Oil companies, mostly foreign, have pumped oil from the
Peruvian Amazon for more than 40 years, but none has done so without causing
environmental devastation and social division. The Nanay River Basin is one of
few Amazonian tributaries in Peru to be untouched by oil exploitation, but now even the
Nanay is in danger.
I am Lidia Vargas Doñe, 43 years old and mother of 5, and
I live along the Nanay River. Together with the Iquitos Water Committee, a
united front of students, indigenous peoples, concerned citizens, and civil
society groups, we are fighting to protect our source of life; one of the last,
untouched, pristine watersheds in the Peruvian Amazon.
The Nanay River Basin is a tributary to the Amazon and
provides 90% of the drinking water for Iquitos, a city of a half a million
people. There are few, if any, reasons for residents to believe that the oil
companies proposing to drill here would act any differently than they have in
other parts of the Amazon, or for the government to stop them.
In 2008, the regional government declared the protection
of the Nanay in the public interest, and yet did nothing to halt oil activity
in the two large concessions granted to oil companies for exploration.
Over the last two years we have organized marches and
protests to keep oil out of the Nanay. In 2012 we were successful in forcing
oil giant ConocoPhillips out of the area, but the oil concessions have since been
handed over to Gran Tierra, a Canadian company with plans to drill 51 oil wells
in the watershed. Please join our protest and tell the Peruvian government
NO to oil in the Nanay. With your help, we have the chance to save one of the
last clean watersheds in the Peruvian Amazon and the lives of thousands of
Lidia Vargas Doñe and the Iquitos Water Committee
For more information, please visit www.alianzaarkana.org.