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Foundation to Aid Peasant and Indigenous Families

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Foundation to Aid Peasant and Indigenous Families (FUNDAFACI)

The American Anthropological Association "Report found Chagnon guilty of having violated its ethics code by collaborating with self-interested Venezuelan politicians and a suspect foundation, Fundaci´on para la Ayuda de la Familia Campesina e Ind´ıgena (FUNDAFACI), with whom his association is said to have been illegal. Thus, the Report notes, “It was widely believed that the foundation was merely a smokescreen” (AAA 2002a:41) for concealing corrupt business activities. Moreover, one of Chagnon’s associates, Charles Brewer Carıas, “was a controversial but influential public figure who had been denounced numerous times for his participation in illegal mining activities in Venezuela” (AAA 2002a:41). It was “through his association with Brewer Car´ıas in FUNDAFACI” and others who were “widely known to have been involved in illegal and corrupt activities” that Chagnon managed to gain access to the Yanomami (AAA 2002a:44). Yet, the Report acknowledges, his permissions were “technically” legal (AAA 2002a:42).

"We cannot affirm that Chagnon was innocent in his dealings with FUNDAFACI. Nor can we can reach any firm judgment from the partial evidence the Report presents with respect to all the other allegations. In the instance of FUNDAFACI, the Report cites “dangers to anthropology and to the Yanomami” (AAA 2002a:41) but a verdict of violating the ethics code is a serious matter. The association lacked a legal mandate for an adjudication and provided neither impartial finders of fact nor the rudiments of due process. As such, the task force’s finding is improper." [1]

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