The Indigenous-Corporate Battle: Peru

Last month a group of indigenous people were spotted in a stretch of Amazonian forest where many thought nobody existed. The small group was spotted and filmed by ecologists who were looking for illegal logging sites, and they are believed to be one of the few remaining uncontacted tribes in the world. What makes this significant? Loggers, oil companies, and interests in the Peruvian government want to open the region to development. According to the Guardian online:
The contact was fleeting but the repercussions could be profound because this swath of Amazon, 550 miles east of Lima, is at the centre of a battle pitting indigenous rights groups and environmentalists against the Peruvian state, loggers and oil companies.
All too often in the past, the corporate interests have won this battle, and have been allowed to develop or extract resources from traditionally indigenous lands. Not surprisingly, members of the corporate contingent scoff at the idea of uncontacted peoples:
Those who want to develop the rainforest have played down the impact on its human inhabitants. Some even questioned their existence. Daniel Saba, president of Perupetro, the state oil company, said the notion of uncontacted tribes was "absurd" since no one has seen them. A company spokesman compared the rumours to the Loch Ness monster.
Contact with the outside world could prove deadly to groups like these, as there is still little resistance to western and urban illnesses, although their disappearance would likely go unprotested by the corporate interests. ABC news also reported the event.
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