Record of Forced Contact By Camisea Project Companies in Nahua-Kugapakori Reserve
- February 1, 2003
Below is a record of cases of forced contact with peoples living in voluntary isolation within the Nahua-Kugapakori State Reserve by Pluspetrol - operator and sponsor for the upstream (gas extraction) part of the Camisea Gas Project – and Veritas Energy Services, a Canadian company contracted by Pluspetrol to conduct seismic testing operations in Block 88.
This report refers only to contact situations that have occurred with the Kirineri or other unidentified peoples located within the seismic testing area of Block 88 within the Nahua-Kugapakori Reserve. The Kirineri are the most isolated of the known indigenous peoples living in the Reserve. Full transcripts of recorded interviews are available.
A) Forced Contact By Pluspetrol
1) Guides Sent Ahead of Work Parties to Locate Reserve Inhabitants
At the request of the Machiguenga organizations COMARU, an International NGO Delegation visited Lower Urubamba in August 2002. The delegation included Dr. Janet Lloyd (Amazon Watch, US), Nadia Martinez (Institute for Policy Studies, US), Henry Tito (CEADES, Bolivia), and Carlos Cuasace (OICH, Bolivia) and was accompanied by Roger Rivas, Leader of COMARU.
Pluspetrol anthropologist Jose Luis Carbajal met with the International NGO Delegation and COMARU at the company’s Nuevo Mundo Camp, August 9, 2002. He openly admitted that Pluspetrol seeks and makes contact with Kirineri peoples living in voluntary isolation in the Reserve. Mr. Carbajal stated that a group of company representatives accompanied by a Machiguenga guide approach isolated peoples announcing their presence through a loud speaker. An indigenous guide makes initial contact followed by company representatives who take gifts such as food and clothes. A Veritas Worker, who reported that indigenous guides move ahead of company work parties using loud speakers to communicate with isolated peoples in the Machiguenga language, confirmed this account.
2) Pluspetrol Seeks Out Kirineri Peoples
i) Report by Anthropologist Kacper Swierk, July 2002
In July 2002 Shinai Serjali reported that Pluspetrol had deliberately sought and made contact with Kirineri groups living in voluntary isolation in several settlements in the extremely remote Upper Paquiria River deep inside the Reserve. The anthropologist Kacper Swierk visited the area and learned from the former residents of the settlement of Shiateni that in May 2002 they had been forced to leave their homes after Pluspetrol representatives accompanied by Machiguenga guides approached Shiateni and told them to leave because if they stayed, the army would arrest them as terrorists or diseases would wipe them out. Shiateni had been home to 13 individuals. The Shiateni residents told Mr Swierk that Pluspetrol representatives had first appeared in their territory in late March 2002 and started leaving presents of clothes and metal tools.
ii) Statement by Jose Luis Carbajal, Pluspetrol Anthropologist, August 2002
During a meeting with the International NGO Delegation and COMARU, Pluspetrol anthropologist Jose Luis Carbajal stated that in May 2002 a Pluspetrol search party accompanied by a Machiguenga guide went to the Upper Paquiria to make contact with Kirineri groups living there. He stated that the party was only able to make contact with one elderly woman as the rest of the Kirineri group had moved away from the area.
iii) Statement by José Gonzalez, head of Pluspetrol’s Nuevo Mundo Camp, June 2002
In an interview with José Gonzalez, the head of Pluspetrol camp at Nuevo Mundo conducted on 4th July 2002 by Peruvian press agency Econews, Mr Gonzalez states that Pluspetrol workers have had frequent visual contact with ‘uncontacted people.’ He then goes on to confirm that two indigenous guides are routinely sent out ahead of work parties to locate peoples living in voluntary isolation in the seismic testing area.
B) Forced Contact by Veritas Energy Services
1) Forced Contact Outlined by Veritas Consultant Anthropologist
On August 10, 2002, the International NGO Delegation and Mr. Rivas visited the Veritas Energy Services Camp – Peruanita – the main base for seismic testing operations. The following is part of a transcript of an interview with Michel Saenz, anthropologist and consultant to Veritas.
Saenz: There is a flux, a movement that has always gone on (of native peoples inside the Reserve), we are taking good care of this....For example, there’s a Kugapakori (person) who lives in the upper part that’s uncontacted. Here there are Nanti, but they are not uncontacted but they are isolated, very isolated. There is the Shangoveni family group that are very isolated and don’t want to know anything about national society. They don’t want to know anything.
Janet Lloyd, Amazon Watch: What are your methodologies, how have you got in contact with these people, how have you gone around the area?
