Raul at the UN: The industrial nations must accept their historic responsibility

“We should adopt as soon as possible, concrete commitments in terms of development assistance, and resolve the debt issue, a debt already paid several times over”  Raul Castro

Source:  Cuban News Agency
September 26 2015

raul at the un 2015Cuban President Raul Castro delivered a speech at the United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in New York.

New York,
September 26, 2015

Esteemed heads of State and Government,
Distinguished heads of delegations,
Mister Secretary General of the United Nations,
Mister President,

The current instability prevailing in numerous regions of the world has its roots in the pervasive underdevelopment afflicting two-thirds of the world population.

Fifteen years after the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals progress is insufficient and unevenly distributed. In many cases, unacceptable levels of poverty and social inequality persist and there are cases, even including the industrial nations, where these have been aggravated.  The gap between the North and the South widens, and wealth polarization keeps growing.

We realize that there is still a long distance to be covered to achieve a real world association for development.

Poverty, infant mortality rates and maternal deaths

No less than 2.7 billion people in the world live in poverty. In developing countries, the global infant mortality rate for children under five years of age is still several times higher than that of developed countries. Similarly, maternal death in developing regions is fourteen times higher.

Amid the existing economic and financial crisis, wealthy individuals and transnational companies are growing richer while the number of poor, unemployed and homeless people increase dramatically as a result of the harsh so-called “austerity” policies, and waves of desperate immigrants arrive in Europe escaping misery and conflicts that others have unleashed.

The resources needed for the implementation of the Agenda, lacking measurable commitments and timetables, are inadequate to meet the seventeen objectives of sustainable development.

The debt issue

If we wish to make this a habitable world with peace and harmony among nations, with democracy and social justice, dignity and respect for the human rights of every person, we should adopt as soon as possible concrete commitments in terms of development assistance, and resolve the debt issue, a debt already paid several times over.

It would be necessary to build a new international financial architecture, remove monopoly on technology and knowledge, and change the present international economic order.

The industrial nations should accept their historic responsibility

The industrial nations should accept their historic responsibility and apply the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”  The lack of resources cannot be used as a pretext when annual military expenses amount to 1.7 trillion dollars; in the presence of such expenses neither development nor a stable and lasting peace will be possible.

Mr. President,

The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America, the opening of embassies and the policy changes announced by President Barack Obama with regard to our country constitute a major progress, which has elicited the broadest support of the international community.

The blockade against Cuba continues

However, the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists, bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people, and standing as the main obstacle to our country’s economic development, while affecting other nations due to its extraterritorial scope, and hurting the interests of American citizens and companies. Such policy is rejected by 188 United Nations member states that demand its removal.

Nevertheless, Cuba fulfilled the Millennium Development Goals and offered its modest cooperation to other developing nations in various areas, something we shall continue to do to the extent of our limited capabilities.

We shall never renounce honor, human solidarity and social justice, for these convictions are deeply rooted in our socialist society.

Thank you.

Source:  Raul Castro delivers speech at UN Sustainable Development Summit Cuban News Agency

Jamaica: A Tribute to Barrington Clarke -The People’s Doctor

barrington clarkeThe late Dr. Barrington Clarke is a Cuban-trained Jamaican medical doctor who devoted his life to providing quality care and comfort to the residents of the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica.  He died recently in a car crash.

A Tribute to Dr. Barrington Clarke-The People’s Doctor and My Friend

by Michael Heslop

Sadness runs like a river for us knowing that Barry is gone from us,

Our sadness for Barry’s loss is frozen in time and grief,

Sadness strangles our happiness for his loss,

There is no news that is good for us  now that Barry is gone,

Darkness has consumed our lives for his passing,

There is no more sun to smile at us as Barry’s smiling face is gone from us,

So our faces are sad and tired with tears,

There is pain eating away at our hearts in his absence,

Our minds are shattered with grief because Barry is gone from us,

How can we go on with so much pain for his loss?

How can we live with so much loss?

How do we make sense of Barry’s immeasurable loss to his family, to his friends and the people he served?

What is the meaning of us when Barry is gone away from us?

There is no peace for us now with Barry’s sudden departure from us,

There is only torment for us without Barry that is frozen in agony and shock,

Above all else,

Barry, a silent servant of those with diminishing chances, has gone much too soon,

Yet

Our memories of you dear friend are forever brightly etched in our minds and hearts until our dying days,

There is only love and admiration for your simplicity, kindness and devotion for the lives you touched dear friend then, now and forever,

Farewell, dear friend until we meet again!

