Last year, I had the opportunity to meet leaders from two indigenous Amazonian tribes, including the dynamic Shuar leader Domingo Ankuash. The pair had come to draw attention to the horrific impact
of Ecuadoran oilfield development in their territories.
The following day, Ankuash and others spoke at the annual stockholders meeting of ConocoPhillips. (Yes, Domingo, Bob says he loves you
According to Amazon Watch, ConocoPhillips is at an ethical crossroads since taking over Burlington Resources' polluted properties there. No promises came from the stockholders meeting, but afterward company officials said the parcels were "under review." Most recently, Ecuador has declared
it will stop allowing drilling in such protected areas.
Now, the U.S. Congress is poised to up-or-down a "Free" Trade Agreement in Peru, where the Peruvian government has actively been inking new oil contracts with Texas-based Hunt Oil Company
, among others, agreements that are sure to decimate the indigenous community in a rush of development and destruction, to say nothing of its impact on the already-wheezing "lungs of the world," as the Amazon is often referred to.
Although, overall forest losses are down in Peru, they are increasingly occurring
on supposedly protected indigenous lands.
Says Amazon Watch
Last week, energy companies signed contracts with Peru's Ministry of Energy and Mines for nine different oil concessions in the Peruvian Amazon, many of them intruding on the territories of isolated indigenous groups or overlapping official or proposed Indigenous Reserves.
The news comes as the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) consider more than $1 billion in public financing to the controversial Camisea gas project, led by Texas-based Hunt Oil, in the southern Peruvian Amazon. Environmental and human rights groups warn that the mistakes of Camisea, including major social, cultural, and health impacts on local communities, and forced contact with isolated indigenous peoples are likely to be repeated in the new concessions.
"The lives of these peoples in voluntary isolation are in grave danger due to these contracts and, if the `Peruvian` state doesn't meet its obligation to protect them, it will be condoning a new aggression against the fundamental rights of our isolated indigenous brothers," said AIDESEP President Alberto Pizango Chota.
Where are SA's delegates on the issue?
Charlie "The Gonzalator" Gonzalez voted in favor of the FTA, while Ciro fought it along with the majority of freshmen Dems. (Big Ups to you, Ciro! Remember when the X-News Editorial Board slams you
, citing the Cato bastards out of all the drunk-thunk oil-funded tanks, you know must be doing something right by the people.)
Now with the vote in the Senate, good luck swinging those noose-knotters Kay "Out On" Bailey and John Cornyn. But might as well send them some last-minute encouragement: Kay Bailey
But I can't help but wonder, is the real multinational effort here really aimed at snuffing out the original peoples themselves? According to this Smithsonian feature
, without the forest's protectors the "lungs" themselves would inevitably falter to commerce. Then its nothing but miles and miles of Spirit-forsaken "resource" to rape. Free-market gluttony until Collapse?