Bolivia: Joint venture of YPFB & Chinese oil companies threatens uncontacted indigenous tribe, according to NGO; includes YPFB comments

Author: Survival International, Published on: 11 November 2016

“Bolivia covers up evidence of uncontacted Indians”

The Bolivian state oil company has denied reports that workers prospecting near the Peruvian border have had several encounters with a group of uncontacted Indians…The company, YPFB, had sub-contracted the exploration work to BGP Bolivia, a subsidiary of a Chinese oil corporation…Eyewitnesses have reported that in August and September, workers clearing tracks through the forest came across footprints, broken branches and empty tortoise shells. Then, on the 17th September, workers were surprised by shouts from people nearby. BGP postponed work in the area and withdrew the workers. One worker reported that: “We heard men shouting 80 to 100 metres from the track.”..On the night of the 18th, workers were surrounded in their camp by Indians, presumably from the same group…Despite the mounting evidence of uncontacted Indians, the President of YPFB has since denied their existence: “There’s no proof of any uncontacted Indians. The facts have been twisted – we will carry on with our work.”..If it continues, it could be catastrophic for the uncontacted tribe, sometimes referred to as the Toromonas. The plans for the two oil exploration blocks in the area involve hundreds of tracks to be cut through the forest, and more than 61,000 small underground explosions.

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Related companies: BGP (part of China National Petroleum Corporation) China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) YPFB (Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos)