The Kugapakori Nahua Reserve

The Kugapakori Nahua Reserve

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By Rosa Montalvo Reinoso *

Beatriz Huertas points out that the Nantis are considered by the Matsiguenkas as part of their people and that the denomination "Nanti" was established by the evangelical missionary Matsiguenka Ángel Díaz, approximately in 1997, given the offensiveness of the term "kugapakori", as they were called. . The researcher continues by pointing out that "kugapakori, an ethnonym that according to Rosengren (2004: 13) means in matsiguenka 'those who do what they want' and has a strong pejorative charge that reflects irresponsibility and amorality." (one)

Despite this, it is important to mention that the reserve was created in response to the terrible finding that more than half of the population of the Nahua people had died due to contact with people who entered their territories, especially for the extraction of wood. and the number increased without restrictions to penetrate deep into the jungle.

A report from the Ministry of Health on the health situation of the Nahua states that:

“The initial contact of the Nahua in 1984 with the sepahua society triggered a series of epidemics in the headwaters of the Mishagua and Serjali rivers that caused the death of an estimated 60% of the population in the first years of contact (Hill and Kaplan, 1989; Dagget, 1991). Many Nahua temporarily moved to Sepahua to live with the Yaminahua and to be close to health services, where they were exploited by unscrupulous people who took advantage of their limited knowledge of national society, the notion of paid work, and the economy. market (Zarzar, 1987; Cloudsley, 1989; Wahl) ”. (2)

This exploitation brings to the case the reasons why Amazonian peoples decided to enter the jungle and no longer have contact with those who represented their exploitation and enslavement.

A few days ago, the Vice Ministry of Interculturality, the governing body to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples, approved the prior binding technical opinion on the Environmental Impact Study for the Expansion of the Exploration and Development Program of Block 88, presented by the company PlusPetrol Peru Corporation. (3)

This has aroused the protest and even the indignation of various representatives of indigenous peoples, institutions and personalities dedicated to supporting the respect for the rights of indigenous peoples recognized nationally and internationally, especially those of those who, due to their conditions of vulnerability or because of their decision not to contact, they cannot do so.

It is worth noting that it was hoped that there would be an openness to listen to the demands not only of the different institutions and organizations in the country, which ask that more in-depth studies be carried out, but also of the same rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations, James Anaya. During his visit to Peru last December, he recommended that great caution be exercised to ensure that the rights of these Peruvians are not violated, that a consultation process be carried out with the peoples who are in a situation of initial contact and that, "among other measures, the government carry out an exhaustive study, with the participation of all interested parties and competent experts, regarding the presence and conditions of uncontacted indigenous peoples or groups in the area of ​​Block 88". (4)

This is more relevant if we take into account that in the month of November, it was the vice minister herself, Patricia Balbuena, who declared that a team of said vice ministry that entered the reserve had detected an outbreak of diarrheal diseases, so they were acting in a righ now. (5) As indicated in the report of the Ministry of Health that we have consulted, measures and studies are required to establish the degree of vulnerability because:

“Although the scope of this type of conclusion has been discussed, several authors agree that whatever the cause of susceptibility to certain diseases, indigenous populations that in the past have been vulnerable to exogenous viral diseases would require 3 to 5 generations ( 90 to 150 years) to stabilize its response to a certain infectious agent. That would explain the tremendous deadly potential of repeated epidemics in historical times.

In the PowerPoint presentation of the Specialized Study on the social situation of the Block 88 area, published on the website of the Vice Ministry, it is stated that this study "included three field visits and two overflights by VMI personnel." Likewise, it is mentioned that 40 interviews were conducted, most of them apparently with men, and the bibliography consulted is included, which consists of only 9 texts, of which the most current dates from 2010. (6) One cannot fail to wondering if this may be enough to give a sound and profound opinion and set aside the recommendations of the Rapporteur. It is also necessary to mention what the report of the vice ministry itself indicates:

“There are elements to establish reasonable doubts about the presence of isolated populations of the Machiguengas del Paquiría group in the Northwest Zone of the Block (intervention area of ​​the Seismic 30 subproject at the height of the headwaters of the Paquiria, Kipatsiari, Koshiantiari and Kovantiari), so a deeper investigation is required to allow a more precise analysis of the impacts and a more adequate proposal of mitigation measures ”. (7)

The so-called “reasonable doubts” pointed out by the vice ministry put into question what has been developed by various investigations carried out by institutions committed to the rights of indigenous peoples on the situation of the reserve (8) and are in contradiction with what was previously said by the same company in relation to the peoples in voluntary isolation, as mentioned by IDL lawyer Juan Carlos Ruiz:

“In the environmental and social supervision report of the Camisea Project, first semester 2011, prepared by MatrixSolutions Inc., a report prepared for the Inter-American Development Bank, 6 meetings with PIAVCI are recognized in 2011. On page 240 of said report, acknowledges that 'During the period the lookouts reported encounters with seven groups of people and two with evidence of human presence. Of the seven meetings, six were with people who came to request support for food, blankets and utensils, and one of the meetings was with community members from Segakiato carrying out fishing activities. In the meetings with local people, the protocols and procedures of the Anthropological Contingency Plan were followed ”. (9)

Meanwhile, State officials have started with the denial of the existence of these peoples, as if to establish common sense in public opinion about the irrationality of those who protest and question this decision by sharing the recommendations of the United Nations Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples .

In this sense would go the statements last September by Minister Merino, who denied the existence of these towns, and those of the Vice Minister of Interculturality herself, who recently told Reuters that "the government approved Pluspetrol's environmental impact study for new operations in Block 88 after a fieldwork found that so-called uncontacted indigenous groups no longer lived in most of the concession ”. (10)

They say that the observations have been raised because in reality there will be no greater impact, that everything will be controlled, that they have anthropological contingency plans, community relations plans, development plans and even a program to safeguard the intangible heritage through which it will be supported "Promoting workshops for the promotion and rescue of artisanal techniques", as if intangible cultural heritage were reduced to that. Without delving into the studies or analysis of the situation, and considering the history of extermination and plunder that the indigenous peoples of the Amazon have experienced, we have reasonable doubts about this decision that has not taken into account so many voices that have expressed themselves pointing out the risks and the possibility that humanity as a whole may not know these other peoples who are also part OF OUR HUMANITY, which in the name of development and growth seems to be forgotten.


* Rosa Montalvo is a specialist in gender and intercultural issues. She obtained her Master's Degree in Gender, Society and Politics from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO).
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