The late Dr. Barrington Clarke is a Cuban-trained Jamaican medical doctor who devoted his life to providing quality care and comfort to the residents of the parish of Westmoreland in Jamaica.  

10 Years of PetroCaribe: Oil for Development Not Profit

Source:  TeleSUR

chavez launches petrocaribe

June 29 2005, PetroCaribe launched by the late Hugo Chavez

The PetroCaribe energy initiative, launched by Hugo Chavez 10 years ago, has improved the quality of life for the residents of member countries.

Primarily an effort to alleviate economic dependence

Initiated as a pact to assist in the economic and social development of countries in the region, PetroCaribe is primarily an effort to alleviate the economic dependence experienced by many small developing countries in the Caribbean and Central America.

PetroCaribe was the brainchild of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who understood that social and economic development in lower income countries of the region was hindered by the need to spend on an indispensable resource – oil.

Video: What is PetroCaribe?

Infographic: Impact of PetroCaribe

petrocaribe chart 1

Launched in 2005, PetroCaribe allows member countries — currently totaling 19, including Venezuela — to purchase oil from Venezuela under preferential terms. Member countries need only pay 60 percent of the cost of oil up-front, and the remaining 40 percent can be paid over a period of 25 years at an interest rate of a mere 1 percent.

PetroCaribe countries have received over 230 million barrels of oil under the initiative

PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, currently provides 100,000 barrels of oil per day to member countries, and since the creation of PetroCaribe, countries have received over 230 million barrels of oil under the initiative.​

Working to Improve the Lives of Millions

The motivation behind PetroCaribe, however, goes beyond the provision of economic benefits.

One of the aims of Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution was to return control of Venezuela’s natural resources to the people so that the income generated could be spent on the needs of the majority, instead of a small, privileged elite.

This kind of thinking does not only apply to domestic policies, but also outside of Venezuela’s borders. The savings provided through the PetroCaribe initiative to member states allows these countries to spend more on social development projects.

The breathing room that PetroCaribe provides lower income countries has resulted in a marked improvement in the quality of life of the residents of member countries. As an example, PetroCaribe funds have provided for the building of important infrastructure projects in Guyana and funding for social programs in Saint Lucia.

In addition, PetroCaribe also established the ALBA Caribe Fund, which funds development projects in member states and so far has funded 69 social welfare projects to the tune of US$106 million.

Even sectors that are at odds ideologically with Caracas defend the initiative.

Honduras rejoined PetroCaribe after private sector oil interests expressed their support for the initiative. Many member countries are headed by right-leaning or right-wing governments, a clear indication that the initiative enjoys widespread support.

Critics of the Bolivarian Revolution have been attempting to undermine the success of PetroCaribe by claiming that the drop in the price of oil on the international market will spell the end of the initiative. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been expressly clear that his government stands firmly behind the initiative and it is not at risk of ending.

Alternative Compensation Mechanisms

PetroCaribe has also transformed the way in which member countries trade with each other. The Venezuelan government allows part of the costs to be repaid through the bartering of products and services.

The most widely known example of this is in the case of Cuba, which sends doctors to Venezuela who provide medical services to people who previously did not have access to one.

But other countries use this mechanism to pay through provision of goods. For example, Jamaica provides clinker, a cement component. Guyana provides rice crops. And Nicaragua pays with milk products, meats, coffee, sugar, and cattle.

Toward an Economic Zone

In November 2014, the PetroCaribe member countries’ foreign ministers met with their counterparts from the ALBA, Caricom and Mercosur regional blocs to discuss regional integration, and decided to create an economic zone among these three groups of countries.

Efforts to integrate ALBA and PetroCaribe into an economic zone

For now, efforts to integrate ALBA and PetroCaribe into an economic zone have been led by the government of Ecuador. However, the idea is to incorporate Mercosur in a future stage.

“We shield ourselves to fight against hunger, fighting for health and education, for an equitable development, fair and complementary to all the nations that are part of this efforts,” explained President Maduro.

The member countries hope that by creating the economic zone tourism, commerce and productive chains among countries will increase.

Through the transformation of PetroCaribe, ALBA and Mercosur into one economic zone, member countries hope to create a new productive model which is based on and will reinforce peace and stability in the region.

Case Study: PetroCaribe and Guyana

Dr. Odeen Ishmael is from Guyana, where he is Ambassador emeritus. He was Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela from 2003 to 2011 and participated as a leading negotiator in the drafting of the PetroCaribe Agreement. Read his special article: Guyana Remains Firmly with PetroCaribe.

