Exposed: Illegal Drug Trafficking Threatens Isolated Indigenous Communities in Peru’s Kakataibo Reserve

Confirmation of Secret Tracks and Illegal Crops in the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru through Photographs

In March 2024, a photograph was taken during an overflight of the Kakataibo Indigenous Reserve in Peru that revealed a clandestine landing strip and illegal coca leaf crops. The reserve, situated between Loreto, Ucayali, and Huánuco regions, is intended for indigenous people in isolation and initial contact. The image showed a furrow cutting through the dense green mantle of the Amazon forest, exposing a wide line of land in the middle of the territory.

Satellite images from May 2023 had already shown evidence of illegal activities within the reserve, including clandestine landing strips, unauthorized forest roads, and deforestation. This prompted indigenous organizations to request precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to protect their rights.

Subsequent flyovers and field photographs captured the extent of the illegal activities within the reserve, including deforestation, coca leaf crops, and even possible camps. Indigenous leaders from Fenacoka participated in the flight and expressed their concern over the situation. They were disappointed with the lack of action from the Peruvian government to address threats facing their communities.

The ongoing encroachment of drug trafficking on indigenous territories poses a significant threat to isolated communities like Kakataibo. Despite repeated requests for action, the Peruvian State has yet to implement concrete measures to safeguard their rights. The situation reflects a larger issue of illegal activities threatening isolated indigenous communities in Peru’s Amazon region.

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