The government of Lima has declared the state of emergency in order to take away basic rights of its citizens, and has sent military and police troops to the regions where Indigenous Peruvians are protesting against the pollution of their land, and a legislation passed by Congress which threatens their right to their land property.
Divide and conquer: Indigenous policemen against Indigenous farmers. Photo La Primera
The Amazon Indigenous peoples are responding to abusive policies of the Alan Garcia administration which favor foreign corporations to take over the vast Amazon land and its natural resources. Meanwhile, religious groups have demanded for the Lima government to respect the rights of Native peoples.
The news around the world are reporting that the Peruvian government through its military and police forces.
La Primera newspaper reports from Lima:
- Troops against Indigenous peoples
"The government has declared war to us with the state of emergency," say the Amazon leaders. Government sends troops against Native protest.
Military and police are causing anxiety in the jungle. Locals say they will defend their lands with their own life.
The government sent military forces yesterday to control oil installations and rural roads, after declaring a state of emergency in areas of the Amazon where a vast indigenous protest took place since August 9, against legislative decrees that facilitate the sale of collective communities land and the delivery of jungle territory to foreign investors.
- Prime Minister Jorge del Castillo announced last night that the military is already in the mentioned area, in order to prevent the demonstrators from blocking the roads, among other things.
- "The Defense Minister, Antero Flores Aráoz, has already confirmed that the combined forces are in the area of emergency. The military already controls the Camisea camps and roads. Beware, a warned war does not kill people,” the premier threatened.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the native protesters have arrived to Lima and demanded the immediate troop’s withdrawal from the Amazonas, Loreto and Cusco regions, considering that the declaration of emergency is nothing but an act of provocation that can generate incalculable consequences of violence.
"We, the Native people, we are not violent, but we the Indigenous peoples have decided to resist and to defend our territories. The government has declared war with the declaration of emergency and the Indigenous people remain strong in their decision to die defending their lands, "said Alberto Pizango,
- chairman of the Interethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Forest (AIDESEP in Spanish.
He admitted that six or nine policemen (failed to specify) are held in El Muyo town, province of Bagua, Amazonas, after a confrontation between the law enforcement and members of the Awayún ethnic group.
"But they can leave when they do. They have been seized only because they fired their weapons against our brothers," he said, after clarifying that two Natives men were also wounded by gunfire from the Police. Yesterday two policemen were released.
They will go to Congress
In a press conference at the AIDESEP premises in Lima, Pizango and other representatives of the Amazon ethnic groups made it clear that they want to talk, but not with the Environment minister, Antonio Brack, who, according to them, clarified that neither he nor the Executive branch could force a repeal of the legislative decrees that affects 65 indigenous peoples, but only Congress.
"If the government is willing to talk here we are," said Pizango, noting that they have formally requested an appointment for today with the president of Congress, Luis Velasquez.
- Congressman Roger Nájar, president of the Committee of Andean, Amazonian and Afro-Peruvian Peoples, called the Amazonian peoples for unity and to defend their rights and reiterated a call for dialogue between the government and Native communities of the Amazon.
Some provinces isolated
In the Amazonian region of Cajamarca two provinces can be isolated from the rest of the country due to road blockades.
They say that NGOs are guilty of this conflict
- … In response to the First Vice-president, Luis Giampietri, Ana Leyva from the non-governmental Red Muqui said that "the Executive should seek solutions instead of chasing ghosts, and blaming the NGOs for the conflict," she said.
Congresswoman Marisol Espinoza accused Giampietri of "playing with people’s feelings. They have created this situation and cowardly accused us being violent. Their statements are irresponsible and intransigent,” she said.
La Republica newspaper from Lima also, says
- Natives will not lift protests while the Executive doesn’t send a "multidisciplinary committee"
Monday, August 18, 2008
"Indigenous peoples and the Amazon no longer bear so much pollution of the rivers. (21:00 hrs) Robert Guimaraes, Vice-president of the Interethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP) said that Natives people continue with the indefinite national strike started last August 9 until the Government send a "multi disciplinary committee" to meet their demands.
"Indigenous peoples are demanding a direct dialogue with the Executive, a multi disciplinary dialogue because there are too many problems to solve in the Amazon," he said.
Guimaraes said that "Indigenous peoples and the Amazon region cannot longer bear so much pollution of rivers and the forests is destroyed because of the lack of public policies that can guarantee an effective protection of their territories."
Strikes and rallies in various locations in the forest began on August 9 in order to get the government to repeal more than 35 initiatives, which as the Natives argue, violate the lands of their communities.