Source:  10 Years of PetroCaribe: Oil for Development Not Profit  TeleSUR

 

Oil for development not profit: PetroCaribe’s making a tangible impact in Jamaica

Source:  petrocaribejm.org

PrintThe PetroCaribe Development Fund, is a body corporate created by the Government of Jamaica in December 2006 to manage the proceeds which accrue to Jamaica under the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement through an Amendment to the Petroleum Act in 2006.

Under the Agreement, the Government of Venezuela agreed to convert a portion of each payment due for petroleum products supplied to PetroJam Ltd., the state-owned refinery, into a long-term concessionary loan.

The amount financed from each invoice, the interest rate and the repayment period depend on the prevailing price of oil in the international market place. When the price of oil exceeds US$40 per barrel, between 30% and 70% of each invoice is financed and the loan is repaid over 25 years at 1% interest rate per annum. Below US$40, between 5% and 25% of each invoice would be financed over 17 years at a 2% interest rate per annum.

The inflows that accrue to Jamaica under the arrangement are managed by the Fund and are used to provide loan financing to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and self-financing public bodies for critical development projects. The Fund also maintains a portfolio of investments to enhance its overall returns and provide liquidity for GOJ debt servicing and operational expenses.

The economic and social transformation of the country

The strategic objective of The Fund is to utilize the available resources to promote the goals of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement which is to contribute to the country’s economic and social transformation. Its operations must be financially sustainable so as to ensure that the resources are available to service the debt obligations to Venezuela as they become due.

The resources of The Fund may be used for the following purposes:

  • Upgrading of social and physical infrastructure
  • Stimulating economic growth
  • Supporting the development of human resources
  • Supporting projects which promote the use of alternative source of energy
  • Refinancing of public sector domestic debt

Benefits for the most vulnerable in the society

The Fund also operates a grant facility through which investments are made in projects and programmes which benefit the most vulnerable in the society and their communities. Resources for this aspect of its operations flow from the surplus generated by its loan financing and investing activities.

Lending activity

As sated above, the PetroCaribe Development Fund provides loan financing to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and self-financing public bodies for critical development projects. These loans are intended to support the achievement of the strategic objectives of the Government and to promote the goals of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement for social transformation and economic development of participating countries.

Grant Funding

The Board of Management established a grant facility to support projects that would directly improve the welfare of the most vulnerable members of the society. This initiative is in keeping with the mandate of the PetroCaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement which has among its fundamental objectives the eradication of social inequalities through fostering improved standards of living for the people of the region. The Facility is financed by utilizing a portion of the surplus generated from the Funds’ lending and investment activities and is used to finance socio-economic projects which are consistent with the goals of Vision 2030, Jamaica’s National Development Plan.

Projects

Caribbean Maritime Institute

Caribbean-Maritime-Institute (1)During the FY2013/14, a J$85 million grant was approved for the Caribbean Maritime Institute for the establishment of an Advanced Skills Training and Innovation Centre to support vocational training for maritime facilities and the planned build-out of the port facilities under the Logistics Hub Programme. The Centre will provide qualified persons with training in the field of industrial automation and mechatronics and will be implemented in partnership with German company, FESTO Didactic, a world leader in industrial automation technologies training.

The Centre will produce certified technicians needed for the maintenance and operation of ports to meet not only the demand in Jamaica, but also regionally and internationally. Local partners such as the Heart Trust NTA, University of Technology and the University of the West Undies will also facilitate training and certification of students.

Hope Zoo Education Project

Under a grant of J$20 million from the PetroCaribe Development Fund, 10,000 students benefitted from non-traditional teaching methods aimed at improving their learning patterns from an initiative undertaken at the Hope Zoo in St. Andrew. The engagement, an education project tour, was jointly implemented by the Ministry of Education, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), and the Hope Zoo Preservation Foundation. It targeted children, aged 3 to 17 years, who were enrolled in public early childhood institutions, primary schools, and high schools, as well as youngsters with special needs and wards of the State.

The project provided social, cultural and environmental support to the national curriculum. It sought to convey a greater sense of civility and social responsibility as students were sensitized to good practices in solid waste management and renewable energy. The lesson plan also offered opportunities for integrated learning and taught the children how to carefully and respectfully interact with animals, the environment and their peers.

