WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES IN POST
After a violent repression of indigenous protesters in Peru that the BBC says left 40 people dead, 14 police officers dead, and 100 Peruvian activists missing and presumed dead (Amazon Watch numbers: 25 civilians dead, 150 people injured, 150 in custody, and 9 police dead), the Peruvian government suspended two FTA inspired bills that will allow for the expansion of mining, oil drilling, and other industrial exploitation of the land (and ultimately its people) by multinational corporations.
(Police vs. Indigenous Protesters in Peru. Amazon Watch)
The latest violence was in response to Peru’s 48 day long indigenous protests, involving over 1200 indigenous Amazon communities and more than 30 thousands indigenous protesters. In peaceful protests against FTA policies that would further open the Amazon to “development” and exploitation, they blockaded roads and river traffic throughout the Amazon. Earlier FTAs have already resulted in pollution of the land, destruction of ancient indigenous cultures and Afro-Columbian cultures living in the Amazon (altho this conflict is going on in Peru, the Amazon extends into other nations that have already experienced violent repression and removal including Columbia & Ecuador), and exacerbated gender and ethnic conflicts.
(oil spill from FTA allowed drilling in Ecuador/Rothschild)
According to Amazon Watch, eyewitnesses report having seen missing activists bodies being dropped from helicopters into the river to hide how many had been killed from official count. This is a tactic that has been used in other nations whose governments or MNC funded militias have attacked indigenous groups to move them out of the way of corporate flower and produce farms and mining.
(People killed in the clash in Peru. ibid)
The same report also cites physicians who said dead and dying patients were carried out of the hospital in secret by police for the same reason. Some of them think the bodies have been stacked in a steep ravine near the hospital for disposal.
At the time of the clash, activists were engaging in a peaceful road blockage to stop encroachment on indigenous lands in the amazon. Road blockage has been an important tool in peaceful protests against NAFTA and CAFTA by indigenous and subsistance level citizens in Latin America who often find their lands and cultures destroyed, their homes demolished or polluted, and subsequently end up homeless rural to urban migrants who eke out a living on others garbage, involvement in low wage or exploitative informal economies, or working for the very companies who displaced them for low wages and often at high health risk. The clashes between peaceful road blockers and police or military has also pointed to how easily governments working to pay back loans or enjoy lucrative kick backs and MNCs, some of whom are willing to pay militias, will meet human beings with little more than locked arms and access to rocks and sticks, with tear gas, gun fire, and air support, all the while claiming that the violence is the fault of the people.
Our government is implicated in these attacks when we continue to push for trade agreements that encourage lawlessness, violence, and profit over people.
You can help by educating yourself about these issues, contacting you congress people, and refusing to by products produced under these conditions. a Full list of actions and how to accomplish them is here.