Killings in the Amazon: Peruvian protests even more violently repressed

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colonos is reproducing here a text by Ben Powless on rabble.ca, including the “INTERNATIONAL DENUCIATION of President Alan García Pérez of Peru and his admistration” by the COORDINATING BODY OF ANDEAN INDIGENOUS ORGANZIACIONES – CAOI.

We have received various notices from people in the Amazon reporting about 10 – 40 indigenous protesters having been shot dead.

Photo by Marijke Deleu
Photo by Marijke Deleu (upsidedownworld.org)

Here goes:

50 days of protest and one massacre in the Peruvian Amazon

I’m writing this right now from Peru after having taken part in a 5 day Indigenous Peoples Summit held in Puno, Peru in the high Andes.
At that gathering we heard from representatives, including Alberto Pizango, elected representative of the Peruvian Amazonian peoples, about the ongoing protests they were waging, and the repression faced as a result, from their opposition to some of the plans the Peruvian government has for ‘developing’ the Amazon region and opening it for oil, mineral, logging, and agricultural exploitation, on the homelands of many Indigenous communities. In response, there have been over 50 days of continuous protest, shutting down parts of the Amazon and the Andes.

Alberto Pizango addresses a crowd of around 3000 Indigenous Peoples from across the Americas gathered in Puno, on Lake Titicaca. He was interrupted repeatedly by cheers from the crowd, Pizango, were with you!
Alberto Pizango addresses a crowd of around 3000 Indigenous Peoples from across the Americas gathered in Puno, on Lake Titicaca. He was interrupted repeatedly by cheers from the crowd, "Pizango, we're with you!"

This morning, the situation took a turn for the worst. The government reacted by sending in police to violently remove the protesters, with different reports claiming as many as 20, 30, or more lives lost in the violent fight that erupted. The protesters had been sleeping at a roadblock maintained over the past few weeks when helicopters arrived and shot at people below, according to witnesses and local journalists. The government has also put out an arrest warrant for Pizango, who spoke today in Lima, for instigating the violence, as if to pretend the intense anger and frustration isn’t coming out of the communities themselves. This is not how World Environment Day should be celebrated.

The government has recently signed a number of free trade agreements, including with the US and Canada, and has been seeking to change their domestic laws to encourage foreign investment in the Amazonian region, for the benefit of those companies and the central government in Lima. Many of those new laws have been ruled unconstitutional, and have been in violation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, as well as participation in decision making, rights affirmed by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They threaten the fundamental rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon, and cannot be allowed to go through.

Photo by Marijke Deleu (upsidedownworld.org)
Photo by Marijke Deleu (upsidedownworld.org)

In response, there has been an upsurge of coverage of the situation, bringing the crimes of the current President Garcia into international light. Many Indigenous groups, human rights organizations, and environmental groups have called for him to step down and have also issued calls for demonstrations at Peruvian embassies around the world “until the bloodbath is stopped and the legislative decrees for the Free Trade Agreement with the United States are repealed.”. Already demonstrations have been held in Washington, another one being held tonight in front of the Peruvian mission in Los Angeles. Indigenous groups in Peru are calling for letters to be written to the president, as well as international bodies like the United Nations and Amnesty International.

Please take a moment to read more and consider what you can do to help.

Please go here to send a letter to the President of Peru, and show him that the international community is watching and is outraged: http://www.amazonwatch.org/peru-action-alert.php

You may also donate to the cause with the following bank information: account number is 395-11-35-338057 (in nuevos soles, Peruvian currency) of the “Banco de Crédito del Peru” The contact information is Nicanor Alvarado Carrasco, coordinator of the “Vicaría del Medio Ambiente de Jaén”. Phone: +511 076 433948.

