1AB

Well Santan 6 (overflows when it rains), Battery Bartra, Tigre River Basin, Block 1AB. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

At June 12, the mobilization was in the town of Alliance Topal, located in the Maranon Datem. On the website of AIDESEP (Interethnic Development Association of the Peruvian Jungle) report :

According announced Apus, communities continue to integrate it mobilized so that the central government meets their demands and tomorrow plan to hold a meeting at which determine the actions they will take in the next several days and will also be the community leaders Basin Tigre, who have announced they will join the peaceful mobilization of the indigenous peoples of Loreto and join-in the next few days and Achuar peoples Candoshi.

Botadero de químicos, Batería Capahuari Sur, Cuenca del Pastaza

Chemical dump, Battery Capahuari Southern Pastaza Basin. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

Indigenous communities in these areas for years been denouncing the effects of pollution on their ancestral lands and themselves as CINDES (Indian Center for Sustainable Development) Peru reported on his blog:

"All plants are drying up, the trees are drying, they are making a disgrace to our community" refers Apu New community Paradise.
"The 66.21% of the child population is contaminated with lead and 99.20% of the adult population is contaminated with cadmium" says a study by the Directorate General of Health (Digesa)
"They have systematically deceived apus almost all of the Corrientes River basin, and the Pastaza and Tigre well, making them sign documents that did not reflect the agreements established in the community assembly," complains

Lote 8x, Reserva Nacional Pacaya Samiria

Lot 8x, Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Photo courtesy of FECONACO

While mining pollution in the area and has 40 years, and is a person who loaded the current companies that perform logging operations, the struggle of communities to preserve their environment and the life we ​​are accustomed to in he also has the same time and not all affected communities have managed to compensation. Some time ago I wrote on the blog Southern Observatory Oil on negotiations between oil companies and communities:

Finally, here you do not negotiate relevant issues as the feasibility of the extraction of hydrocarbons, if less damaging ways to accomplish this task, [...] The results of that negotiation is ultimately the core mission of what they call Responsibility (CSR), and minimize damage apaliar with the clear intention to create social peace permitted to continue working in the most economically favorable. So what is negotiated is the defeat, disease, lead or cadmium in the blood due to mining practices, or the loss of traditional livelihoods receiving very little change, a consolation prize or sometimes if at all, as if the people of Lower Nauta, who having suffered the spill are not considered to be very impacted by the spill away from the point to fall within the circle of those who receive something.

Finally, the aforementioned CINDES Blog shares the following documentary "about 40 years of pollution in the Corrientes River basin":

Post originally published on the blog of Juan Arellano.

Written by Juan Arellano · Comments (0)
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