Prudent First Steps Towards Justice: Indigenous Mobilization in Andoas Temporarily Suspended

On June 19th a commission of Peruvian national and regional governments’ representatives headed by Prime Minister Rene Cornejo met with an impressively well-organized indigenous organization in the native community of Andoas. The coalition—Including Achuar, Quechua, and Kandoshi from Pastaza; Kichwa, Achuar and Urarinas from Corrientes; and Kichwa from Tigre—was protesting for over 18 days and wanted to receive immediate, satisfactory solutions to the humanitarian crisis in their territories.

The Life Saver water filter

The ministers and federations make agreements

To meet the immediate demand for clean water, the official commission provided the
communities with their first provision of potable water as well as the area’s first 750 liter, portable water purification unit, appropriately called ” The Life Saver”. Provisionally installed in the square of Andoas, it is presumably capable of filtering out heavy metals from l
ocal water.

The Prime Minister Cornejo committed to discussing all other concerns, such as communities’ right to compensation for land use, within the Commission for Development. That Commission has been

suspended since the May 28th due to Pluspetrol’s refusal to sign the Commission’s rules of agreement. (According to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM), Pluspetrol did sign the agreement after the fact, but this has been unable to be confirmed.) The Commission was reinstalled that same day of the meeting in Andoas in the presence of three of the four federations involved, kicking off its three working groups on land titling and compensation, environmental remediation and compensation, and broader development issues. The government committed to guaranteeing the smooth functioning of the Commission and its working groups by assuming all expenses and assuring decentralized meetings, so that communities of all four basins can be actively involved in forging the path to justice.

The people listing to proposed solutions

Given these terms, FEDIQUEP, FECONACO, and FECONAT have declared their indigenous mobilizations in Andoas temporarily suspended. In three months’ time they will re-evaluate the completion of the initial steps and if they remain unfulfilled will resort to more radical protests.

Yet still in one of the main squares of Iquitos, a few hundred Kukamas of the fourth federation, ACODECOSPAT, are still camped out after their walk of sacrifice last week.
They expect specific answers to their own humanitarian crisis. Hopefully next Thursday when the PCM commission comes to Iquitos the government the respects the gravity of the situation by bringing solutions to the mothers and grandfathers who walked 100 kilometers to show their despair about oil contamination in the Kukama territory, and the death and deformation it’s caused.

ACODECOSPAT mobilization - Photo Credit: PUINAMUDT

Sarah Kerremans on Monday, 23 June 2014

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