For more information:

http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/06/05-7 – News release from Amazon Watch

http://peruanista.blogspot.com/2009/06/alert-massacre-in-peru-police-shoots-at.html – Blog and photos

http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN0530387520090605 – Reuters report

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2009/06/200965222937993477.html – Al Jazeera coverage

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j9pNpad9T95Yc7VQREA4BViTQRhwD98KMT982 – Associated Press report

http://www.vicariatodejaen.org/paroindigena.htm  – Many photos and more information (Spanish)

Indigenous peoples gathered at the 4th Indigenous Continental Summit, held in Puno, Peru, May 27-31, 2009
Indigenous peoples gathered at the 4th Indigenous Continental Summit, held in Puno, Peru, May 27-31, 2009

Messages below from the Coordinating Body of Andean Indigenous Organizations – one of the main organizers behind the Indigenous summit of last week.

COORDINATING BODY OF ANDEAN INDIGENOUS ORGANZIACIONES – CAOI

Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Argentina

Call to International Tribunal

INTERNATIONAL DENUCIATION of President Alan García Pérez of Peru and his admistration for Bloody Repression of Indigenous Peoples in the Peruvian Amazon, At least ten to twenty dead.

Urgent: Call to Peaceful Protest in front of the Peruvian Embassies of all countries In Fulfillment of Commitment to Continental Indigenous Solidarity

Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala

Date: June 5, 2009

The APRA government of Alan García Pérez has unleashed a bloody repression in the Peruvian Amazon this morning. The information is unclear, with no official figures, but reports vary that between ten to twenty dead in Bagua, Corral Quemado area and in the Devil’s Curve. Once again, the intent is to impose death over life, slaughter over dialogue. It is the dictatorial response that after 56 days of peaceful indigenous struggle and attempted dialogue and negotiations ends with the bullets of massacres, the same of over 500 years of oppression.

Today, more than ever, it is urgent to implement the commitment of continental solidarity of the Fourth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala (Puno, Peru, 27 to May 31) and to realize solidarity with the Peruvian People of the Amazon by conducting protests outside the embassies of Peru in all countries, every day, demanding a stop to the bloodshed and repeal of the legislative decrees of implementation regarding the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with United States. Further, to call for an international tribunal against President Alan García Pérez and his government, for its intrigue and repression: it is in debt of at least ten people dead.

The current events have occurred just hours after the Congress, in an openly provocative act, decided to postpone further discussion on the repeal of the legislative decrees of implementation for FTA that facilitate the invasion indigenous territories, while the executive branch moved to send an additional numerous police contingent to the Amazon region.

We call upon indigenous organizations, social movements and human rights organizations around the world to take concrete action: letters to the Peruvian government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International, Survival International, the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, Inter-American Commission Human Rights, International Labor Organization (ILO Convention 169) calling to immediately send missions to Peru, in order to stop the violence and respect indigenous rights.

The organizations of the UN must act resolve and join in the demand raised by the chairman of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Victoria Corpus Tauli, to lift the state of emergency in the Peruvian Amazon, to cease the repression and to honor the international standards that guarantee the exercise of indigenous rights.

Today in Lima, the Peruvian social movement organizations, articulated in the Community Front for Sovereignty and Life will mobilize at 5 pm from the Plaza Francia, demanding to put to a stop the suppression and the repeal of legislative decrees affecting the rights land of Andean and Amazon peoples and national sovereignty.

¡No more repression!

¡Immediate repeal of anti-indigenous legislative decrees of the FTA!

***************************

COORDINADORA ANDINA DE ORGANZIACIONES INDÍGENAS – CAOI

Bolivia, Ecuador, Perú, Colombia, Chile, Argentina

Juicio Internacional a Alan García Pérez y su gobierno

Represión sangrienta en la Amazonía Peruana

Entre diez a veinte muertos. Urgente: plantones ante las embajadas peruanas en todos los países, en cumplimiento del acuerdo de la IV Cumbre Continental de Pueblos y Nacionalidades Indígenas del Abya Yala

El gobierno aprista de Alan García Pérez ha desatado una represión sangrienta en la Amazonía Peruana la madrugada de hoy. Las informaciones son confusas, no hay cifras oficiales, pero varían entre diez a veinte muertos en Bagua, zona de Corral Quemado y Curva del Diablo. Nuevamente se pretende imponer la muerte sobre la vida, la masacre sobre el diálogo. Es la respuesta dictatorial luego de 56 días de lucha pacífica indígena y de supuestos diálogos y negociaciones, que terminan en las balas de siempre, las mismas de más de 500 años de opresión.

