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Bolivia Amazon oil drilling plan opposed by tribes

Source:  Copyright 2009, Reuters
Date:  August 11, 2009
Byline:  Carlos Quiroga
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Opposition to Amazon oil drilling from indigenous tribes is complicating efforts by Bolivian President Evo Morales to rejuvenate state-run energy company YPFB three years after he nationalized it.

Morales, the first Indian president of natural gas-rich Bolivia, has championed the rights of the poor, indigenous majority since he took office in 2006 and they have generally supported his drive to increase state control over resources.

But Morales has criticized indigenous leaders from a remote Amazon region who oppose a joint oil exploration plan by YPFB and Venezuela's PDVSA on environmental grounds.

"Unfortunately some of my brothers, our brothers, are using whatever pretext they can to cause damage," he said on Monday, urging them not to block drilling work in a northern part of the La Paz province.

Oil exploration and production in the forest have long sparked protests by indigenous communities in Ecuador. In neighboring Peru, at ...

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