Oil Sparks in the Amazon: Local Conflicts, Indigenous Populations and Natural Resources
by Patricia I. Vásquez
Venue : Auditorium 2, Petal 2, Maison de la Paix, Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, Geneva
Speaker: Patricia I. Vásquez
Patricia I. Vásquez is an independent energy expert, a former Jennings Randolph senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and an advisor on energy and sustainable development issues. Previously, she was the head of the Latin America Department at Energy Intelligence.
Recently published in the United States, the book Oil Sparks in the Amazon is a ground-breaking study of resource conflicts and indigenous peoples.
For decades, studies of oil-related conflicts have focused on the effects of natural resource mismanagement, resulting in great economic booms and busts or violence as rebels fight ruling governments over their regions’ hydrocarbon resources. Patricia I. Vásquez affirms that while oil busts and civil wars are common, the tension over oil in the Amazon has played out differently, in a way inextricable from the region itself. Oil disputes in the Amazon primarily involve local indigenous populations. These groups’ social and cultural identities differ from the rest of the population, and the diverse disputes over land, displacement, water contamination, jobs, and wealth distribution reflect those differences.
The author has spent fifteen years traveling to the oil- producing regions of Latin America, conducting hundreds of interviews with the stakeholders in local conflicts. She analyzes fifty-five social and environmental clashes related to oil and gas extraction in the Andean countries (Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia). She also examines what triggers local hydrocarbons disputes and offers policy recommendations to resolve or prevent them.