Loreto, Peru, August 2016 - Present

Loreto Strikes Against Oil Spills

Indigenous groups in Peru mobilize against unclean oil and broken promises

ACTORS

Peruvian indigenous communities, Peruvian government

PROBLEM

In mid-December 2016, the Peruvian government signed 41 agreements with the indigenous peoples of the Northern Peruvian Amazon, who had demonstrated for 117 days against the government for failing to protect their land against destructive oil extraction. Amazonian peoples from five river basins united to mobilize, and around 3,000 people were present at the peaks of the protest. The agreements, known as the Saramurillo Accords, were intended to protect the interests of the indigenous peoples who work in the oil fields, but the action promised by the government in the agreements has yet to be seen.

Solution

Indigenous peoples again called a strike, initially to last 72 hours but is now prolonged indefinitely. The government has sent a commission to the protestors, but bids for clean-up as promised in the accords have yet to be approved.

Peace Engineering Takeaway

Projects seen as development by outside actors and engineers may spell out doom for local communities, particularly indigenous communities with deep ties to their land. The jobs provided in such projects are not necessarily a boost to local economy and in fact may cause disenfranchisement and unrest among the communities affected by the project.