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Massacre in Peru

The Peruvian government compromises the Amazon and its indigenous inhabitants.

The enduring conflict in Bagua, Peru between the government and indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon led to violent confrontations last month. Between 30 and 84 deaths were reported and more than 100 people were wounded when security forces used violence to try and stop a roadblock. According to the police, indigenous people fired at the policemen first. Representatives of different indigenous groups in the area contest this, saying they were only armed with their traditional spears. Most sources affirm that shots were released from police helicopters.

The stake of the conflict is the admittance of multinational companies to the areas in northern Peru, which is rich in oil, gas and minerals. For almost two months, more than 30,000 indigenous inhabitants of different provinces of the Amazon and the highlands protested the way in which the state and companies want to invest in the exploitation of natural resources. Indigenous people and farmer communities want to take part in the decision-making process about the development of the land.

Over the last two years, changing regulations have led to the removal of a large number of ecological and social restrictions on the extraction of resources – leading to much less restrictive legislation. This eases direct foreign investments developing mines and exploiting oil and gas in Peru. Indigenous people protested these changes by going on strike and forming roadblocks for 57 days.

On May 9, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in seven provinces of the Amazon, which means that “the constitutional provisions on freedom and security of persons and the immunity of accommodation are temporarily suspended, and that there is a ban on gathering.” Officially the government’s actions were to safeguard access to roads and airports and to prevent production losses due to the actions of the indigenous people. A few days later, however, it appeared to be nothing more than an alibi for using violence. Negotiations between the state and the representatives of the indigenous communities were ceased on May 15, after the indigenous people announced that they would continue their actions. The protest and the reactions of the government became grimmer.

The C169 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, set up by the International Labour Organization and ratified by Peru in 1994, obliges Peru to consult indigenous people in cases where the State or a company plans to exploit the natural resources in land occupied by indigenous people. This is not, however, a common practice in the Amazon forest. The biodiversity and the lives of indigenous people are at stake. The Sate and the companies involved – including the French oil company Perenco and the Spanish company REPSOL – push for a quick exploitation. In the worldwide context of a growing shortage of natural resources, the Peruvian Amazon forest is wanted for its potential profits.

Criticizing the indigenous people’s actions, President Alan García Perez said in a statement that “the State retains the ownership of sub-surface resources” and that “all Peruvian people have to profit the natural resources in the country.” The indigenous people do not claim ultimate ownership of the Amazon forest, but simply ask for a voice in the decision-making process in the development of the region. Alberto Pizango, leader of the umbrella indigenous people’s organization AIDESEP, explains: “we do not fight development, but we ask for development from our perspective.”

CATAPA, from Upside Down World: Covering Activism and Politics in Latin America, upsidedownworld.org.

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Comments on the article “Massacre in Peru”

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Rodrigo

Hi there, I writing from Peru and although I agree that the government handled things wrong form the beginning of this issue stating as you do in your headline that it was a "massacre" is the most E! headline you have done. C'mon! Stop your anti-establishment marketing when there's rally no need for it. Saying that it was a "Massacre" is just not true. Stop manipulating people's opinion with catchy headlines and unresearched articles that only make good chit-chat. How many people do you think just read the headline and not the article that stated "between 30 and 84" people dead (that's a huge difference!)? I do think that many. And even more, who do you think followed the story enough for knowing that in the end there we're twice as many policemen killed as natives...? I repeat, the peruvian government was/is WRONG and the natives' rights have been oppressed for decades BUT what you are doing is pure nonsensical propaganda and really disgusting journalism (just like E! or any tabloid) Keep up the good work, discard the rubbish.

Rodrigo

Hi there, I writing from Peru and although I agree that the government handled things wrong form the beginning of this issue stating as you do in your headline that it was a "massacre" is the most E! headline you have done. C'mon! Stop your anti-establishment marketing when there's rally no need for it. Saying that it was a "Massacre" is just not true. Stop manipulating people's opinion with catchy headlines and unresearched articles that only make good chit-chat. How many people do you think just read the headline and not the article that stated "between 30 and 84" people dead (that's a huge difference!)? I do think that many. And even more, who do you think followed the story enough for knowing that in the end there we're twice as many policemen killed as natives...? I repeat, the peruvian government was/is WRONG and the natives' rights have been oppressed for decades BUT what you are doing is pure nonsensical propaganda and really disgusting journalism (just like E! or any tabloid) Keep up the good work, discard the rubbish.

