From the Guardian - interview with Kichwa leader José Fachín on oil contamination, social struggle and the future of Peru’s biggest region
"Indigenous peoples are part blockading one of the main tributaries of the River Amazon and demanding that Peru’s new president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski visit them - with no positive response to date. The protest is one of the latest instances of social unrest across Peru and in Loreto in particular, which, at 50% larger than the UK, is Peru’s biggest and most difficult-to-access region - as well as one of the poorest.
This poverty, together with poor infrastructure and a weak or non-existent state, is particularly outrageous given that some of Peru’s historically most productive oil fields are in Loreto. True, more than 40 years of operations, mostly by foreign companies, have transformed the region to the extent that the economy is now largely dependent on oil, generating wealth through tax revenues and casual employment for many people. But how have such revenues been spent? And what of the fact that the location of the oil fields has meant the systematic invasion and exploitation of huge swathes of indigenous peoples’ territories - allegedly contaminating rivers and local inhabitants, blocking efforts by communities to obtain land title, creating economic dependency, dominating local politics, buying off leaders, misleading community members, dumping trash, wasting staggering amounts of energy and resources, and, in general, leaving precious little behind in terms of infrastructure, basic services, education, beneficial projects and skilled, sustainable employment?"
The full article can be read here.