Construction of Falmouth Pier

petrocaribe - construction of falmouth pierIn August 2010, loan financing totaling $894 million (US$11 million) was approved for the UDC to support the redevelopment and upgrade of the town of Falmouth. This was in tandem with the construction of a cruise pier and terminal by the Port Authority of Jamaica and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to accommodate the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world. Of the approved amount, approximately $154.6 million (US$1.8 million) was disbursed during that year.

Under the project, the UDC focused on upgrading the physical and social infrastructure of Falmouth to enable the town to capitalize on the benefits of the tourist traffic and to improve the condition of the historic town for its residents. The project will result in the construction of a new regional headquarters for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, improved solid waste collection, traffic management and relocation of squatters to improve conditions just outside of the town.

Rise Life Management Services Solar Energy Project

RISE Life Management Services Solar Energy Project benefited from the approval of a grant from the Fund valued at J$2.5 million during FY2013/14. With the Fund’s support, the organization launched an Energy Conservation Initiative for their operations through the installation of a grid-tied solar photovoltaic system. This system consists of approximately 78 solar panels to provide three-phase power to the entire facility offering an average of 23,750 kilowatts per hour per month. It is expected that the reduction in energy costs associated with operating such a facility will significantly reduce energy costs thus allowing the organization to focus on expanding its programmes for the vulnerable communities they serve.

RISE Life Management Services is a non-governmental organization which was established in 1989. It provides community based educational and social services, life, social and vocational skills training and counseling services.  Approximately 5,000 individuals directly benefit from the services offered by RISE and the organization often operates as a community centre and safe haven for children and young people from surrounding inner-city communities.

Munro College

petrocaribe - munro collegeIn 1996, a 225KW wind turbine was installed at the Munro Wind Park, St. Elizabeth. The school benefited from a grant to rehabilitate the wind turbine through the Wigton Wind Farm Limited – Wind Energy Awareness Programme.

The wind farm at Munro College provides an opportunity for students of the college to participate in this pioneering step in Jamaica’s wind energy programme which is of national, historical and technological significance.

School Sanitation

Projects Implemented Under an MOU with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF)

The partnership between the Fund and JSIF is facilitated through a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2011. Through this partnership, a Schools Sanitation Project was implemented which has to date benefited some 3,287 students from 28 schools across the island. The project provided for new sanitation blocks equipped with septic tanks, toilets, urinals and ramps to facilitate access by physically challenged persons. These facilities replaced pit latrines which long existed at the schools.

Additionally, 100 communal sanitary conveniences and showers in several inner-city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew, were built at a cost of J$200 million. These communities include: Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Hannah Town, Jones Town, Rose Town, and several communities in Central Kingston.

Youth Upliftment Through Employment (Y.U.T.E.)

An important partnership is with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica for the implementation of the Y.U.T.E. Programme. Y.U.T.E. sought to increase access to employment through skills training and certification and career preparedness for unattached young people living in inner-city communities. The partnership supported training and certification and community-based opportunities to young people between the ages of 18 and 29 and has served 295 young persons through a contribution of J$20 million.

Jamaica 50 Scholarship and Merit Programme

The Fund contributed to the Jamaica 50 legacy programme by providing a J$209 million grant to establish a scholarship programme aimed at supporting the education of awardees at the secondary and tertiary levels.

Recipients had to demonstrate that they are of exemplary character with leadership qualities. They must also represent the aims of the scholarship programme which seeks to promote a generation committed to contributing meaningfully to national development. Upon completion of their studies, the tertiary level scholarship awardees will be required to work in Jamaica for a period of up to five years.

The Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre

The construction of the Simon Bolívar Cultural Centre in Downtown Kingston is intended to strengthen the cross-cultural links between the Caribbean and Latin America and aids in the re-establishment of Downtown Kingston (Parade) as the Cultural District of the city.

Simon Bolívar is a hero in much of Latin America and Hugo Chavez invoked his name for his Bolivian Revolution. It is anticipated that the Centre will open in 2014 and it will showcase art, artifacts, and other bits of culture representing the cross-cultural linkage.

The centre will also provide activities and programmes targeting young people.

Texas police ‘shoot man with hands up’

Texas police ‘shoot man with hands up’

Source:  BBC
September 2 2015

Video footage has emerged that appears to show police in Texas shooting and killing a man who had his hands up.

In the video, obtained by local media in San Antonio, Gilbert Flores is seen outside a house with his arms raised before shots are fired and he falls.

Police say he was armed and officers first attempted to subdue the 41-year-old with a stun gun.

