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Indigenous Amazon Leader, Excluded from Summit of Americas, Urges Leaders to Protect Rainforest

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The Biden administration has denied members of an Indigenous delegation from the Amazon rainforest entry at this week’s U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas. Meanwhile, President Biden agreed to meet with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who told Biden he would only attend the conference if he was guaranteed immunity from criticism on his systematic destruction of the Amazon rainforest, among other policies. We speak with one of the delegation’s members, Domingo Peas, an Achuar leader from Ecuador and territories coordinator for the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative for the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon. “We cannot continue to destroy the forest and expect to survive. So we call on President Bolsonaro, we call on President Lasso, to act on behalf of future generations with courage, with their heart, and to stop expansion of disruptive economies, and to really embrace fully a new path forward that’s for the benefit of all life,” says Peas.

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we continue the issue of the summit, as Presidents Biden and Bolsonaro are at the Summit of the Americas, members of an Indigenous delegation from the Amazon rainforest are also in Los Angeles. They’re calling for the protection of the Amazon and the people who live there. On Tuesday, I spoke to one of them, who said he’s been blocked from entry, Domingo Peas, an Achuar leader from Ecuador, territories coordinator of the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative for the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, which represents 11 Indigenous nationalities from the Amazon.

UYUNKAR DOMINGO PEAS NAMPICHKAI: [translated] We attempted to attend the Summit of the Americas on the first day. And neither myself nor Atossa were allowed in. Our attempts to be registered and to be credentialed were rejected. We’re here because we’re here to send a message to the world, to the developing world, about the importance of protecting the Amazon rainforest as an incredibly important ecosystem for the planet, for the well-being of the planet.

AMY GOODMAN: Domingo, because President Lasso of Ecuador, your country, is there, and also President Bolsonaro, the far-right president of Brazil, are there — the Amazon, of course, in Ecuador and Brazil — what message do you have for them and also for President Biden and for the rest of the world? You may have been denied entry at the beginning of this summit, but now you have a global stage at Democracy Now!

UYUNKAR DOMINGO PEAS NAMPICHKAI: [translated] Thank you for this question. This is my message to our president, Guillermo Lasso, and Brazil’s Bolsonaro. All of the people on planet Earth are aware of the climate crisis. Every single human being is concerned about our future. Despite that, President Lasso continues to expand licenses to drill oil and extractive projects in some of the most intangible Indigenous territories. He must stop giving more licenses for oil drilling in the Amazon territories. He must respect us. He must consult Indigenous communities, because we are organized across Peru and Ecuador. This is affecting a huge area of the forest, an area we call the Sacred Headwaters, where 30 nations have come together across Ecuador and Peru to permanently protect this area for all of humanity, this biodiverse rainforest that we want to protect for our life. We want to stop this expansion of oil and mining. President Lasso needs to act with conviction and courage to move beyond the extractive model that’s destroyed our homeland.

We also call on President Bolsonaro to become more humane, to respect Indigenous peoples’ rights and to respect the rights of nature. Our communities believe rivers, trees, every being, visible or not, is a living thing deserving of respect and rights. We are all in this together, that the future of humanity depends on the Amazon. The Amazon is the heart of the planet. We cannot continue to destroy the forest and expect to survive. So we call on President Bolsonaro, we call on President Lasso, to act on behalf of future generations with courage, with their heart, and to stop expansion of disruptive economies and to really embrace fully a new path forward that’s for the benefit of all life, because climate change is upon us. We are running out of time. We must protect the rainforests. We must respect human rights and the rights of nature.

AMY GOODMAN: Uyunkar Domingo Peas Nammpichkai, an Ecuadorian Indigenous leader with the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative, speaking to us from Los Angeles outside the summit. He was denied entry inside.

Next up, we get an update on the search for British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous protector Bruno Pereira, who have gone missing in Brazil’s Amazon after receiving death threats for their work. Back in 30 seconds.

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“Intensify the Search”: Journalist Dom Phillips and Indigenous Expert Bruno Pereira Missing in Brazil

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