Statement from ORPIO: Permanent Mobilization in Iquitos in Defense of Life, Water, and the Right to Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and All People in Peru


ORPIO (Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Eastern Amazon), addressing all of their brothers, organizations, the people of Loreto, and the the people of Peru, expresses the following:

1. We sympathize with the struggle and the protests that have been made throughout the country in defense of water, life and the right of indigenous peoples to self determination. At present, the struggle of people from Cajamarca against the Conga project, represents the struggle of all the Peruvian people against ignorance and the rights violated by extractive companies, be they mining or oil.

2. Just as our brethren of the coast and the Andes suffer the negative effects of mining, we Amazonian indigenous peoples suffer abuse and polluting due to the presence of oil companies. First was the incident with the Nanay River Basin and mining activities. Most recently was the 40th anniversary of the start of oil extraction activities in the Peruvian Amazon. Basin per basin where oil activities have  begun, they have harmed our fish, our streams, our lakes, our land and the water that gives us life. The watersheds of Corrientes, Tigre, Pastaza, Maranon, and Chambira are currently suffering the impacts of oil companies. The result of these operations is deplorable and we are filled with righteous indignation.

3. We alert the people of Iquitos that the water of the Nanay basin that supplies the city, is seriously endangered by the imminent start-up of oil activites. We, the indigenous, that have experienced this disaster, announce that we will fight together with them [the people of Iquitos] in the defense of their rights. Water is not a commodity, water is a right!

4. ORPIO endorses the mandate of the last congress of AIDESEP in which our national organization declares a  permanent mobilization. We mobilize legitimately because we feel that we have to defend our rights now more than ever. As the majority of Peruvians who are fighting for an alternative government, we are deeply disappointed and offended by the actions of the government of Ollanta Humala. The government, instead of keeping with their promises to defend the water and the life of the Peruvian people, repress and threaten with an iron fist those who exercise the right to defend water as a human right and the right to decide [what happens] in our territories.

5. We call on all social organizations in the region to mobilize and come together on February 1 in a march in the city of Iquitos. This march will be an important moment within a set of actions that we will carry out to diffuse and include more people and organizations in this struggle. It also coordinates efforts to meet with with our brothers and peers in other regions between the 9th and 10th of February.

We believe in the power of an organized people to defend their rights. We also believe in the role of grassroots organizations and federations to organize and drive their cause. This is a very important moment for us all.

Water is not to be sold, water is to be defended!

Conga is not okay, neither here nor there!

No more oil activity in Loreto!

Iquitos, January 26, 2012

First posted by Deborah Rivett,Tuesday,31 January 2012