Koolvedge

What's happening in Peru is what is almost finished in Amerikkka. The extinction of native inhabitants, the stealing and selling of Mother Earth, and the enslavement of her children. The invasion never stopped, and all of our ancestors have made a knowing or unknowing deal with a big evil that is covering the Earth with a wave of pollution, of the mind, body, and soul, for those who can see and are not fully blind to the truth. We see the "Massacre" on every continent and the culprits are the same if you look deep enough. The ones sewing the seeds of deceit and treachery are from the same few nations. What's happening in Australia is ridiculous, Africa was the beginning, Antartica is carved up like a pie, and the Americas are continuously under attack from the biggest terrorist of their nations, "the police". Mental slaves will defend them and turn their back on nature. They'll tie hands and feet of those who speak about it. If one native dies that's one too many. Who are the uninvited? Who are the ones invading? When you enter someone's home with weapons and a reputation of slaughtering innocent women and children what response would you expect? It has come to a point where certain plants and people are illegal, but nature says that we are all her children. Some have lost their way and it is up to the ones who can still see to lead the blind to safety, to write so the deaf can read, and speak for those who are not heard. We who further ourselves with the knowledge ARE the difference! Koolvedge

Koolvedge

What's happening in Peru is what is almost finished in Amerikkka. The extinction of native inhabitants, the stealing and selling of Mother Earth, and the enslavement of her children. The invasion never stopped, and all of our ancestors have made a knowing or unknowing deal with a big evil that is covering the Earth with a wave of pollution, of the mind, body, and soul, for those who can see and are not fully blind to the truth. We see the "Massacre" on every continent and the culprits are the same if you look deep enough. The ones sewing the seeds of deceit and treachery are from the same few nations. What's happening in Australia is ridiculous, Africa was the beginning, Antartica is carved up like a pie, and the Americas are continuously under attack from the biggest terrorist of their nations, "the police". Mental slaves will defend them and turn their back on nature. They'll tie hands and feet of those who speak about it. If one native dies that's one too many. Who are the uninvited? Who are the ones invading? When you enter someone's home with weapons and a reputation of slaughtering innocent women and children what response would you expect? It has come to a point where certain plants and people are illegal, but nature says that we are all her children. Some have lost their way and it is up to the ones who can still see to lead the blind to safety, to write so the deaf can read, and speak for those who are not heard. We who further ourselves with the knowledge ARE the difference! Koolvedge

Anonymous

I implore you to recognize that at the core of our money based system there is corruption, in fact the system breeds it. The world currently has the technology to have a resource based economy and feed and educate all the worlds people, eliminate debt and drudgery, and set up a social system in which technological and cultural progress can accelerated to levels never before imagined. Please take the time to go through this information and then show it to everyone you know. http://www.thevenusproject.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnK5mBCFTMg&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT-2fenmLnc&feature=related The quality of life can be made souring for all peoples if we recognize our responsibility to inform others and to embrace change.

Anonymous

I implore you to recognize that at the core of our money based system there is corruption, in fact the system breeds it. The world currently has the technology to have a resource based economy and feed and educate all the worlds people, eliminate debt and drudgery, and set up a social system in which technological and cultural progress can accelerated to levels never before imagined. Please take the time to go through this information and then show it to everyone you know. http://www.thevenusproject.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnK5mBCFTMg&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT-2fenmLnc&feature=related The quality of life can be made souring for all peoples if we recognize our responsibility to inform others and to embrace change.

Anonymous

Her whole family is preditory. That father of hers complaining HARD about his $150,000/year salary.
Now we all know where she gets it.
Should be automated anyways. You let the blacks in New Orleans off.
Barely skilled labor.
Reincarnated as milking cows, ironically.
The enemy within.

Anonymous

Her whole family is preditory. That father of hers complaining HARD about his $150,000/year salary.
Now we all know where she gets it.
Should be automated anyways. You let the blacks in New Orleans off.
Barely skilled labor.
Reincarnated as milking cows, ironically.
The enemy within.

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