KICHWA SUSPEND PROTEST OVER OIL CONTAMINATION IN PERU'S AMAZON

Kichwa men, women and children in Peru's Amazon agreed yesterday to suspend a blockade of the River Tigre after a month-long protest following more than 40 years of oil operations in their territories. The agreement was reached after a visit to 100s of protesters along the River Tigre by regional president Fernando Melendez Celis, and commitments by company Pluspetrol and the central government to meet Kichwa leaders in Iquitos, the nearest city. The Kichwa are demanding compensation for 'environmental damages' and land use, clean-up of affected areas, and to be consulted about the re-licensing of the oil company contract, among other things. ‘After 45 years of oil operations, we want to be able to drink water that isn’t contaminated,’ one Kichwa protester Carlos Huaya Luna, told me. 'Boys, girls, women. . . how many people have had to suffer for us to reach this point?'

David Hill