Target: Rene Cornejo Diaz, President of the Ministry of Culture, Peru
Goal: Stop plans to expand gas drilling project into remote tribal reserve
Gas companies have been drilling for oil in the Amazon for years. According to an article in Survival International, one of the most notable was in the 1908s when Shell arrived and interacted with people from the Nahua tribe for the first time. Because of all the new diseases that Shell workers carried, over half of the tribe was wiped out. The tribe’s numbers continue to fall due to gas leaks that infiltrate the local land and water systems, which the tribe depends upon for survival.
In 2003, pressured by the Inter-American Development Bank, legislation issued by the Peruvian government was enacted that in theory requires consent from those tribes who will be affected by future decisions involving drilling or anything that could impact their peoples’ health. Later, loans to the government were made contingent upon not using the money for plans that involved natural resources.
Although illegal by international and Peruvian law, the Nahua-Nanti Reserve is currently under attack once again. The Ministry of Culture, Peru’s branch of government designed to protect the country’s many indigenous tribes, has approved plans for the Camisea Gas project to expand further into the reserve. This will involve dangerous testing as well as the detonation of bombs, which in itself could prove fatal to residents. Even Pluspetrol, one of the companies involved in the project, states that diseases carried by workers could result in massive amounts of deaths, as happened the 1980s.
We cannot let history repeat itself. Peru has not only essentially approved a genocide upon its citizens, but is encouraging the perpetuation of dependency on fossil fuels. Help us demand that the president of Peru’s Ministry of Culture stop this expansion of the Camisea Gas project from moving forward even further.
Dear President Diaz,
This letter is being written in regards to recent approval of the Camisea Gas project’s expansion further into the Nahua-Nanti Reserve. These plans cannot go forth not only for moral reasons, but also for legal reasons.
Legally, if these plans go further, you will face condemnation and potential action by the United Nations. There is also existing legislation that requires the consent of the tribes before proceeding. Considering that Pluspetrol even states that foreign diseases could wipe out members of the Nahua tribe, as was done by Shell in the 1980s, it is pretty unlikely that the tribes will give consent.
Also from the standpoint of environmental stewardship, expanding projects that increase your country’s dependency on oil is no longer beneficial. The world’s supply of fossil fuels is not only drying up, but our excessive use of fossil fuels is what has caused severe issues such as climate change, habitat loss and species extinction.
If allowed to expand forward, you will be doing your country and its people a severe disservice. We urge you to rescind your approval immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit Allard Schmidt via Wikimedia Commons