Saenz: ...When we advance with our forest group and Machiguenga guides, we see if we speak today. I speak a bit of Ashaninka. I speak Machiguenga with them. They laugh and we become friends and we start to have a relationship with these people... This Shangoveni man he tells me that my brother lives up the Shiateni gully and my father lives there too, I’m married to such and such a person. Because my job as an anthropologist is to do a kinship plan. It’s normal. It’s normal
...We are under control. Now I won’t say that we aren’t creating impacts. There are impacts all over the place. You can see that many animals have left. Many have stayed but many have gone. Its normal. There’s a lot of racket. Also the Nahua. Here in this area, we know there could be Nahua. Now we know there are Machiguenga there. It’s a relief to know that they are Machiguenga so at least there won’t be aggressive contact, just undesired contact. If you’ve read the anthropological contingency plan drawn up by Pluspetrol and PCA, it says that there’s a distinction between peaceful undesired contact and contact with people who could be aggressive.
Lloyd: Do you believe that, at the end of the day, regarding these groups inside the reserve, whether they are uncontacted or isolated, the fact that you are present in their territory doing this type of work is a violation of their fundamental rights as indigenous peoples?
Saenz: Probably. But human rights are being violated at any given minute in Lima. It’s very easy to seek refuge in that. But yes I agree that, for example, a helicopter making what to us is acceptable noise, is not acceptable to a native who is much more sensitive to his environment. Yes, there are quite a few massive impacts [bastantes masivos impactos]. But what solution is there? To stop the project?
2) Veritas Encounter With Unknown Indigenous Group in Seismic Line 40
While waiting to conduct a meeting with Veritas staff in the Peruanita Camp, Lower Urubamba on August 10, 2002, the Delegation interviewed a group of project workers waiting in the camp reception tent. When asked about peoples living in voluntary isolation, workers responded they were involved in a hostile encounter with “calatos”/”naked ones” on August 9 in Seismic Line 40 inside the Reserve. The translation into English of a transcript of an interview with a worker who did not want to be named reads:
Worker X: It was in [line] 40, in the Salines [line], they were here [indicates on map]. There were 7 people, they shouted, but they didn’t... they broke branches and jumped up and down and shouted, but they didn’t say anything
Janet Lloyd, Amazon Watch: Could you see them clearly?
Worker X: they just shouted, they snapped branches, like this.. they shouted and shouted as if they wanted to scare us, you see? Scare the workers... but we didn’t do anything.. well, people ran away
Lloyd: The workers ran away.
Worker X: And the helicopter went and flew over the area so that they would run away and withdraw too.
Henry Tito, CEADES: What do they do in this type of situation?
Worker X: They stopped work, that day. There are guides; the guides go ahead with loudspeakers, megaphones.
Tito: And if they find (people) like them?
Worker X: The guides take megaphones; they talk through the megaphones, really loudly. They talk in their language.
3) Veritas Encounter With Unknown Indigenous Group in Seismic Line 34
After conducting a meeting with the International NGO Delegation, Mr. Michel Saenz held a one-to-one conservation with Janet Lloyd, anthropologist from Amazon Watch.
When questioned whether hostile encounters had taken place between Veritas workers and peoples living in voluntary isolation, Mr. Saenz asserted that a contact incident had occurred along Seismic Line 34 in early August. He had not been able to ascertain the ethnic group of the band encountered in Line 34 but affirmed that the matter was under investigation.
4) Veritas Encounter With Unknown Indigenous Group in Seismic Line 44
Mr. Juan Seido, a member of the Nahua community of Santa Rosa de Serjali, reported to the Nahua advocacy organization Shinai Serjali that while he was employed as a guide for Veritas during seismic testing operations in the Nahua-Kugapakori State Reserve an encounter occurred between Veritas Energy Services and peoples living in voluntary isolation. The encounter took place in seismic line 44 near the headwaters of the Serjali River. He confirms that the "naked peoples" encountered did not speak Nahua or Machiguenga and their ethnic group could not be identified.
On different occasions while working in the same area, Mr. Seido’s team of guides also saw eight houses and gardens planted with maize and manioc plants belonging to peoples living in voluntary isolation who inhabit the seismic testing area.
Two other Nahua men working in the same team of guides independently confirmed this report.
5) Veritas Encounter With Unknown Indigenous Group near Ipariato Gully
In August 2002, representatives from the Peruvian government agency Defensoria del Pueblo visited the Machiguenga community of Cashiriari. In trip report #026-2002/DP-PCN they state that two members of the Cashirairi community informed them that 24 ‘naked ones’ (calatos) carrying arrows had been seen by cooks working at a heliport near the Ipariato Gully, located one hour from Cashiriari. Company worker Regio Rios had relayed the information by radio to community leader Jesus Camiri. Community health worker, Tomas Vargas Cashiriari, confirmed the account.