Initiating “controlled contact” with indigenous peoples in the Amazon would violate their rights and threaten their livesJuly 8, 2015The Guardian
Usually the indigenous peoples living in the remotest Amazon only draw international media attention if certain kinds of photos or film footage emerge, as in mid-2014, or they raid a village or, tragically, kill someone, as happened on 1 May. Many media reports misinform as much as inform: factual errors, no context and all kinds of sensationalism. 'Lost tribe!' 'First contact!'
Quito, Ecuador – Pope Francis on Tuesday called for increased protection of the Amazon rain forest and the indigenous people who live there, declaring that Ecuador must resist exploiting natural riches for "short-term benefits," an implicit rebuke of the policies of President Rafael Correa.
"The encyclical is without precedent," enthused Kevin Koenig, Quito-based Ecuador program director for Amazon Watch, a group dedicated to protecting ecosystems and indigenous rights. "It's our hope that in his visit to Ecuador, the Pope will be able to inspire Correa to do a better job of protecting the environment here.
Brazil announced to much fanfare on this week plans to zero illegal deforestation on its territory by 2030 and restore an area of rainforest the size of Pennsylvania. But experts say the plans are unambitious and activists called the promises "a crushing disappointment" that amounted to nothing more than targets already stipulated by Brazilian law.
Ademir Kaba Munduruku will argue Brazil is violating indigenous rights by failing to consult them about the hydroelectric project on the river TapajósJune 24, 2015The Guardian
The Brazilian government has violated its own constitution and international law by developing hydroelectric power plants in the Amazon, according to an indigenous leader due to address the 29th United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday afternoon.
Company upset over short film that uses Pablo Neruda's famous poem on how US corporations treated Latin American countries as empty "banana republics"June 17, 2015The Guardian
The US oil giant Chevron has attacked the British makers of a short art-house documentary film about oil pollution in the Ecuadorean Amazon featuring the actor Julie Christie reading a Pablo Neruda poem.
Federal prosecutors say Norte Energia, the consortium building the $11bn dam, has violated agreed-to items that are endangering locals’ means of survivalJune 16, 2015Associated Press
Construction of a massive hydroelectric dam is endangering the livelihoods of at least 2,000 families in Brazil’s Amazon jungle state of Para, according to federal prosecutors who recommend that efforts to move the residents be suspended.
For more than two decades, impoverished indigenous people have been seeking restitution from the oil giant for polluting their region.June 2, 2015The Nation
The American public is largely uninformed about this epic struggle, even though it's as important as the dispute over the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The mainstream US media, when it hasn't ignored the case, has often taken Chevron's side, implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) endorsing the company's view that an alliance of Ecuadoran extortionists and crooked US lawyers is using the corrupt Ecuadoran court system to shake down an innocent corporation. On closer inspection, the truth is totally different.
As Amazon Watch's Paul Paz y Miño's put the matter, "Chevron deliberately caused a lifetime of suffering and death by polluting the Ecuadorian Amazon to increase its already high profits to obscene levels. Chevron has also inflicted years of abusive lawsuits designed to leave affected communities defenseless and has tried to win by might what it could never win by merit." It is past time for justice for all those harmed by Chevron's greed and irresponsibility.
Amazon tribe would rather die than see their land destroyed by a new damMay 26, 2015Al Jazeera America
Environmental activists hope that São Luiz do Tapajós will not follow the same course as the Belo Monte, the Xingu River dam that is now nearly complete. Some tribal leaders opposed to that dam were bought off by the government, according to Maíra Irigaray, the Brazil coordinator of the group Amazon Watch. She fears similar tactics will be used here. "Leaders were paid off with boats, cars, cash and bodyguards," she said. "If the leaders took the money, the government won. If the leaders didn’t take the money, [contractors and others involved in dam construction] would spread lies and still manage to break their trust with the community."