The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Will United States Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. open his heart to Amazon reality in Ecuador?

 

Dear Senator Casey,

On behalf of several Amazon Nationalities, we very much appreciate the initiative taken by Ms. Michaelian concerning the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest.  To our knowledge your response to Ms. Michaelian is historic as you are the first United States Senator to voice a concern regarding the impact, which the development process is having on the Amazon Nationalities and the highly delicate Rainforest eco-system.

For reference purposes we refer to your letter:

 

Dear Ms. Michaelian:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your thoughts and concerns the rainforest in Ecuador.  I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.  I have forwarded your correspondence along to my staff that handles environment issues and they will be looking into your concern on my behalf.

I am working diligently to be responsive to the needs and concerns of the people of our Commonwealth and country.  Please know that your views are very important to me, and I will keep them in mind.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov <http://casey.senate.gov/> . I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.

Sincerely,
Bob Casey
United States Senator

 Senator Juan Pablo Letelier and Ms. Mariana Almeida, Executive President of SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras have requested the International Environment Mission (IEM) to support your staff that handles environment issues, especially as they are looking into the problematic of the Amazon Rainforest on your behalf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The IEM is a grass roots citizen initiative urging the international community to take concrete and immediate action to harmonize human activity with Nature, especially in eco-systems of universal significance such as the Amazon Rainforest.

Ms. Michaelian participated in an educational programme created by Dr. Gustavo Lopez Ospina, President of ART and former UNESCO Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, and which is recognized within the UN ratified Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.  This programme, sponsored by the members of IEM, is subdivided into two main areas: Research  & Education and Direct Action projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serious research and education in our Ecuadorian Amazon project area began in the 1980’s, starting with NRDC and Judith Kimmerling, the EU sponsored Amazon Initiative implemented by ALDHU and ongoing work supported by Drs Per Ranestad and David Bergan of Norwegian Popular Assistance (APN),Drs. Arno Ambrosius and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affaires and coordinated by IEM and SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras.

Special attention is being focused on the Ecuadorian oil industry, located in the Amazonian provinces of Orellana and Sucumbios, which are home to 30% of the world’s biodiversity. This area is also the headwaters of the Amazon River basin, which accounts for 18% of the fresh water supply that falls daily on our planet. Ten identified Indigenous civilizations, approximately 125,000 people, are the ancestral inhabitants of the region- Achuar, Ai´Cofan, Huaorani, Quichua, Secoya, Shiwar, Shuar, Siona, Taromenani and Zaparo. Their culture, economy and welfare are synonymous with the protection and integrity of their ancestral lands.

Empirical evidence collected in the field since 1985 suggests that the Ecuadorian Amazon continues to be the worst oil induced environmental and social disaster in history. In 2010, 600 million gallons of crude were spilled into the headwaters of the Amazon River basin. Every day since then  over 4 million gallons of toxic wastes and 2,100-4,200 gallons of crude per separating station, are dumped, untreated, into the watershed. The Indigenous communities bear the brunt of this contamination that seeps through their habitat, silently as a cancer growth. The 90% mortality rates registered in the Cofan, Secoya and Siona communities in-between 1960 to 2010, are a tragic reminder of this ongoing process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos: Ms. Michaelian

The expansion of oil in the Amazon also brought with it a semi-spontaneous process of agrarian colonization, which jointly with the oil concessions qualitatively altered the migration patterns that the indigenous hunter and gatherer economy required. The transition from a natural to a market economy has been synonymous with extreme poverty. The monthly incomes of extended families over the past 12 months, have averaged between $19-$30 per month; well below the World Bank’s poverty indicators. Paradoxically, the ability of these families in satisfying their basic needs depends increasingly on cash incomes, and this tendency is growing almost proportionally to the 5% annual rate of deforestation.

This dismal reality is further enhanced by the presence of drug cartels, FARC, Colombian Para-military organizations, the refugee crisis, ET. Al, and according to human rights sources, the region has become one of the five most conflictive boarder – frontiers in the world. To put it blatantly: empirical reality could give sustenance to the opinion that: “ Over the last half century, oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest has induced a developmental form of ethnic cleansing and genocide of Ancestral Indigenous Civilizations.”

On Sunday June 17th, 2012, Ms. Michaelian had the sad privilege of sharing the last meeting in which the Siona Governor Vitoriano Criollo, Mayai the Red Tiger, decided to participate.  NCP’s David Radcliff best summarizes Mayai’s final message to us.

Photo: Ms. Michaelian

Ninety plus year-old Vitoriano, spiritual/moral leader of the Siona people of the Ecuadorian Amazon. We met with him this week –it was an amazing experience. “We must stop the petroleum drilling”, was the first thing he said, after greeting us warmly in his home. Oil production has fouled the water, driven away the animals, and led to any number of health issues for his people.

“It’s a priority that we stop everything related to oil. When I was young, the diseases we have now didn’t exist. We drank water from the river in those days—now we have to collect rainwater. Then there were plenty of fish and lots of animals in the rainforest, but the oil companies came with their explosions (seismic tests for oil deposits involving cutting swaths of forest and setting off dynamite blasts) and pollution, affecting the animals, the water, and the soil. Last week alone the Ministry of Environment in Tarapoa organized a meeting with the Chinese Andes petroleum and Sionas invited from 7 villages. The Chinese offered to pay each village $ 200,000 and $40 per hectare to drill deep into the Cuyabeno National Park. They did not invite me because I would have said no to such a crime. The Chinese, the government, they do not respect me as the legitimate Siona leader.  All they are interested in is Money.  We, the Sionas and the rainforest, pay the price for their greed and destruction.”

“ Someone has to bring Ecuador’s minister of nonrenewable natural resources, Wilson Pastor, to justice. We, the Ancestral Governors know that corruption is clearly evident in the oil industry. Pastor and the Correa government have told us that 30% of the production cost of each barrel of oil is invested in appropriate technology that reduces environment impact to a minimum. They say that the cost per barrel lies in-between $ 30-$50. However our contacts confirm that only less than 10% is really being invested. This means that approximately $ 10 million per day disappear or are assigned to other activities.  When we ask the government to explain, their response is aggressive and the lives of Indigenous leader and friends are threatened. They do not like it that we say that Chinese pipes explode underground because they are of bad quality.  The problems in Marianne 4 are evidence enough.  Also the costs of access roads to oilfields average $ 120,000 per kilometer.  Why then is Ecuador paying 10 times that amount as the contracts with Andrade Gutierrez and Maxus prove?  What happened in block 16 continues on an every day basis at the delight of all the mafias that benefit from this corruption.”

“I will not be here much longer, I am getting tired.  But we must think of the children. There are only two Shamans left; you have to help protecting my children.  Even when I am gone, I will be here in spirit, and support you in doing so. Do not forget the children.”

We leave you with these last words of Mayai, Senator Casey.  Your heart will dictate what has to be done.  We would appreciate you placing the reality of the Ecuadorian Amazon under political scrutiny.  Senator Juan Pablo Letelier will support you in this effort.  It is also very important that the international community actively commits and engages in emergency projects in the region such as food relief, river ambulance services and legal council to uphold the human rights of the ancestral Amazon inhabitants.

 Sincerely,

 Pieter Jan Brouwer

By request of  the Citizens who form the International Environmental Mission.

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 15 August, 2012.

One Response to “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Will United States Senator Robert P. Casey Jr. open his heart to Amazon reality in Ecuador?”

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    You don’t need to plan it carefully, sometimes what is needed is to find out that your loved one is correct there beside you to feel safe and loved.

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