Hoy más que nunca es urgente cumplir el acuerdo de la IV Cumbre Continental de los Pueblos y Nacionalidades Indígenas del Abya Yala (Puno, Perú, 27 al 31 de mayo) y hacer efectiva nuestra solidaridad con los pueblos amazónicos peruanos, realizando plantones ante las embajadas del Perú en todos los países, todos los días, hasta que se detenga el baño de sangre y se deroguen los decretos legislativos del TLC con Estados Unidos. E impulsar el juicio internacional a Alan García Pérez y su gobierno, por su entreguismo y la represión: tiene una deuda de por lo menos diez muertos.

Esto ocurre horas después de que el Congreso de la República, en un abierto acto de provocación, decidiera postergar nuevamente el debate de la derogatoria de los decretos legislativos pro TLC que facilitan la invasión de territorios indígenas, mientras el Poder Ejecutivo enviaba nuevos numerosos contingentes policiales a la amazonía.

Llamamos a las organizaciones indígenas, movimientos sociales y organizaciones de derechos humanos de todo el mundo, a tomar acciones concretas: cartas al gobierno peruano, al Relator Especial de las Naciones Unidas para Pueblos Indígenas, a Amnistía Internacional, Survival International, a los Premios Nóbel de la Paz, Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Organización Internacional del Trabajo (Convenio 169), para que envíen de inmediato misiones al Perú, para detener esta violencia y se respeten los derechos indígenas.

Los organismos de la ONU deben pronunciarse con firmeza, sumándose a la demanda planteada por la presidenta del Foro Permanente para Cuestiones Indígenas, Victoria Tauli, de levantar el estado de emergencia, no usar la represión y cumplir con las normas internacionales que garantizan el ejercicio de los derechos indígenas.

Hoy en Lima, todas las organizaciones del movimiento social peruano, articuladas en el Frente Comunitario por la Vida y la Soberanía, se movilizarán a las 5 de la tarde desde la Plaza Francia, exigiendo poner alto a la represión y derogar los decretos legislativos que afectan los derechos territoriales de los pueblos indígenas andinos y amazónicos y la soberanía nacional.

¡Basta de represión!

¡Derogatoria inmediata de los decretos legislativos anti-indígenas del TLC!

Lima, 05 de junio de 2009

50 days of protest and one massacre in the Peruvian Amazon
By Ben Powless
| June 6, 2009

2 thoughts on “Killings in the Amazon: Peruvian protests even more violently repressed

    colono said:
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 00:11 (049)

    See also:

    Peruvian Police Accused of Massacring Indigenous Protesters in Amazon Jungle
    Video, English, 14 minutes, posted by kuros
    http://www.politube.org/show/1678

    colono said:
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 11:59 (540)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    June 8, 2009
    12:08 PM

    CONTACT: Amazon Watch
    In the U.S.: Nick Magel 1-419-283-2728 nick@amazonwatch.org

    In Peru: Gregor MacLennan + 511 – 993 916-389

    Peru Police Accused of Disposing of Dead Indigenous to Cover Up Death Toll Indigenous Leaders and Allies Call for an End to Violence on All Sides

    BAGUA, Peru – June 8 – In the aftermath of Friday’s bloody raid on a peaceful indigenous road blockade near Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon, numerous eyewitnesses are reporting that the Special Forces of the Peruvian Police have been disposing of the bodies of indigenous protesters who were killed.

    “Today I spoke to many eyewitnesses in Bagua reporting that they saw police throw the bodies of the dead into the Marañon River from a helicopter in an apparent attempt by the Government to underreport the number of indigenous people killed by police,” said Gregor MacLennan, spokesperson for Amazon Watch speaking.

