Block 64: The Wampis Nation Denounces the Serious Socio-Cultural Impacts of GeoPark and PetroPeru's Maneuvers

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For more information, contact:

Andrew Miller at +1.202.423.4828 or andrew@amazonwatch.org


Original version in Spanish here

The oil companies GeoPark and PetroPeru have no limits when it comes to forcing their operation in Block 64 in Loreto Region.

In recent months these companies have increased their activities designed to confront a small handful of communities that support their project against the majority of communities that are opposed to the risk of seeing contamination in their territory, which is the patrimony inherited from our ancestors.

As one of the consequences of these actions in the Wampis community of San Juan, located along the Kankaim or Morona River, have been dealing with a serious situation starting on September 23rd, with the development of a cultural syndrome that we call pasuk. Peru's Health Ministry has characterized pasuk as a collective psychosis and they are giving it ongoing attention. For us Wampis, this health condition closely reflects the social situation in which we are living.

Starting on September 9th, 2018, up to seventeen adolescents and two young adults demonstrated violent behaviors this created a situation of alarm within the community. Treating it as a cultural problem, the community authorities in coordination with the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis Nation requested the intervention of our own specialists who are successful in calming the young people. But this situation has re-occurred as of yesterday (October 22nd, 2018) with many new cases.

Our community authorities have informed that the pasuk in San Juan is related to the conflict between the Achuar community of Panintsa and the Wampis community of San Juan promoted by GeoPark. It is known that with the encouragement of the oil company, the Achuar community of Panintsa has ignored the border which was agreed upon in past years by community authorities in a peaceful way. Now GeoPark has offered to help Panintsa secure an expansion of their title over San Juan's territory. This situation is generating a strong concern from families in San Juan and all of the Wampis communities in the Morona Basin that reflects the serious health situation mentioned.

We warn GeoPark and PetroPeru that we will hold them responsible for any negative events that might happen as a consequence of their maneuvers and manipulation of communities in favor of their oil interests. We also hold these companies responsible for the electoral fraud that was carried out in the Morona District sponsored by them in which voting acts passed along to the National Elections Jury were altered in favor of the candidate they supported, a situation that Wampis communities have already denounced with the evidence they have.

We call on the Peruvian national authorities to impede the initiation of oil operations under these conflictive conditions promoted by the companies and in the absence of social license. Similarly, we call on the Regional Government of Loreto to not process the requests for territorial expansion and titling of communities in areas next to the Wampis territory without the participation of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis Nation.

Statement given in the community of Soledad on October 23rd, 2018

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