Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The Warao communities in the Orinoco river delta of Venezuela are up in arms against transnational companies involved in oil exploration in three areas of their homelands. At a conference in Tucupita, the capital of Delta Amacuro state, they demanded immediate end to all oil-related activities and an investigation into the environmental damage that has been caused.

The Venezuelan government recently awarded concessions to three foreign companies to reactivate the abandoned Pedernales oil field and two other fields in the Orinoco region. The Orinoco delta is considered the last of the world's great river deltas which has remained intact. It is home to around 25,000 surviving Waraos. According to Catalina Herrera, a member of the Directorate for Assistance to Indigenous People in Delta Amacuro, the state oil company, Petroleos de Vene-zuela, had not consulted the Waraos about the effect of oil-related activities on the fragile ecosystem of the delta.

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