from Weekly News Update on the Americas

The Government Council of the Huaorani Nationality of the Ecuadoran Amazon (ONHAE) announced on July 1 that it will seek to block the Brazilian oil company Petrobras from entering the Yasuni National Park in northeastern Ecuador. Petrobras plans to carry out infrastructure projects this year in Block 31 of the protected park, in order to begin oil drilling there in 2006. ONHAE coordinator Ramon Huani said that the Huaorani have broken off relations with Petrobras and will not abide by an accord which the previous Huaorani leadership signed with the company last January, under which Petrobras would have spent $200,000 ayear for five years on development and social assistance projects. ONHAE said Petrobras didn’t fulfill its commitments, but the decision to rescind the agreement came mainly in response to pressure from the Huaorani base communities, particularly women. About 3,000 Huaorani live in the Ecuadoran Amazon, mostly in the provinces of Orellana, Napo and Pastaza. Most of the Yasuni National Park is in Orellana.

Alicia Cahuiya, president of the Waorani Women’s Association (AMWAE), said her organization opposes oil exploration in the Yasuni National Park, and that Huaorani women want to keep their territory–and their subsistence farmland–free of contamination for their children. Cahuiya noted that oil companies have already polluted many rivers in the Amazon region, and no one is doing anything to clean them up. Cahuiya criticized the previous Huaorani government council for signing the accord with Petrobras without consulting the communities. AMWAE also opposes the planned construction by Petrobras of a highway along the Napo river; Cahuiya said it would bring “deforestation, disappearance of the forest animals and the introduction of bad western customs such as alcoholism and prostitution.” (El Comercio, Quito, July 1; Notimex, July 1; AFP, July 1)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 3

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #110


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, July 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution