Shiwiar, Sapara and Kichwas communities and towns in isolation affected by new oil tender
Via: Amazon Watch
In the city of Quito, on October 23, 2018, the XIII Annual Meeting of Energy, Mining and Petroleum ENAEP 2018 was held, a space where government authorities from the energy, oil and mining sectors provide national and foreign companies with investment perspectives in projects that are considered strategic for the country.
In this event, in 2012, was where the Ecuadorian government formalized the tender of 21 oil blocks that make up the so-called “Ronda Suroriente” , so this edition of the event generated great expectation and concern in indigenous organizations of the Amazon and that a new tender for these blocks had been announced.
One of the keynote addresses was the one made by Carlos Pérez, Minister of Energy and Non-Renewable Natural Resources, entitled “New energy scenario in the country and prospects for 2019”, which showed a favorable scenario for investment in hydroelectric, mining and oil tankers Respect for the “Ronda Suroriente” stated that:
“The bidding of all the blocks could not be carried out as they had planned to avoid social conflicts to the companies; So in a change of strategy will be tendered until December, 2 blocks, 86 and 87. “
These blocks are located in the province of Pastaza, on the Ecuador-Peru border, so the Minister reported that an alliance with the neighboring country will be sought to use the infrastructure of the Norperu pipeline.
At the end of his presentation, Minister Carlos Pérez held a press conference where he was asked about the opposition that indigenous organizations maintain for oil exploitation in their territories, he said:
“There will be no problems in these blocks because the communities are in other blocks; The impact on communities, in these blocks, is minimal. ”
However, the maps show the existence of communities Kichwa, Sapara, Shiwiar Achuar and the parish head River Tigre, also, according to the Map of Presence of Isolated Villages of the Ministry of Justice (August 2013) in block 87 is the “Group Nashiño “, which would make the bidding of this block breach the provisions of the Constitution (Article 57, paragraph 21)” (…) the territories of the peoples in voluntary isolation are irreducible and intangible ancestral possession, and they will be closed all kinds of extractive activity. (…) “.
On the outskirts of the event, leaders of the 7 indigenous organizations of the south central Amazon, provinces of Pastaza and Morona Santiago, delivered a statement and expressed their opposition to the bidding of oil blocks in their territories while strongly rejecting the Minister’s statements:
“This is going to be an act of genocide and ethnocide, all our territories are occupied, we are living beings that we deserve respect; No to exploitation, oil and mining in our territories, this is the voice of our communities. “
An Executive Decree seeks to expand oil exploitation in the Intangible Zone – Yasuní National Park
In previous weeks the draft of a Presidential Decree was leaked on social networks, which will allow the exploitation of the Ishpingo field of Block 43 or ITT (Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini). At the moment, the Tiputiní and Tambococha fields are both in operation, both located within the boundaries of the Yasuní National Park (PNY).
The Ishpingo field is also located in the PNY, but also in the Buffer Zone of the Intangible Zone, an area where, according to the provisions of the Constitution, all types of extractive activities are banned, with the aim of guaranteeing the right to life and self-determination of the Peoples in Isolation Tagaerí – Taromenane.
This Decree seeks to comply with the citizen’s mandate that in the popular consultation of February 2018 opted for the expansion of the intangible zone in at least 50,000 hectares and the reduction of oil oil exploitation from 1,030 hectares to no more than 300 hectares.
Although the Decree under development establishes the extension of the Intangible Zone to 54,861, 93 hectares, specialists in the situation of the Isolation Peoples , have questioned the lack of technical support with which the proposed expansion of the Intangible Zone was carried out. that it would not have a greater incidence in the protection of the territories of the Peoples in Isolation and rather it would seem that the expansion seeks not to affect the oil activities in the area.
The most worrisome point of the Decree is the elimination of the “intangible” character of the buffer zone, that is, the carrying out of oil exploitation activities of the Ishpingo field and putting the survival of the Peoples in Isolation at risk and contradicting the raised in the popular consultation with what is sought the reduction of the operation in the PNY.
The Minister of Hydrocarbons, Carlos Pérez, assured:
“There is no problem in that area, the isolated peoples are more to the west.” Declarations that show that his position is to ignore the existence of indigenous peoples where oil exploitation is planned.
This Decree appears when the collective “Yasunidos” reported that in the report made by a commission formed by the current National Electoral Council (CNE) it was determined that in 2014, 670,670 signatures had to be validated, which should have led to a popular consultation for the citizenship to decide on the oil exploitation in the Yasuní National Park, which was denied in the government of Rafael Correa.
With the results of this report, the Yasunidos Collective proposes the holding of the popular consultation on the Yasuní in February 2019, when the elections of authorities of sectional governments are planned. However, the CNE authorities at the moment have not given a ruling in this regard, leaving this issue a mere recognition that rights were violated without seeking relevant and urgent reparation actions in the current situation that threatens the Yasuní National Park. Read Newjetnet Login process.
Minister of the Environment tailored to oil interests
One factor that stopped the realization of this Decree is that the then Environment Minister (e) Humberto Cholango, former President of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), was reluctant to sign this Decree and submitted his resignation which was not accepted until December 3, 2018 when President Lenin Moreno announced the appointment of Marcelo Mata as the new Minister of the Environment.
The Minister Mata has developed his career in the public and private sector linked to the oil and mining sector, for which his appointment has caused a strong reaction in the environmental and human rights organizations that have requested his immediate resignation since there is a clear conflict of interest and its experience is far from what a Ministry of the Environment requires when the government, through the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Mining, has shown a clear policy of the expansion of oil and mining projects in sensitive areas such as the Ecuadorian Amazon.
History repeats itself, the Yasuní and the indigenous peoples, once at the mercy of oil interests.