Peru: Amazon natives issue ultimatum to mining company

Awajún and Wampis indigenous leaders in the valley of Peru’s Río Cenepa, in the Cordillera del Cóndor near the Ecuadoran border, issued a statement Aug. 25 giving the Dorato mining company 15 days to quit the territory. The statement came following a resolution by local apus (indigenous leaders) meeting in the town of Imacita, Amazonas region.

The statement, issued in the name of the Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Northern Amazon (ORPIAN) is addressed directly to Dorato’s executives. ORPIAN president Leandro Calvo told the Lima daily La Republica: “We will not permit mining companies, nor oil or timber companies, in this territory. The government of [President] Alan García will be responsible for what happens in the future.”

Carlos Navas, coordinator for the Peruvian Amazon indigenous allaince AIDESEP at the dialogue table with the García administration in Lima, protested the presence of police intelligence agents in Imacita, who he charged were disguised as merchants in the district. He warned that the local people “feel under attack, and could react to the attitudes of strange people” in the area. (La Republica, Lima, Aug. 25)

Dorato’s website states that the company “has the right to wholly acquire an extensive land package of approximately 800 square kilometres —providing the Company a highly strategic position in this emergent gold district.” It boasts that the company “has excellent relationships with local communities.”

See our last posts on Peru and the mineral cartel in Latin America, and the struggle for the Amazon.

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