Between oil contamination and consultation: constrained spaces of influence in Northern Peruvian Amazonia
In this article, Maria A. Guzman-Gallegos explores the interconnections among severe oil contamination, a state-led consultation process, and compensation practices in Peru’s oldest oilfield.
Maria A.Guzman-Gallegos discusses the way in which four indigenous organisations and their constituencies produced evidence of oil contamination, and forced the state to question Peru’s current oil extraction practices. I look at the compensation demands and corporate payments that followed, and examine how compensation became a dominant tool for both appeasing increasing uprisings, and for counteracting what local people perceive as state abandonment. Focusing on the effects that compensation measures have on daily life, I analyse how equivalences between affected water and lands, on one hand, and state investments and monetary payments on the other, are established. I discuss how these equivalences have led to making indigenous ways of life irrelevant, and how this has been reinforced by the emphasis on due process during state-led consultation.