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Program Information
 Unreported World 
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(Audio of video) Unreported World travels deep into the Peruvian jungle to investigate how the government's auctioning off vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest to global corporations has led to violent clashes with thousands of indigenous tribal people.
Unreported World

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Reporter Ramita Navai and director Alex Nott begin their journey travelling for three days up the river Corrientes into the homeland of the Achuar people, who've lived in one of the Amazon's remotest areas for thousands of years. They find the community of Jose Olaya almost deserted. Despite its remoteness, oil companies have been drilling in the area for years. The drilling has frightened away the animals and the men of the village have been forced to take work with the oil companies to feed their families. One villager claims that families have become sick after drinking water from the polluted river. A government study has shown that two thirds of all children tested had above safe levels of lead in their blood. The company involved denies the allegations, and says it's unaware of any credible data to support them.

The team are taken to visit another area of land more than six kilometres long, which has become seriously polluted by oil residues. Despite a clean-up operation, a thick, black tar-like substance lies just beneath the soil, emitting a powerful stench.

Navai and Nott travel to the city of Iquitos, Peru's largest jungle town, to meet with an environmental group. Its spokesman tells Unreported World that indigenous people are becoming increasingly angry about the pollution and breaches of their basic rights by a government that is proposing to open up huge areas of the Amazon to oil, gas and mining companies. He says that native Indians have begun staging protests against further exploitation of their land. One demonstration a year ago in the oil town of Andoas had turned bloody. Scores of protesters have been arrested and 25 are on trial, all in relation to this incident.

After travelling up the Pastaza river to Andoas, the team talk to some of those involved. One man claims he witnessed police chasing one of the protestors into the jungle two weeks after the demonstrations. The man was found the next day beaten and stabbed to death. His wife tells Navai that she believes her husband was killed by police in a revenge attack, because a policeman was shot dead during the riots. A local man has been arrested for the murder of Carlos Curtima. The police have not responded to allegations that it was a policeman who killed him.

The team travels to the north-western town of Bagua, where, in June 2009, 3000 demonstrators blockaded a major road. They were demanding the government halt its plans to exploit their ancestral land. The protesters clashed with police and more than 100 of them are now facing criminal charges. One of those involved tells Navai that the blockade had been peaceful until a heavily armed police force was sent in. He claims they started firing at the protesters. Another man says that three of his friends were killed and that he himself had been shot. The Peruvian president, Alan García, has insisted the police acted properly and the government claims it acted in self defence in Bagua. But President García has admitted to a series of errors in the handling of the protests and public outrage over the incident has forced the prime minister to resign.

Following the violence in Bagua, the Peruvian government was forced to revoke two proposed decrees that would have given big companies more access to the Amazon. However, nine others remain. After years of growing frustration over exploitation of their land, indigenous groups are rebelling. They say they will not give up the fight until all the decrees are overturned. If the government does not concede to their demands, Peru could be facing an escalation of violence.

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00:24:11 English 2009-10-15
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UR Peru Blood For Oil  00:24:11  192Kbps mp3
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