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In the shadow of last week's contentious vote to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's indigenous agency FUNAI and environmental agency IBAMA made unexpected, decisive rulings in defense of indigenous rights and ecological protection in the Amazon.
Across Peru, headlines have been dominated by the presidential elections. Deep in the Amazon, however, the ongoing trauma caused by oil pipeline spills seeps on. Almost three months following a 2,000-barrel spill in Chiriaco followed by another just days later near Mayuriaga, indigenous communities continue to confront the daily reality of poisoned water, fish and crops.
Last week, the Ecuadorian government announced that it had begun constructing the first of a planned 276 wells, ten drilling platforms, and multiple related pipelines and production facilities in the ITT oil field, known as Block 43, which overlaps Yasuní National Park in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest.
First of 200 wells drilled close to controversial block of forest known to have two of the last tribes living in isolationApril 4, 2016The Guardian
"By drilling Yasuní-ITT, the Ecuadorian government is threatening to destroy one of the most biodiverse and culturally fragile treasures on the planet for what amounts to about a week of global oil supply," said Amazon Watch's director, Leila Salazar-Lopez.
"In the rainforest, everything is possible. Here are our pharmacies. Here are our libraries. Here is our treasure, our life. Not only for us, for the entire world. So our future generations, your children, your children's children, can live and breathe clean air."
I am filled with hope by the alliance of indigenous Amazonian women who came together in a historic march in defense of the Amazon, Mother Earth and Climate Justice on International Women's Day. It was the first time ever that indigenous Amazonian women from seven nationalities joined forces and marched together in defense of their rights, rainforests and future generations.
Around 82 families from the community of Nazareth benefited from the arrival of emergency supplies of essential food and water. The assistance was delivered by ORPIAN President Edwin Montenegro, thanks to the help of everyone who joined the Everyone For the Amazon (#TodosxLaAmazonía) campaign. This initial delivery was also carried out on the Morona River, another area damaged by the oil spills.
Amazon Watch and our allies have long argued that the Belo Monte mega-dam project made no sense in terms of energy production or economics – especially taking into account the enormous environmental and social destruction it was certain to cause. The dam was constructed despite the steadfast resistance of the affected Kayapo and riverine peoples and in defiance of both national and worldwide condemnation. Time and again Brazil's courts halted its construction and operation only to be ignored or overruled as the Dilma administration pressed on in its relentless efforts to make the Belo Monte monstrosity a symbol of her administration. Ironically, it has now become a symbol of her administration's corruption.
In light of last week's damning evidence directly implicating Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her predecessor Lula da Silva in a kickback scheme, a driving force behind Brazil's dam-building boom has been laid bare: corruption.
Twenty years ago today, our founder Atossa Soltani stood face to face with Fernando Cardoso, then the president of Brazil. Atossa knew then that while indigenous peoples represent only four percent of the world's population, they are the guardians and stewards of 80 percent of the world's biodiversity. That's why she founded Amazon Watch on March 11th, 1996, to both protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples.