September 15, 2012

Remote Amazon communities worried

rio_napo_2005_dilwyn_lr.jpgAmazon villages face problems of narco-trafficking, oncontrolled logging and oil exploration

Peru’s president, Ollanta Humala, recently visited and listened to the concerns of a small Amazon community.  Their main worries included coca production and narco-trafficking, uncontrolled logging, the contamination of the River Napo, untitled indigenous lands, unsatisfactory healthcare and operations by oil companies Perenco, Repsol-YPF and PetroVietnam.

“We want to know what PetroVietnam’s social responsibilities will be,” asks a letter given to the President in Spanish. “How will the local population benefit from oil extraction?”


The community is Santa Clotilde, a small town on the banks of the rio Napo.  It was signed by lots of local important characters: mayor, district governor, parish church and Catholic mission and the president of indigenous federation.

“The companies’ presence is a constant worry for the indigenous peoples living in the Napo basin,’ explains a second letter. ‘These last few years they have been operating have seen no real benefits for the local population: we’re always the last to be heard, despite what the law says.”

“Our territory is being invaded by illegal, informal companies endangering the forest, which has been divided up, without consultation, to foreigners for exploitation and abuse.”

According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, the  vulnerable of all the local populations are the ‘isolated’ (or autonomous) indigenous groups who live in the most remote parts of the Napo region. Having no regular contact with other people, including indigenous people, and they could easily be decimated, if only by introduced diseases like influenza, if contact is made.

Source:  Huffington Post



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