Oil Spill in a Peruvian Amazon Shipibo Community

The following information was translated from a Federation of Native Communities of the Lower Ucayali (FECONBU) press release. Village Earth believes that it is vital to share this information, as it relates to our work with indigenous communities in the region. Over the last four years, we have partnered with Shipibo communities to help them find and mark the borders of their land in order to keep settlers, the logging industry and perhaps most importantly the oil industry from utilizing the land without Shipibo permission. You can help by signing our petition today! At the bottom of this post, you will find more suggestions for acting now to demand that Maple Energy clean up their mess and compensate the community! FECONBU (Federation of Native Communities of the Lower Ucayali) and ORAU (Regional AIDESEP Organization of the Ucayali) are pushing for an immediate response to the oil spill in the Mashiria River, located in the territory of the Shipibo community of Nuevo Sucre in the Loreto Region of the Peruvian Amazon. They are asking for an investigation as soon as possible from the local, regional, and national authorities of Peru as far as the clean-up and remediation by Maple Energy in accordance with national and international environmental laws and per industry standards. On Sunday, July 10, children bathing in the river realized there had been an oil spill. For the Shipibo community the river is their principal source of water and of fish, which are now dying from the oil spill. Representatives from Maple did not make any announcements of the spill nor the effects on the quality of water for the community members. Maple has paid 32 community members to clean up the spill using buckets and rags without any training, protective equipment, or discussion on the health effects of oil. “No one has given us a response as to why Maple ordered these people to work directly with their hands, legs and feet in oil,” said Raul Tuesta, chief of the community of Nuevo Sucre. “We have lived in harmony with our forests, waters, and rivers for hundreds of years. We want to continue living without contamination and we have this right as indigenous peoples,” says Lizardo Cauper Pezo, President of FECONBU. Maple Energy has been supported with $40 million in loans from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation for their work in Peru. In just 15 months in 2009-2010 there have been five oil spills by Maple. What you can do:

  1. Tell Maple Energy to Clean Up and Pay Up by signing our petition!
  2. Support the indigenous federation in their efforts to demand that Maple Energyclean up this mess by donating to Village Earth, which will pass your donation along to FECONBU.