Friday, March 15, 2013

Tribals against Canadian oil giant

It is estimated that almost seventy uncontacted tribes reside in the Amazon rainforest. The reason they have remained uncontacted (virtually isolated from the rest of the world) is primarily because of a lack of trust. Previous instances of contact have led to disease, death, violence and the destruction of their forest home.
Most of these people have been living in peace and tranquility. However, there have been instances of disputes and violence. For example, some of the tribes have been targeted and murdered by loggers and ranchers.
What threatens them now is the encroachments on their land. Mega domes and road building projects, part of the Brazilian government’s “accelerated growth programme” pose huge threats. Recently some are even abandoning their lands due to pollution.
Last Saturday, hundreds of Matses Indians gathered on the border of Peru and Brazil and called on their governments to stop the exploration of their lands.  However, the oil giant Pacific Rubiales, headquartered in Canada, has already started oil exploration, inching their way towards the area proposed as the uncontacted tribes reserve.
In an interview, a Matses woman has said “Oil will destroy the place where the rivers are born. What will happen to the fish? What will the animals drink?”
The Peruvian government has turned a blind eye to its indigenous citizens, and has allowed the $36 million project to continue. Contractors are to cut hundreds of miles of seismic testing lines through the forest home of the uncontacted tribes, and drill exploratory wells.

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