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OIL exploration by foreign companies in
the Orinoco river's delta has invited
criticism from environmentalists and
native Indians. The natives are concerned that these activities will ' damage
their fishing and hunting grounds.
Foreign oil companies, including
Enron, British Petroleum (BP) and
Conoco, have tied up with the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA)
to extract oil in the Pedernales estuary,
where, rare black-headed parakeets fly
and river dolphins play.
The Warao Indians were not
consulted before the oil companies
moved in. Luis Padron, an environment
ministry official admits, "We did
not consider them to the extent we
should have." In a bid to de se the
growing tension and to improve its
image, PDVSA and its partners are planning to launch a comprehensive development project in the region. The
us $1 million aid that BP paid to the
town of Pedernales has brought no
substantial benefits for the Indians.
Health and educational services are
non-existent and few locals are
employed by the companies because of