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Story Publication logo October 21, 2021

Shipibo-Konibo Communities Demand That Mennonites Withdraw From Their Territories (Spanish)


outlines of trees with a purple and orange sky at sunset

The invasion and deforestation of communal lands in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest is a recurrent...

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This story excerpt was translated from Spanish. To read the original story in full, visit La Mula. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Life in the Indigenous communities of Buenos Aires and Caimito, located in the district of Masisea, province of Coronel Portillo, Ucayali region, has changed completely since the arrival of the Mennonites, a Christian movement that acquired communal lands in the area in a non-transparent manner and where they plant rice and soybeans. La Mula traveled to the area and observed the large extensions of primary forests destroyed by this group. As a result, the community leaders have organized themselves to watch over their territories and prevent further deforestation.

The cool morning wind and the sun's rays caress the back of Policarpo Sinarahua Taminchi (50), chief of Buenos Aires. As they walk, he and his companions observe how deforestation is advancing in the forests since a group of Mennonites settled in a part of their communal territory five years ago.

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Buenos Aires, where 47 families belonging to the Shipibo-Konibo people live, is located seven hours from the city of Pucallpa and can be reached by outboard motorboat (called colectivo rápido). You can also go by river from Pucallpa to the town of Masisea, and from there take a motorcycle cab to the community.

Four people are sitting on a boat.
Residents of the Buenos Aires community move to the Masisea District in the Imiría Lagoon. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.

Two children play football as the foreground features a sunset.
Children play around their home at dusk in the Buenos Aires Community. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.

Deforestation of 299 hectares in the Peruvian Amazon by a New Mennonite Colony between January and September 2021 in the southern part of Loreto Region. Data: Planet. Source: MAAP.
Six people are standing and talking to each other. All are wearing hiking clothes.
A team discusses the verification of Buenos Aires Community boundaries and Mennonite Colony boundaries. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.
A man drives a tractor on a dusty road.
A Christian Mennonite member travels along the Masisea Road, on the way to the Caimito and Buenos Aires communities. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.
A woman embroiders a blanket as she sits in her backyard.
A craftswoman in the Caimito Community embroiders a blanket in the backyard of her house. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.
Three people leave a boat as they reach the shoreline.
A family arrives at the Caimito Community shores during sunset. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.
A woman wearing a hat and a red dress smiles at the camera.
Elva Cruz, an artisan in Caimito, is concerned that she is no longer able to obtain the supplies needed to make her handicrafts. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.
A patch of deforested land.
A deforested area shows the preparation of the land for subsequent cultivation within the Caimito Territories. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.

Aerial view of the deforested area and a rice and soybean plot in the Buenos Aires Community. Image by David Díaz Gonzales. Peru, 2021.