"American Indian Movement Santa Barbara" On The Peru Massacre
News on Peru
Honoring our fallen brothers and sisters victims of the Bagua massacre of June 5 and 6, 2009.
Our condolences go to the people of Peru, to the relatives, friends and communities of the Indigenous activists and the Police members who were killed in a tragic event that should have never occurred.
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Indigenous peoples rights must be respected by Peru, included in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2007.
The right of consultations with Indigenous peoples is included at the ILO 169 Convention. This must be done with respect and honest intention of defending the rights of all Peruvian citizens and not only the interests of multinational corporations.
This massacre is a direct result of an abusive implementation of policies included in the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement, by Peru’s president Alan Garcia who used it as an instrument of corporate corruption and collusion in the genocide of the Indigenous peoples.
The Peruvian government is presenting this tragedy as if it was caused by the Native peoples, which is not truth. Amazonian peoples protested without violence for almost 2 months, until the Police attacked them. All the casualties are unjustified and should have never happened.
The Peruvian media which is mostly biased and controlled by the government and corporate interests, is reporting that Police officers were kidnapped and massacred by the Indigenous peoples, but is not reporting about the abusive attack on civilians, and snipers and helicopters shooting at civilians including children. Witnesses have said that dead bodies were burned down and thrown to the rivers, and that police prevented civilians from rescuing injured protesters.
In the last 56 days, Amazonian Indigenous peoples of Peru are fighting to protect their territories, as the government of Lima has passed decrees that lease 73% of the Amazon forest and allow extractive industries corporations to take over their land, without previous consultation. The Amazonian peoples are requesting especifically for Lima to repeal those decrees.
Indigenous peoples do not oppose progress and private investment. They want to protect their land, their families and the environment, they want for corporations to respect their traditions and ways of living.
There have been years of protests since the signing of the Peru FTA by then presidents George W. Bush and Alejandro Toledo. Indigenous peoples have tried to dialogue, but the Lima government refused to listen and even prevented a national referendum in 2006.
As a way to protest and demand to be heard, the Amazon Indigenous peoples started popular strikes, oil facilities takeovers and road blockades in 8 regions of the country. This was replied by the Garcia administration by sending police and military forces to repress the protesters violently. People in Bagua responded burning down government buildings and lootings have also occurred.
Indigenous peoples value the land as a part of a our system of life, we don't own the land but we belong to it. There will not be a way for the government of Peru to impose its corporate benefiting laws because Indigenous people will defend their territories.
After the recent bloody attack, violence has slowed as today Sunday June 7. The military has taken over control of the region in conflict, but Lima has issued a warrant arrest for Alberto Pizango, the most prominent leader of the Amazon Indigenous peoples and his whereabouts are unknown at this moment.
Unfortunately, other leaders are also being prosecuted by the government and there is a possibility of future attacks of the military on other Indigenous communities. WE MUST ACT NOW!