The Mashco Piro tribe carrying donated food. (Image: Ministry of Culture, Peru)
Andes, Blog, Latin America: Week in Review, Peru

Peru To Hold Talks With Isolated Tribe For First Time

July 22, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — Government anthropologists from Peru are attempting to talk with a largely isolated clan of the Mashco Piro Indians for the first time, in order to understand why the tribe has been venturing outside its jungle enclaves and making contact with outsiders more frequently. The talks will aim to ease tensions after a group of Mashco Piro killed a man from a nearby community with an arrow in May.

Historically, the Mashco Piro have largely rejected outsiders and maintained their isolation. In the past year, however, members of their clan have appeared in more populated areas, often in search of machetes and food. Tourists, villagers and Christian missionaries have all interacted with the Mashco Piro, according to Reuters, giving them supplies. Besides the bow and arrow incident in May, other moments of contact have resulted in violence. The Peruvian government has been largely excluded from interactions until this point and now feels it is time to get involved.

Until now the Peruvian state had banned contact with the Mashco Piro because their immune systems cannot resist common diseases. As a preventative measure a team of doctors will be stationed six hours from where the talks are to be held in case disease breaks out.

Indigenous rights groups argue initiating contact now could set the wrong precedent, and lead to further interactions that have decimated isolated tribes before. Peruvian officials maintain, however, that they will not force the Mashco Piro to engage in contact and will not attempt to alter their lifestyle. Instead their goal is to prevent further conflicts.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • The first private Mexican company to take advantage of a newly-opened oil sector has expressed its enthusiasm about future auctions of drilling rights, praising the transparency of a recent auction which nonetheless saw low participation.
  • A day after human rights observers were dispatched to determine whether federal troops were involved in the recent disappearance of seven people in Mexico’s Zacatecas state, the Defense Secretariat said on Tuesday that it has uncovered possible signs of military involvement in the incident.


  • A new director was appointed at Puerto Rico’s debt-laden power company on Tuesday, ahead of an anticipated restructuring of some of the utility’s $9 billion in debt and amid concerns about a potential default.

Central America

  • Panama is one of many countries in the region that has become a haven for middle-class U.S. retirees due to its low cost of living and the peace of mind associated with the use of the U.S. dollar as the official currency, CNN Money reports.


Southern Cone

  • Approval ratings for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff have reached new lows, according to a new poll released by MDA polling institute, after only 8 percent of respondents rated Rousseff’s administration as “great” or “good.”
  • Part of the reason Rousseff’s approval ratings have dropped is Brazil’s lagging economy, which according to a new study needs some $157 billion from taxpayers over the next 15 years to deal with its national debt.

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