    “Hospital workers in Bagua Chica and Bagua Grande corroborated that the police took bodies of the dead from their premises to an undisclosed location. I spoke to several people who reported that there are bodies lying at the bottom of a deep crevasse up in the hills, about 2 kilometers from the incident site. When the Church and local leaders went to investigate, the police stopped them from approaching the area,” reported MacLennan.

    Police and government officials have been consistently underreporting the number of indigenous people killed by police gunfire. Indigenous organizations place the number of protesters killed at least at 40, while Government officials claiming that only a handful of indigenous people were killed. Also the Garcia Government claims that 22 police officers were killed and several still missing.

    “Witnesses say that it was the police who opened fire last Friday on the protesters from helicopters,” MacLennan said. “Now the government appears to be destroying the bodies of slain protesters and giving very low estimates of the casualty. Given that the demonstrators were unarmed or carrying only wooden spears and the police were firing automatic weapons, the actual number of indigenous people killed is likely to be much higher.”

    “Another eyewitness reported seeing the bodies of five indigenous people that had been burned beyond identification at the morgue. I have listened to testimony of people in tears talking about witnessing the police burning bodies,” continued MacLennan.

    At least 150 people from the demonstration on Friday are still being detained. Eye-witness reports also confirm that police forcibly removed some of the wounded indigenous protesters from hospitals, taking them to unknown destinations. Their families expressed concern for their well being while in detention. There are many people still reported missing and access to medical attention in the region is horribly inadequate.

    The Organizing Committee for the Indigenous Peoples of Alto Amazonas Province issued this statement: “It is appalling that political powers have acted in such a cruel and inhuman manner against Amazonian Peoples, failing to recognize the fundamental rights and protections guaranteed to us by the Constitution. We express deep grief over the death of our indigenous brothers, of civilians and the officers of the National Police.”

    The government expanded the State of Emergency and established a curfew on all traffic in the region from 3 pm to 6 am. Indigenous and international human rights organizations are worried about plans of another National Police raid on a blockade in Yurimaguas close to the town of Tarapoto where thousands are blocking a road.

    President Alan Garcia is being widely criticized for fomenting a climate of fear mongering against indigenous peoples by drawing parallels to the brutal Shinning Path guerrilla movement of the 1980s and early 1990s, and by vaguely referring to external and anti-democratic threats to the country.

    The Amazonian indigenous peoples’ mobilizations have been peaceful, locally coordinated, and extremely well organized for nearly two months. Yet Garcia insists on calling them terrorist acts and anti-democratic. Garcia has even gone so far as to describe the indigenous mobilizations as “savage and barbaric.” Garcia has made his discrimination explicit, saying directly that the Amazonian indigenous people are not first-class citizens.

    “These people don’t have crowns,” Garcia said about the protesters. “These people aren’t first-class citizens who can say — 400,000 natives to 28 million Peruvians — ‘You don’t have the right to be here.’ No way. That is a huge error.”
    Ironically, Peru was the country that introduced the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the floor of the General Assembly when it was adopted in September 2007.

    A coalition of indigenous and human rights organizations will protest in front of the Peruvian Embassy in Washington D.C. on Monday, June 8 at 12:30 pm.

    Indigenous peoples have vowed to continue protests until the Peruvian Congress revokes the “free trade” decrees issued by President Garcia under special powers granted by Congress in the context of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

    Among the outpouring of statements condemning the violence in Peru were those from Peru’s Ombudsman’s office, the chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, a coalition of 45 international human rights organizations, Indigenous organizations from throughout the Americas, and the Conference of Bishops of Peru. Also famous personalities including Q’orianka Kilcher, Benjamin Bratt, Peter Bratt, and Daryl Hannah and Bianca Jagger called on the Peruvian Government to cease the violence and seek peaceful resolution to the conflict.

    AIDESEP, the national indigenous organization of Peru has called for a nationwide general strike starting June 11th.

    Amazon Watch is continually updating photographs, audio testimony, and video footage from Bagua on http://www.amazonwatch.org [3].

    Newly released b-roll at http://amazonwatch.org/peru-protests-highres-photos.php

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