Hollywood Stars Rally for the Rainforest
WASHINGTON (US) – Human rights advocate Bianca Jagger spent the past week writing and calling President Bush, President Toledo, and Mr. Enrique Iglesias, the president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to urge them to withhold public funds to the controversial Camisea fossil fuel project in the Peruvian Amazon. Similarly, a group of 14 celebrities including Sting, Ruben Blades, Esai Morales, Kevin Bacon, Susan Sarandon, Chevy Chase, Cary Elwes sent a letter this week to President Bush calling on the Administration to “ensure that our tax dollars not contribute to the wholesale destruction of one of the planet’s most biodiverse and remote rainforests.”
The letters add to the momentum created by last week’s decision by the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, to reject $214 million in financing for the controversial $1.6 billion Camisea Gas Project in the Peruvian Amazon. The Inter-American Development Bank-where the U.S. Government controls 30 percent-will consider $135 million in loans to the project at its board meeting next Wednesday, September 10.
Bianca Jagger, stated in her letters to decision makers: “I am concerned that the Camisea Gas Project as currently planned violates many international environmental standards and runs contrary to global commitments to protect biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ rights.”
In the letter to President Bush, Hollywood celebrities expressed major concerns: “We understand that much of the gas extracted from Camisea is destined for electricity markets in California. We feel sure that if the consumers in California knew about the high social and ecological costs of natural gas from the Peruvian Amazon they would be highly opposed to it.”
Bianca Jagger called on the IDB’s board of directors to refuse loans to the project unless the project sponsors abandon plans to drill inside an Indigenous Reserve set up to protect isolated indigenous populations and plans to build an industrial plants near the Paracas Marine Reserve.
In her letter to President Toledo, Ms. Jagger wrote: “As you know, I was in Peru as an observer to the last Presidential elections and have supported your efforts to advance the process of democratization in your country. However, I must caution against the rapid and dangerous direction that the Camisea project has taken… Mr. President, if this project goes ahead as planned, it will have a catastrophic impacts on indigenous populations and the primary rainforests.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IN WASHINGTON:
Jon Sohn, Friends of the Earth, +1-202-412-2467 or +1-202-783-7400 ext 231
Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch, +1-202-256-9795 or +1-310-456-9158