Shipibo people of Canaan de Cachiyacu are gaining international attention for their battle against the oil company Maple Energy. Since September 2nd, to defend their land and community wellbeing, community members have taken control of nine oil wells belonging to the company and completely halted oil production, until their demands for clean water, health care and justice are met after suffering from nearly forty years of oil pollution.
An indigenous community located in the Loreto region of the Peruvian Amazon, near the city of Contamana, Canaan de Cachiyacu was a pristine rainforest areas before the oil companies arrived. There was clean drinking water from their fresh water streams, lots of fish from their rivers, fertile soil for forest gardening and a wide selection of different jungle animals to hunt.
Since 1994, however, Maple Energy has been accused of a series of oil spills. According to the Arkana Alliance who work out of Iquitos there have been more than seven spills in the last four years alone because of the company’s use of “old, rusted pipelines in the indigenous territory of Canaan, destroying the water, land, health and vegetation of the area”.
The community now has to travel up to 3 hours to find non-contaminated sources of fish, and can no longer hunt or grow food on their own, now-contaminated land. The company hasn´t even given the community clean drinking water after all of these oil spills, and they are forced to drink out of the oil-contaminated river. As a result, Arkana says that there has been a huge increase in cancer and deaths from ¨unknown illnesses¨ in the village that local doctors cannot treat or diagnose.
A recent environmental impact study by renowned economist, Juan Aste Daffós, estimates the damages owed to Canaan by Maple Energy for environmental and health atrocities total over $13 million. Maple Energy denies that they are causing environmental damage or harm to the community.
Source: Arakana Alliance