Oil Companies Threaten Indian Communities and Amazon

Emergency Action.

Sarayacu, Ecuador: The Texas-based oil company, ARCO is finishing an exploratory well on Amazonian Quechua Indian lands and in three months the year-long exploratory phase will be over and commercial drilling will begin. The drill-sites are being guarded by heavily armed Ecuadorian Military units. This is taking place sespite the fact that the Ecuadorian government signed an agreement with OPIP (the Organization of Indian People of Pastaza) last year which stated that all Indian lands in the Sarayacu Region would be demarcated and legalized, and all work being done by oil companies would cease. The agreement also states that adequate environmental measures would be enforced in the exploitation of resources and that the Summer Institute of Linguistics (a Texas- based missionary organization) would be prohibited from operating in Ecuador. None of these agreements have been kept by the government.

The drilling is being done on Moretecocha Indian lands, near Sarayacu, in the Province of Pastaza, in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Pastaza is the most intact Amazon rainforest left in Ecuador. There has been very little colonization except near the capitol of Puyo. British Gas and UNOCAL are also finishing explorations. They are waiting for a $100 million loan from the World Bank to begin exploitation.

What is taking place in Pastaza is a familiar scenario in the rainforests throughout South America. First, valuable natural resources are discovered on INdian lands by North American or European companies. Next, the Summer Institute of Linguistics moves in to local Indian communities in order to undermine the Native culture and prevent the influence of Indian federations. Then, roads are built, massive exploitation of resources and rapid colonization begins. National militaries are employed to insure that the process unfolds smoothly and objections are quickly silenced. This is how the Amazon rainforest environment and Indian communities are effectively destroyed.

The only people working on this in Pastaza is OPIP, CONFENIAE (The Confederation of Indian Organizations of the Ecuadorian Amazon), and CONAIE (The Confederation of Indian Organizations of Ecuador). The Ecuadorian Military has been actively discrediting and harassing these organizations, calling them calling them extreme leftist, violent terrorists. The situation is critical and major violence may be taken against the members of these organizations very soon. These organizations are very strong Indian organizations which are attempting to protect their people and homelands from destruction. They are calling on the interntaional community to support them in their struggle.

Pleae write, call, fax ARCO, the World Bank, and President Rodrigo Borja of Ecuador protesting this critical situation and expressing support with the Indian people of Ecuador.

President Rodrigo Borja
Palacio Nacional

Telex: 393-223-75 PREREP ED or 393-222-01 PREREP ED

L.M. Cook, Exec. Dir.
Atlantic-Richfield Co.
515 South Flower
Los Angeles, Ca 90071
Tel (213) 486-3511 or 486-2049

Barber Conable, President
World Bank
1818 H St., NW
Washington, DC 20433 USA
Tel (202) 477-1234

Please send copies of your letter to SAIIC, PO box 7550, Berkeley, CA

94707 FAX (510) 834-4264

(Posted to Native-l on Mon, 9 Sep 1991 by mtxinu.COM!noele (Noele Krenkel))