(SAIIC has just received this letter from CONAIE, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador. CONAIE included with the letter a list of medicine needed by the Indigenous communities which are on the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border. We suggest that people help out with financial donations to help pay for the needed medicine.)

Quito, February 3, 1994

Dear Friends:

Greetings. By way of this letter we would like to provide you with general information and ask for your help in regards to the needs of the civilian Indigenous population located in the conflict zone [on the Ecuadorian-Peruvian border] who have been evacuated.

Our affiliated organizations in the Amazon have told us about the current situation which they are facing. Here is a summary:

The Indigenous peoples in the Province of Morona Santiago where the Kapupna, Kusumas, Penas, Jempekat, Chichis, Pitiu, Tsapa, Kushapuk, Yapapas, Kiin, Kuankus and other centers are found on the banks of the River Cenepa number about 6,000 people, the great majority of them being women, children, and old people. Of this total, 600 are currently seriously threatened and the number rises daily as the area of conflict grows larger.

This population is in a precarious situation as a result of the constant bombardments which began to dislodge these centers since January 20. Until the present moment they have not received any type of assistance. Given the emergency they did not have time to take many belongings with themselves to communities far from the border where they arrived 3 weeks ago. This situation means that the condition of food, health, clothing is serious and urgent.

The members of these communities need food, medicine, blankets, light clothing such as pants, shirts, etc. suited to a tropical climate.

CONAIE is in direct coordination with its affiliates in the affected region including the Organization of Indigenous People of Pastaza (OPIP), the Organization of Indigenous of the Nationality Achuar (OINAE), and the Federation of Shuar Centers. These organizations are in charge of distributing aid to this zone.

We have organized a group of professionals which includes 6 doctors who will go to this area in order to attend to various needs there. They are in charge of making an evaluation of the needs.

These people are in need of immediate medical assistance to ease their pain in such troublesome circumstances. For this reason we ask you for your help to buy medicine.

We would also like to point out that once peace has been reestablished it is necessary to place these resources and territory in the hands of the Indigenous people who live there in order to preserve the peace. Placing this territory on both sides of the border legally in the hands of Indigenous people will help avoid military conflicts in this region in the future.

Similarly, we ask that natural resources in this area be used to help develop the education, infrastructure, and health of our countries. Particularly in this strategic region these resources should not be delivered into private (whether national or international) hands which would result in them not being used for our own development.

We want to thank you in advance for your help, and hope to receive a prompt reply to this request for help.

Luis Macas
President, CONAIE

INTERNET: ccc@conaie.ec
P.O.Box: Casilla 17171235, Quito, ECUADOR.
Address: Los Granados 2553 y 6 de Diciembre, Quito, ECUADOR.
Telephone: (593-2) 248930 Fax: (593-2) 442271