Magazine article New Internationalist

Dancing with Big Oil

Magazine article New Internationalist

Dancing with Big Oil

Article excerpt

PERU

An unprecedented agreement has been struck between indigenous communities and the oil company that has been polluting their environment for 15 years.

Forty years of irresponsible oil production in the northern Peruvian Amazon has drastically changed the lives of hundreds of indigenous people and caused irreversible damage to one of the most biodiverse and vulnerable ecosystems in the world.

Over the years, the region's indigenous ethnic groups have learned about their rights, demanded that they be respected, and sought remediation from the government and the company. For a long time they did not get much attention from these powerful actors.

But one of the lots, acquired in 2001 by Argentina's PlusPetrol, is up for renegotiation this August, presenting a unique window of opportunity for indigenous groups. They have insisted that the bidding process cannot start until PlusPetrol commits to cleaning up the environment and provides remediation, reparation and compensation for using and damaging their territories.

For more than two years, negotiations between the government, PlusPetrol and the four indigenous federations of the Corrientes, Pastaza, Tigre and Marañon river basins have taken place, overshadowed by frustration. …

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