Shipibo Patrols resist coca-driven deforestation

A new spate of land invasion and deforestation is plaguing the Peruvian Amazon. Cocaine production operations are moving down from the high lands to the low lands, seeking to hide deeper in the jungle. This is now the largest driver of deforestation in the region, posing threats to Indigenous communities.

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New data from the Ministry of the Environment and the regional Office of Forest Management (GERFFS) show that over 47,000 hectares of rainforest were cut down illegally in 2020 just in the Ucayali region, mostly for cocaine production. Some 50 hidden airplane landing strips have been identified.
Indigenous communities that are resisting this invasion have been attacked and their leaders received repeated death threats. For more detail, read the article in openDemocracy.
 
In response to this emergency, Indigenous patrols, or Guardia Indigena, are being formed in Shipibo communities across the Ucayali. They are the most important vehicle for the defense of Indigenous territory and the rainforest: they monitor the land; they draw boundaries; they document land invasion to inform legal actions; they hold the state accountable; they ward off land traffickers. All of these measures have been shown to be effective against territorial defense and deforestation in general.

Now, in the absence of state intervention, it is more urgent than ever that communities throughout the Shipibo Nation be able to organize autonomously towards self-protection and the protection of the rainforest.
To do this the Guardia Indigena need support for organizing, equipment and legal fees. We are raising funds to support the work of newly formed Guardias in several Shipibo communities.

 
Recent studies have shown that:
• Monitoring and early warning systems run by the communities themselves are the most effective tools in holding back land invasion and deforestation (as opposed to state- or NGO-run warning systems)
• Full titling of land, which requires legal work, forestry engineering, and boundary marking – significantly reduces deforestation and land disturbance (sometimes communities cannot afford to complete their titling procedures)
• Our own work with the representative body of the Shipibo people, Coshikox, and the Guardia Indigena of several communities has shown us that this is the most effective and empowering strategy for territorial defense and self-determination. We have seen, for example, the Autonomous Community of Caimito and its indigenous patrol stop loggers, the state, and coca planters through legal and communal means.
 
We are aiming to raise $50,000 to support these efforts. The money would go directly to community patrols for the following:
• Full legal titling and boundary marking for communities
• Patrolling and monitoring duties
• Basic communication equipment such as internet, walkie talkies and whistles
• Land and aquatic vehicles and flying drones for patrolling the territory
• GPS devices and training for early warning systems
• Self-defense training and tools
 
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  • Bruno Andersen 
    • $25 
    • 22 d
  • Paul Boghossian 
    • $200 
    • 24 d
  • Caitlin Clancy 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Kelly Clancy 
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
  • Miriam Ticktin 
    • $150 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer

Matteo Norzi 
Organizer
New York, NY
The Shipibo-Conibo Center Inc 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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