Last Friday, 15, after several hours of dialogue with a government group led by the Minister of Environment, Antonio Brack, the meeting was suspended by ignoring the representative of the executive branch.
In this regard, the vice president of A
- IDESEP said that "a new Ministry that just started is not going to solve the many problems we have in the Amazon."
He rejected that behind the protests were political groups. "This is a step taken by the Indigenous people of the Amazon that have been forgotten for so long. We are already tired of consuming water polluted by oil corporations. Many children are sick", he said.
Finally, he said that the Natives are willing to go to jail for defending their rights.
Peru’s Association Pro Human Rights (APRODEH) expressed its concern over the declaration of a state of emergency, published yesterday in El Peruano, in the provinces of Bagua, Utcubamba (Amazonas region), Datem del Marañon (Loreto), and the district Echarate, in La Convention province, Cusco, due to Indigenous protests. Meanwhile, in Loreto, Native protesters have taken the control of roads and oil camps and blocked the water source that feeds the hydropower plant, which has caused several provinces of Amazonas to remain without electricity.
More info from The Associated Press:
- Peru suspends rights in jungle protest regions
Published: August 19, 2008
Peru's government declared a state of emergency Monday in remote jungle regions where Indian groups are blocking highways and oil and gas installations to protest a law that makes it easier to sell their lands.
The 30-day decree published in the official gazette suspends rights to public gatherings and free transit in three northern provinces.
It follows nine days of protests by members of 65 Indian tribes and a clash Saturday in northern Peru between police and hundreds of spear-carrying Indians with painted faces. Lima newspaper El Comercio reported eight officers and four protesters were injured.
- Environment Minister Antonio Brack said protesters have closed a bridge and highway "and threatened to cut the supply of oil via the oil pipeline and gas through the Camisea gas pipeline."
- Photo Servindi
Alberto Pizango, president of an Indian rights group speaking for the protesters, warned the government to be "very careful" as it attempts to bring order to the affected regions.
The protests began when the Indians blocked an important natural gas installation and oil pipeline in northern Peru. The Camisea natural gas installation is operated by a consortium led by Pluspetrol Peru Corporation SA and including Hunt Oil Company of Peru L.L.C.
The Indians are protesting a law that would let half of those attending a community assembly approves the sale of communal lands. Previously, two-thirds of the local community, whether they attend
- ed a meeting or not, had to approve any sale.
- Peru moves to end Amazon protest
Peru has declared a state of emergency in jungle areas where indigenous groups are blocking oil and gas installations in protest at a new land sale law.
The government said violent acts by protesters had put security at risk.
The measure allows the authorities to send in troops and bans public gatherings for 30 days.
Some 65 Amazon tribes say the law will make it easier for big energy companies to buy up their land, parts of which are known to be rich in oil and gas.
The indigenous people have been demonstrating for more than a week at hydro-electric dams and oil and gas installations in three different parts of Peru's Amazon basin.
They are angry at a law which they say makes it easier for investors to buy their land because it lowers the bar for consent from two-thirds of a community assembly to a simple majority.
The legislation is one of a number of laws being passed as part of Peru's free trade agreement with the US.
"They have mobilized themselves for the right to life, the right to keep their territory and to defend the environment - the Amazon rainforest which is the lungs of the world," said Alberto Pizango, head of the indigenous Amazonian organization, AIDESEP.
Indigenous communities complain that some 70% of Peruvian Amazon territory is now leased for oil and gas exploration, putting at risk their own lives and the biodiversity of the Amazon.
At the weekend, some 800 demonstrators and police clashed in the province of Bagua, leaving several people injured.
Talks between the tribes' representatives and the Environment Minister Antonio Brack also fell through.
Mr Brack said there could be no further dialogue until order was re-established.
"The state has the obligation to guarantee the right of all Peruvians when others violate them so order has to be established - let us be absolutely clear on this," Mr Brack said.
The state of emergency bans public gatherings for 30 days and gives the army special powers in the provinces of Cusco, Loreto and Amazonas.
For their part, the tribal groups are calling on the Peruvian Congress to revoke the land law, saying their protests will end once the government displayed a readiness to talk.
The Peruvian rainforest is the biggest stretch of Amazon outside Brazil.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia has said that developing parts of the Amazon are part of his investment program to tackle widespread poverty.
The current Peruvian government is trying aggressively to make it easier for multinational oil, gas and mining corporations to take over Native lands. This is one of the consequences of the corrupted and unfair Free Trade agreement that Peru signed with the Bush administration.