Letter from AIDESEP to Village Earth Supporters

In front of the Houston Petroleum Club in 2007, from left, Robert Guimaraes, Washington Bolivar, Maria Ramos of Amazon Watch, an advocacy group based in the United States. (Photo: Bryan Parras) Photo Credit: Environment News Service (http://www.ens-newswire.com/) A note from Robert Guimaraes Vasquez, vice president of AIDESEP (the Inter- Ethnic Development Association for the Peruvian Jungle) see http://www.aidesep.org.pe/ (Translated by George Stetson) Dear Village Earth supporters, I am writing to ask for your support to help fund a trip to Houston, Texas on Feb. 8th. As you might know the current President of Peru, Alan Garcia, is intent on selling off the entire Amazon region to multinational oil and gas companies as fast as he can. Currently, more than 70% of the Amazon is in the hands of multinationals. We are trying desperately to stop this, but our opponents are well funded, so it is a difficult struggle. On February 8th, at the Petroleum Club in downtown Houston, the Peruvian government will try and concession-off the remaining oil blocks, almost all of which are located on indigenous territory, territorial reserves for indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, or environmentally protected areas. The indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon clearly reject oil development on our territories. Our plan is to make our voices heard on Feb 8th, where we will have the opportunity to share with investors our position. In a recent indigenous congress,120 traditional leaders selected a delegation of two members to travel to Houston, which was considered critical, unfortunately, because our legitimate indigenous organizations were not invited to the meeting. I apologize for the urgency of this request, but AIDESEP just learned about meeting and we have had little time and resources to prepare. We would greatly appreciate any contribution that might be possible, as we are trying to secure funding for one more plane ticket. The history of oil development for indigenous peoples in Peru has been devastating: environmental destruction, severe health consequences (i.e. high incidences of cancer), and even unwanted contact between oil workers and indigenous peoples. We feel strongly that we have the right to present our position at this meeting. Thanks for any support you can offer. Sincerely, Por AIDESEP Robert Guimaraes V·squez.