The Ventanilla Spill and Absent Leadership, by Fabiola Muñoz


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On February 15, a month has passed since a oil spill on our coasts which generated a “catastrophe environmental” for Peru and left hundreds of fishermen, entrepreneurs and hundreds of other actors linked to “summer” unemployment, also affecting protected natural areas, tens of kilometers of beach, thousands of animals of various species of wildlife including birds, fish and sea lions and which unfortunately continues to increase its footprint due to the sea current But, at this point, not due to the spill itself, but to because of the lack of a properly organized response to this disaster.

Until today, it has not been possible to identify the existence of visible leadership to deal with this catastrophe. It was not possible to see someone who convenes, organizes and above all ensures teamwork focused on what is at stake: reducing the impact of this disaster as much as possible.

He is investigating – and we must continue to do so – to find out who is responsible. However, today the most important thing is to act to contain, clean up and remedy. Fishermen and all other families who live “day to day”, from what they could fish or sell, must be identified and cared for. Of course the subject environmental it is also very important and, for this, an organized response is necessary.

The time devoted to environmental issues is essential. Not only was the company slow to react and this increased the impact of the oil spill, but the State was also slow and still slow to recognize that this large-scale problem requires an intervention without “politics”. As in many cases, not only a lack of leadership is perceived. In this case, it has been shown that no one is leading this process to deal with the Ventanilla oil spill disaster.

It is no longer a question of demonstrating whether or not there is an “objective responsibility” of the company to take charge, it has already said yes and is ready to bear all the necessary expenses. But what do you need in this situation?

Citizens need authorities who, faced with a disaster, are able to organize an effective and timely response and who mobilize different actors likely to contribute. This has not been seen and these conditions have partial, disjointed and ineffective answers, with the high cost that all concerned must pay.

We have an opportunity to add up, to work together for something that is close to our hearts, and I have the impression that the State is passing up this opportunity, in my opinion, so as not to “help” the company. You don’t see a collaborative effort and that’s a big mistake.

The affair of oil spill it requires that there is no political distinction to work together. This experience should make us reflect as a society on our vulnerability and our lack of preparation in the face of crisis situations, particularly related to environmental issues.

All the scientific evidence shows us with certainty that, if we do not reduce the temperature of the planet, we are going to have environmental disasters due to extreme climatic events which can generate effects like the ones we see other causes, of course , and that could happen anywhere.

Climate change knows no political positions, parties or borders and if we do not change the effects will be even greater than those of this oil spill.

Our authorities have a duty to inform us not only about the actions they are carrying out, but above all about their effectiveness, and to date I do not have the feeling that we have reliable information on what is happening or on the dimension actual damage.

If the right decisions are made, it may be possible to turn this misfortune into an opportunity to seriously discuss an agenda environmental urgent for Peru. Otherwise, we will continue to drift, without the north that a leader could mark.


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