Peru's government announced Sept. 28 that an official delegation will meet with indigenous protesters who have been blockading a main tributary of the Amazon River to protest pollution caused by a recent spate of oil spills. As many as 2,000 protesters have blocked river traffic on the Río Marañon since the start of the month. They have demanded that President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski fly into the rainforest to meet with them. Kuczynski instead said he will send a delegation to meet with the protesters and report back. Protest leaders contend they will only attend the meeting if the delegation includes cabient chief Fernando Zavala. There is also the controversy about where the meeting is to take place. It is now slated for Kuczynski’s hometown of Iquitos, the Amazon riverport which is the major city in Loreto region Protesters want the meeting to take place in the community of Saramurillo in Urarinas district, near where the protests are taking place—10 hours from Iquitos by boat.
The announcment was made days after Kuczynski returned from his trip abroad as president—to China, courting investment in extractive industry. Said Kuczynski: "We are not seeking loans or financial aid, but investment and international cooperation. That's my message, that's why I came to Beijing with my ministers and my vice president. That does not mean we won't go to other countries in the future, but China is first. Not Europe or North America." (RPP, Sept. 29, TeleSur, Sept. 28; Peru Reports, Sept. 13)