Peru and the killings of Bagua
Peruvian natives clashes with police.
LIMA., 14th June – Two weeks ago a tragic event happened in Peru.. Many people were killed, at least 50, as a consequence of a confrontation between the police and indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon jungle region in the area known as the Curva del Diablo, or the Bagua.
There, some 5,000 peruvian natives blocked a road to press Alan García’s government to repeal a series of decrees, believed to violate their property rights over their ancestral and communal lands. Some 30 policemen were killed as well as many aboriginals (nobody knows exactly how many,but supposedly not less than 30).
The Indians were led by the peruvian Indian chief Alberto Pizango, who would have escaped to Bolivia. Driven by the Interethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP), indigenous started a road blockade about 58 days ago, to obtain the disruption of oil and gas operations in the jungle.
There were attempts at dialogue between the government and the Indians, represented by the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Yehuda Simon and Pizango, but these failed after two months of mutual accusations of intransigence.
The situation “caused” the intervention of President of Bolivia, Evo Morales also indigenous, who accuse the Free Trade Agreement signed between Peru and the United States as the main reason behind the confrontation. “What happened in Peru, I am convinced, is the genocide of the Free Trade Agreement FTA, with the privatization and the delivery of the Amazonian forests of South America to the transnationals,” Morales said at the closing ceremony of a meeting of Indians in the department of Beni (northeast of Bolivia).
The Bolivian president recalled that his country’s new Constitution, promulgated in February last, does refer to the natives on the exploitation of natural resources in their territories.
Bagua Peruvian conflict was a new element of tension in relations between Lima and La Paz, after the Peruvian Congress linked the origin of the violent incident with a letter from Evo Morales to the indigenous summit held last May in Puno.
Others say that a group of provocateurs infiltrated among the Indians, did the killing of the policemen, including a dozen police officers who had been kidnapped. Supporters of this theory accused of subversion one of the peruvian opponent leader Ollanta Humala and also the illegal intervention of the Presidents Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, who would be seeking to destabilize the presidency of Alan García and the trade agreement FTA of Peru with the United States.
In response to the serious fighting the government of President Alan García of Peru seeks to contain the protestsby suspending the decrees in question and also by creating a dialogue with indigenous groups.
These amazonic indigenous , supported by unions and organizations of the Peruvian left, were traveling in different peruvian cities in order to protest the governmental decrees that are considered to allow oil and gas production in their ancestral territories.
The Indians are not satisfied with the suspension of the decrees,and requires its repeal.
Two decrees, out of a total of ten signed between 2007 and 2008, are the most controversial.
The 1090 known as the “law of the jungle”, is seen by the Indians as a threat to the integrity of the property of their communities. They ensure that the decrees creates forest concession contracts to companies and does not mention what is beneficial to the natives. Forest resources are no longer national heritage.
The 1064 creates a legal regime to seize the lands of agricultural use. The Indians contend that affects property rights by eliminating the need for negotiation with the community.
The conflict is already discussed at the international level. A dozen of members of the European Parliament -mostly communists- condemned the “violence” in recent weeks by members of the Peruvian government against “the Indians and demanded the cancellation of an appointment of the European Union with Andean countries” in Bogota. This social conflict is a consequence of the new FTA signed between Peru and United States, which has allowed “to multinationals total access, including to indigenous traditional territories,” said the EU communist congressmen. They discourage the signing of a trade agreement of the andean countries with the EU . The expected growth of agriculture and processed products sector “will put additional pressure” on the environment, according to the report, which points out that the deforestation and water pollution are now a “serious problem” in the Andean countries .
I personally do believe that President Garcia’s government should show greater political sensitivity and pay a political cost for the disaster ocurred in the Peruvian Amazon. The Minister of the Interior should resign, or the Prime Minister of Peru Yehuda Simon should resign, or maybe both of them should resign.
Simon should follow the steps of leading Indian Pizango absconded for a while and disappear from the political scene.
I can not see how the peruvian government wants to resume the dialogue with the indigenous while continuing Simon to head the Council of Ministers.Simon already failed in the negotiations with the Indians that took place prior to the killing.
Peru should also investigate what happened in this confrontation. Many Indians died,..-no one knows exactly how many were killed. Also thirty policemen were killed..This is grave.
If peruvian subversives like the guerrilla organization Sendero Luminoso, or any peruvian group, or if some foreigners are behind these killings, it is necessary to investigate, identify the criminals and it is necessary to apply the full weight of the law ..
On the other hand, is more than clear that with the advent to power in Bolivia of the also indigenous Evo Morales, the indigenous people of the whole region have become more political. And central governments can not do things without consulting the Indians, as they used to, and less on a topic as hot as the Amazon, which involve issues of climate change, environmental protection and maintenance of ecosystems.
In this should the andean countries,specially Peru, should follow the good example of Brazilian President Lula. In this sense, as important as the common good of Peruvian society, is to take into account the human rights, interests and views of the indigenous minorities to be affected by the new investment and production plans and development.