Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva arrived in Bogotá on July 18 for a three-day visit to Colombia that included joining Colombian president Alvaro Uribe in the inauguration of a meeting of business leaders from the two countries. On July 19 Lula and Uribe met in the Hatogrande estate on the outskirts of the capital to sign accords on investment, the environment and biofuels, and on security along the 1,500-km border Brazil and Colombia share in the Amazon region.
The Matsés, a tribe of 2,500 people in the remote Peruvian Amazon, have rejected plans by the Peruvian government to explore for oil on their land. The government has created five exploration "lots" overlapping Matsés territory, and signed deals opening them to two companies, Pacific Stratus Energy and Occidental Oil & Gas of Peru. "No adequate process of consultation was carried out during the creation of these lots, not as the lots were being auctioned, nor when the contracts were signed between the oil companies and the Peruvian government," said a statement from Matsés Council. "This is in clear contravention of the International Labor Organization's Convention 169 and the United Nations' Declaration of Indigenous Peoples' Rights."
Uncontacted indigenous peoples in the Peruvian Amazon are being killed and having their houses burned to the ground by illegal loggers, according a statement from the International Indigenous Committee for the Protection of Peoples in Voluntary Isolation (CIPIACI). The loggers have invaded the Murunahua Territorial Reserve, a remote area near the Brazilian border set aside in 1997 for uncontacted indigenous peoples, and built an illegal network of roads, the statement charges.
'Uncontacted' Amazon tribesmen" title="'Uncontacted' Amazon tribesmen" class="image thumbnail" height="75" width="100">Members of one of the world's last "uncontacted" peoples were spotted and photographed from the air in a remote part of Brazil's Acre state near the Peruvian border. The flights were undertaken by the Brazilian government to prove the existence of uncontacted tribes in a region under danger from illegal logging. One of the images, released May 29, shows two men covered in bright red body paint poised to fire arrows at the aircraft. Another photo shows about 15 near thatched huts, some also preparing to fire arrows at the aircraft.
Brazilian federal police May 5 occupied the indigenous reserve of Raposa/Serra do Sol, in the Amazonian state of Roraima, after 10 indigenous people were shot in an attack a day earlier. Three of the wounded were in serious condition and had to be taken to hospitals in the state capital, Boa Vista. The incident happened as the Brazilian supreme court was reviewing a government decision to expel invaders from the reserve.
A Brazilian court sentenced the accused killer of American missionary Sister Dorothy Stang, to 28 years yesterday—but acquitted rancher Vitalmiro Moura, known as "Bida," who was accused of having ordered the killing. Rayfran das Neves Sales confessed to the 2005 shooting of Stang at Anapu, in the Amazonian state of Pará. Stang had been campaigning on behalf of the landless rural farm-workers and against the pillaging of the forest by illegal cattle ranches.
From Amazon Watch, May 2:
LOS ANGELES — Leaders of the indigenous Achuar people of Peru accompanied by 40 demonstrators wearing hazmat suits today brought Occidental Petroleum's Amazon disaster to the company's doorstep as they marched inside the hotel hosting the Oxy annual shareholder meeting. The demonstrators took company security by surprise and entered the building chanting: "Oxy, Oxy, clean up now!"
Leftist Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa declared a state of exception (which suspends some legal norms) in the southeastern village of Dayuma on Nov. 29 following protests there. Dayuma's 2,800 residents live in poverty despite petroleum extraction operations in the area by a number of companies, including Chinese Andes Petroleum; on various occasions residents have confronted the military in demonstrations to demand better roads and jobs at the oil companies. In the latest incident, residents say soldiers burst into their homes, beating women and children and arresting the men. Some 25 people were taken prisoner, including Orellana province prefect Guadalupe Llori.