sábado, 23 de agosto de 2008

AMAZONIA PERUANA: 60 grupos étnicos resisten a las empresas petroleras y mineras

Photo courtesy of AIDESEP

Dear Village Earth Supporters,

Protests have ended today after more than a week of armed blockades on roads and energy installations. More than 60 ethnic groups have come together in solidarity leaving behind their political divisions and organizational alliances to form a unified front against the state and the allied oil companies. The President of ODDPIAP (Organization for the Defense and Development of the Indigenous Peoples of the Peruvian Amazon) has said this is a fight for everything.

"We are tired of being silent against the abuses of the government such as recent legislation passed which makes it easier for foreign companies to buy up indigenous lands in the Amazon. And over 70% of Amazon lands are now in the hands of oil companies. Over 1500 police have been deployed to Camisea, Bagua, and Marañon. Government helicopters have been circling locations taken over by indigenous protesters. The government had declared a state of emergency and had given permission for police to shoot protesters on the spot, but we indigenous peoples think this cause is worth dying for and are not scared anymore."

Roads and rivers have been blockaded, oil pipelines were closed, oil operations have been occupied, and major industry was blocked from river travel between, in and around Iquitos and Pucallpa, the two major urban centers of the Peruvian Amazon.

What the indigenous front is asking for is direct dialogue with Alan Garcia, President of Peru, and his administration and the repeal of a number of destructive laws. The President claims that bringing industry and foreign investment into the furthermost reaches of the Amazon will bring people out of poverty. This is a clash between two different development paradigms. Many indigenous peoples have already determined their own development path and it does not include the wide-scale exploitation of resources and the industrial take over of their lands.

Much of the legislation being passed right now in Peru is a direct result of the recently signed Free Trade Agreement with the United States which requires opening up communal indigenous lands to foreign investors.

US citizens can help by contacting your local congressman and make them aware of the human rights abuses Peru's government is perpetrating against the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and the negative affects of the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement.

Just because the protests have ended does not mean the struggle has ended. The government of Peru needs to respect the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples and international laws that allow for self-determination and rights over land and resources.

In solidarity,
Organization for the Defense and the Development of the Indigenous Peoples of the Peruvian Amazon

For more information about Village Earth's alliance with ODDPIAP and our work with communities in the Amazon visit:

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