Amazonian Tribe Seizes Military Helicopter
Just over two months ago, in Mayuriaga, Peru, multiple oil pipelines ruptured and spilled over 3,000 barrels of oil into the wilderness. As many Amazonian tribes have been forced to live in the mess, which has involved a slow clean up process, it’s pushed them to their breaking point. With their homes and food and water sources destroyed, the people assumed the government and Petroperu would compensate them for the damage that was done on tribal property but when that didn’t happen, they took action.
With a lack of action on the part of Petroperu, the tribe seized a military helicopter, taking multiple crew members and government officials hostage. They were also able to take three oil company executives, four government regulatory officials and a specialist with the energy and mines ministry. But, after a standoff that lasted over a day, the tribal occupiers were able to strike a deal with local authorities to release the hostages. Oh, and the helicopter was also well treated.
The Tribe wanted quite a few things, among which was to bring electrical and telephone coverage to the community and help develop local businesses. But they also wanted and deserved something else– to be part of the government response clean-up plan (that was associated with the spill) that they had been left out of. Because the government initially left the tribe off the list of those affected by the spill, once the petrol companies had to start paying out to affected communities, they would have been left out of any compensation. So they raised their voices and demanded the government make it right.
We say bravo to their leaders. True leadership is standing in the gap for your people, which they did.
For more information on the area, check out the video below. The video is unprecedented as tribal leaders are coming out of their world –for the first time– to speak about the importance of keeping the rain forest alive. Please take the time to watch and learn about why it is vital for our existence that we maintain the rain forest.
If you want to help stop the destruction of Manari Ushigua’s home in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, please consider donating to Pachamama Alliance: www.pachamama.org/donate
Source: Prepare for Change