A series of fatal police shootings in the last year have sparked protests and increased scrutiny on police tactics.

Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood said the video was “disturbing” but told people not to “rush to judgement” over what may have happened.

Meanwhile, US officials say a second video has emerged that gives a “very clear view” of a confrontation, the Associated Press reports. The officials declined to provide further details.

‘Cause for concern’

Police said the officers were responding to a domestic dispute involving a woman who had been cut in the head with a knife. She had been holding a baby who may also have been harmed, they said.

The officers involved, Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez, have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated by the sheriff’s department.

“Certainly, what’s in the video is a cause for concern,” said Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, adding that the investigation must be allowed to run its course.

The initial video was recorded by a motorist from some distance.  The two police officers are believed to have been without body cameras during the incident.  They and the victim were Hispanic.

The fatal shooting a year ago of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer sparked protests and a national debate about racial bias and the use of force by police.

US officials have recently voiced concern that such deadly confrontations have triggered retaliatory shootings of officers, including last week’s death of a sheriff’s deputy in Houston, Texas.  Three other officers have been killed while on duty in the last eight days.

Comprehensive numbers of how many US police officers kill individuals while on duty do not exist. The FBI records “justifiable homicides” by police officers. There were 461 such cases in 2013.

Source:  Texas police ‘shoot man with hands up’  BBC

Beauty Queen Uses Celebrity Status for Political Good

Source:  TeleSUR
September 1 2015

The newly crowned Mrs Universe has called for political action against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen and demanded Indigenous issues take precedence. 

” If I have that voice to bring awareness, I’m going to use it”  Ashley Burnham

Ashley Burnham mrs universe 9-2-2015 8-22-46 AMAshley Burnham, the first ever Indigenous or Canadian crowned Mrs Universe, encouraged the country’s First Nations people to vote out Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the upcoming elections in October.

In an interview with the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network Monday, Burnham said that is it “so crucial that we vote a new prime minister in, because we need a new prime minister.”

“Other countries need to know what’s going on in ours. It feels like the government just does not care about us (First Nations),” she said. “This government is very controlling of our people and soon enough our rights might be taken away. And if I have that voice to bring awareness, I’m going to use it.”

RELATED: Canada Committed Genocide Against Indigenous People, Says Report

Burnham is from the Enoch Cree Nation near Edmonton, Alberta, and has worked as both a model and an actress. She was crowned Mrs Universe at this year’s contest in Minsk, Belarus last weekend.

The contest this year was dedicated to the topic of combating domestic violence, a topic that resonated with Burnham who has in the past spoken out against physical and sexual abuse in the home after enduring abuse as a child.

Missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada

Burnham has now extended that argument and is using her new title to talk about the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada, a major problem  in the country.

According to the most recent report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canada’s national police force, there were at least 1,181 cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada over a 30 year period from 1980 to 2012. That number has also continued to rise over the past three years, with most of the cases remaining unsolved and not pursued by police.

Faces of canada's disappeared indigenous women

Faces of Canada’s disappeared indigenous women

Canada’s Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has been in power since 2006, has repeatedly denied that it is a sociological issue and refused to open a national inquiry, ignoring the demands of many Indigenous communities across the country.

Double standards

“I think that the murdered and missing subject is so crucial. It’s so sad,” Burnham told APTN. “Say, for example, a Caucasian woman is missing in the news, it’s a big deal, but for First Nations women we are just pushed aside because there’s so many of us missing.”

RELATED: Canada’s Disappeared Indigenous Women

Burnham encouraged the Indigenous community to vote Harper out of power in the federal elections Oct. 19, but did not specifically back another candidate.

A role model in many dimensions

Burnham has received many messages of support on social media, claiming she is “a role model in many dimensions,” and encouraging her to take charge and “do the damn thing!”

However, the messages of support include comments of astonishment such as “Beauty AND Brains,” which highlight the nature of beauty competitions that glorify beauty and bodily perfection over women’s ability to think.

On her Facebook account Monday night, Burnham posted a message in response to apparent criticisms that the new beauty queen was being too political.

I have a title, a platform and a voice

“Really? People think I’m too political for my first day as Mrs Universe. Did you really think I was going to just sit there and look pretty? Definitely not. I have a title, a platform and a voice to make change and bring awareness to First Nations issues here in Canada. I’m getting all this media attention and I’m going to use it to the best of my ability. I’m not your typical beauty queen. Look out … I have a voice for change and I’m going to use it!”

