Entrance to the native community of Flor de Coco, located in the indirect influence area of Perenco, but the closest in terms of river route to the Arabela River. Credit: Pamela Huerta/InfoAmazonia
The dry season in Peru’s Amazon rivers should have ended in October, but in early November, water levels were still very low. Navigating them was complex, but the final destination of this investigation was the native communities of Buena Vista and Flor de Coco, in the department of Loreto. These are the only two communities of the Arabela ethnic group in Peruvian territory and the closest ones to the area under direct and indirect influence of Perenco Perú Petroleum Limited’s concession areas in the Amazon rainforest.
No public or private transportation with regular routes reaches those communities. Starting from Iquitos – the capital of the Loreto region – it may take two days to get there in a medium-capacity river boat. However, it could take up to a week in a peque-peque, a wooden boat used daily by community members.
In this remote, out-of-reach territory that should be protected after Peru’s Ministry of Culture (Mincul) confirmed the presence of isolated indigenous peoples with initial contact (PIACI, in its Spanish acronym), Perenco has been charged with 58 environmental violations in ten administrative sanction procedures that the company managed to hide from the indigenous population directly affected. These are the results of an InfoAmazonia investigation on the activities of the company around the world, in collaboration with the international consortium of environmental investigative journalists EIF, InfoCongo,Convoca and Mediapart.