from Weekly News Update on the Americas
On Oct. 23, after a weekend of intense negotiations, the Achuar indigenous nation reached an agreement with the Peruvian government and the Argentine oil company Pluspetrol, bringing an end to a nearly two-week blockade of oil facilities in the Peruvian Amazon. More than 800 Achuar elders, women and children took part in the blockade, shutting down power to most of the area’s oil facilities and blocking access to the region by road, river and air. The Achuar took the radical actions to protest the devastating impact of oil contamination in their territory after two years of failed talks with Peruvian government officials. They ended their blockade and returned to their homes on Oct. 24.
“We have achieved 98% of our demands, and won recognition of our rights,” said Andres Sandi, President of the Federation of Native Communities of the Corrientes River (FECONACO). “This victory is the result of the strength of our people, who came together and pressured hard and would not abandon our demands.”
The agreement signed Oct. 23 requires the company to speed up the safe processing of waste waters; build a new hospital and fund healthcare services for the Achuar; and provide a year of emergency food supplies to affected communities. The pact also mandates that 5% of the oil royalties currently granted to Loreto region must go for Achuar community development. In addition, the agreement formally acknowledges the Achuar’s declaration that they oppose new oil concessions in their territories and request cancellation of contracts for blocks 104 and 106.
For 30 years, the oil company has been discharging more than one million barrels a day of untreated toxic waste directly into the rainforest. As a result the Achuar have unsafe levels of a range of toxins, including lead and cadmium, in their bodies. The toxic dumping has also poisoned the fish and game in the area which the Achuar traditionally eat to survive. (Amazon Watch, Oct. 24)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 29
Weekly News Update on the Americas
WW4 REPORT #126, October 2006
Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, Dec. 1, 2006
Reprinting permissible with attribution