APTN National News
Hundreds of Indigenous people have reportedly seized oil facilities operated by the subsidiary of a Canadian company in Peru’s Amazon region amid warnings of a wider uprising over the Peruvian government’s failure to consult with communities before allowing extraction on their traditional territories.
Members of the Indigenous Los Jardines community seized facilities in the Amazon region of Loreto operated by Frontera Energy Corp, a subsidiary of Canadian firm Pacific Exploration & Production, according to local and wire service reports. The people of Los Jardines also briefly occupied the airport in Loreto earlier this month.
The occupation is targeting one of the country’s largest oil fields. Frontera told Peruvian newspaper El Commercio the action has impacted the production of about 2,000 barrels per day, but the company continues to produce about 8,000 bpd from the oil field.
The same installation was hit with an occupation which began in April and ended in June after Frontera signed a deal with Los Jardines and Alianza Nueva Capahuari, two of 18 Indigenous communities whose territories include Lot 192, one of Peru’s richest oil fields, according to local reports. The communities had demanded US$1 million from the company for use of their territory.
Wilmer Chavez, the leader of the Organizacion Regional Indigenas Achuar del Pastaza, told Reuters the occupation would end the moment the Peruvian government agreed to consult with the region’s Indigenous communities before renewing an extraction license for Lot 192, which will expire this year, according to reports.
Other Indigenous groups in the region are backing the occupation and warn there will be a wider uprising unless Peru begins proper consultations.
“If there is no prior consultation, my brothers and communities will brandish their spears and rise,” said Aurelio Chino, president of the Federacion Indigena Quechua del Pastaza, during a press conference Tuesday in Lima, the capital of Peru.
The latest occupation could reignite another round of serious conflict between Indigenous people in Peru’s Amazon and the federal government. The Peruvian government adopted a law in 2011 which enshrined a duty to consult on natural resource development projects.