"Sequestrations, assassinations, torture... The indigenous leaders undergo the violence of those who traffic - in particular drugs and wood - on their territory and live in permanent insecurity. He had given us an appointment in Aguaytia, the last big town before entering the indigenous territory. Then, we were to join together his village, Yamino, in the heart of the Peruvian central Amazon. But at the agreed time, Herlin Odicio, young cacique of the Kakataibo ethnic group (about 5 000 people), did not show up. His cell phone was turned off. Was he afraid at the last moment, he who is threatened with death by drug traffickers? It was necessary to leave to meet him, to borrow a small road dented through immense palm plantations. In this region of Peru, the deforestation has already done its work and the palm oil business is in full swing."
Herlin odicio, Kakataibo leader gives a speech during the first meeting of Amazonian indigenous peoples in the forest of his community Yamino, Ucayali. Odicio called this meeting after a Kakataibo environmental leader was assassinated in April 2021. On May 8, 2021, Ashaninka, Kakataibo and Shipibo-Konibo indigenous leaders from different regions of the Amazon arrived in Yamino, raise their voices in defense of their territory. Illicit coca leaf crops have grown throughout the Ucayali area and drug traffickers threaten their lives. Together, the leaders announce that they will take up arms in self-defense against the drug traffickers who have killed fifteen land defenders in the Peruvian rainforest.
Detail of coca leaves from an illegal plantation that drug traffickers introduced when they occupied the territory of Yamino. The Cacataibo managed to destroy a large part of the plantation, but a few hectares remained.
Portrait of Herlin Odicio, a social and environmental Kakataibo leader. Herlin has received several treats for defending his territory from invador linked to illegal crops.
According to National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (SERNANP), in 2020, the Amazon deforested area of 203,272 ha was reported, which represents an increase of 37% over the area reported in 2019.
A group of Kakataibo men from the community of Yamino armed with arrows and spears, listen attentively to the speech of Herlin Odicio Estrella about taking up arms to defend themselves against the drug traffickers who have killed 9 indigenous leaders to date.
Robinson Diquez Rios (47), an Ashaninka warrior in the forest of the Yamino community. Robinson is armed with his traditional arrows and in a combative position to protect the Amazonian territory from invaders, who deforest massively to make illegal plantations of coca leaf, the main element for cocaine.
Coca leaves from an illegal plantation that drug traffickers introduced when they occupied the territory of Yamino. The Cacataibo managed to destroy a large part of the plantation, but a few hectares remained.
Coca leaves from an illegal plantation that drug traffickers introduced when they occupied the territory of Yamino. The Kakataibo managed to destroy a large part of the plantation, but a few hectares remained.
Yamino village rangers and national police return from a patrol to demarcate Kakataibo territory and find visual evidence of illegal coca leaf plantations for drug trafficking.
Indigenous leaders of the Ashaninka, Kakataibo and Shipibo-Konibo ethnic groups of the Amazon gather in the forest of the Yamino community, armed with spears and arrows, to loudly announce the taking up of arms in self-defense against drug traffickers who have invaded their territories for clandestine business and killed fifteen defenders of the territory.
The Kakataibo are an ethnic group of the Peruvian Amazon that mainly dedicate themselves to fishing and hunting forest animals. However, now that their territory is threatened and invaded by drug traffickers, it is increasingly difficult for them to move through the forest in search of one of their main sources of livelihood. To date, drug traffickers have killed fifteen defenders of the territory.
Berlin Diquez Rios, Ashaninka leader and director of the ORAU organization (whose objective is to represent and promote the economic, social, political and cultural development of indigenous peoples), is present at the meeting of Amazonian leaders of the Ucayali region to announce the taking up of arms in self-defense against drug trafficking groups.