Her comments highlight what women’s rights activists have deemed a major societal issue – that people only listen to you when you are beautiful. Despite Burnham’s apparent critique of the industry, she has long competed in beauty pageants both nationally and internationally.

One Twitter user commented that, “It’s clear Ashley Callingbull is the most interesting person in Canada right now,” despite the fact that many activists – who have not won beauty pageants – have tried for years to raise awareness of these issues, but have gained little media attention inside or outside the country, such as Harsha Walia and Pam Palmeter to name only a couple.

Source:  Beauty Queen Uses Power for Political Good  TeleSUR

Peru: Indigenous Seize 11 Oil Wells Demanding Spill Clean up

Source:  TeleSUR
September 2 2015

The Achuar indigenous people are fed up with the pollution left behind by foreign oil companies. | Photo: Reuters

The Achuar indigenous people are fed up with the pollution left behind by foreign oil companies. | Photo: Reuters

The Achuar communities say foreign oil companies pollute their lands and their clean water. They demand compensation and clean up of oil spills.

Peruvian indigenous protesters seized oil wells in an Amazonian oil block Tuesday to press the government to respond to demands for compensation due to the pollution caused by the petroleum operations.

The protesters from the Achuar indigenous communities said they also plan to halt output in a nearby concession.

The indigenous demonstrators shut down 11 wells and took control of an airdrome in oil block 8 to demand clean water, reparations for oil pollution and more pay for the use of native land, said Carlos Sandi, chief of the indigenous federation Feconaco.

Achuar leader Carlos Sandi observes the damage left behind by extractionist oil companies.| Photo: Reuters

Achuar leader Carlos Sandi observes the damage left behind by extractionist oil companies.| Photo: Reuters

Argentine energy company Pluspetrol operates block 8 and said daily output of about 8,500 barrels per day had stopped. The firm called on protesters in block 8 to seek dialogue.

“So far, however, they insist on holding control of installations,” Pluspetrol said in a statement.

More wells to be seized

Sandi said the Achuar in oil block 192 would also soon seize wells there following a dispute with the government over proceeds for communities in a new contract awarded to the Canadian company Pacific Exploration and Production Corporation.

Both oil blocks are in Peru’s northern region of Loreto.

“The decision (to seize wells) has been made, we just need to wrap up some coordination,” Sandi said.

Peru signed a last-minute deal with Pacific for the rights to tap oil block 192 for the next two years after an open auction for a 30-year contract failed to draw any bids last month.

The government included benefits for some indigenous communities in the new contract but a stalemate with others over their share of oil profits left many out.

Representatives of Pacific could not be reached outside of regular business hours.

Several environmental emergencies

Block 192’s operations have been halted on various occasions in recent years. The protesters have demanded the government clean up spills and give them more compensation. Peru has declared several environmental emergencies there because of oil pollution.

The Latin American country is rife with conflicts over mining and energy projects.

Earlier on Tuesday, an assembly of social organizations in the Amazonian region of Loreto voted to carry out another 48-hour strike starting Friday to protest the government’s privatization move to allocate an oil lot to the Canadian company for two years instead of the country’s state-owned company.

Lot 192 is the source of 17 percent of the national crude production.

A “mafia company,” that hire gunmen to deal with social leaders who oppose exploitation

The region’s president of Patriotic Front Americo Menendez said the Canadian oil firm is a “mafia company,” saying that for example in Colombia they hire gunmen to deal with social leaders who oppose exploitation.

Nevertheless, he added, the assembly also voted in favor of maintaining the talks with the government, in order to negotiate various demands, including the creation of a compensation fund of about US$112 million, in addition to an inversion of about US$625 million in the area.

In Colombia, Pacific Stratus Energy allegedly hires killers against social leaders who oppose the exploitation, claimed President of Federation of Native Communities from the River Tigre Fernando Chuje.

RELATED: Peruvians Demand Gov’t Scrap Private Contracts, Nationalize Oil

Minister of Mines and Energy Rosa Maria Ortiz has indicated that the state company PetroPeru will start a process of restructuring and modernization in the next 270 days to prepare it to compete against the Canadian company in two years, when the concession ends.

Lot 192 is comprised of areas inhabited by the communities of the river basins of Pastaza, Tigre, and Corrientes.

The leaders of the Apus Indigenous people in the area have been protesting for years, demanding respect for their people and reparations for environmental destruction caused by oil companies

Source:  Peru: Indigenous Seize 11 Oil Wells Demanding Spill Clean up   TeleSUR