[act-ma] 6/17 - 4pm Boston Community Protests the Massacre of Indigenous People in Bagua, Peru

Sergio Reyes sreyes1 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 14 18:54:59 PDT 2009

Press Release

Boston Community Protests the Massacre of Indigenous People in Bagua, Peru

WHEN: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - 4PM

WHERE: In front of the Peruvian Consulate General in Boston
20 Park Plaza, Off. 511, Boston, MA 02116

Contact: Sergio Reyes, 617-290-5614

One more time the armed branches of a state have been unleashed against their own people. This time the location is Bagua, Peru. Bagua is located in the Amazon area of Peru..The tension between the indigenous communities in resistance to state adjudication to national and foreign capitalists to exploit their ancestral land, grew as a result of the passing of laws to implement corporate exploitation of indigenous land. Indigenous communities protested this situation and the government headed by President Alan Garcia ordered the National Police to "restore order". During June 4th and 5th the police moved into the area with war weaponry and this resulted in a number between 35 and 80 people being killed including a majority of civilians and some policemen.

Not one of these casualties is justified. The main responsibility for this crime falls on President Garcia. Between December 2007 and June 2008 Peruvian President Alan Garcia was granted special powers to pass laws relating to the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. During this time he passed a series of laws impacting indigenous territorial rights and land security. These laws systematically undermine the legal rights that indigenous peoples hold over their land, promoting the privatization of lands currently under communal control, reverting some lands classed as “abandoned” and “unproductive” to state control and enabling companies (oil, mining, etc.) to enter indigenous lands without prior negotiation with the communities. Aside from the violations of indigenous rights to territory which these laws contain, they were never consulted with indigenous people, itself a violation of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 of
 which Peru is a signatory, and in contravention of the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

However, beyond the specifics of the present massacre, President Garcia has a background of using lethal force against his people. These include the Accomarca massacre, where 47 campesinos were gunned to death by the Peruvian armed forces in August 1985, the Cayara massacre (May 1988) in which some thirty were killed and dozens disappeared, and the summary execution of more than 200 inmates during prison riots in Lurigancho, San Juan Bautista (El Frontón) and Santa Bárbara in 1986. According to an official inquiry, an estimated 1,600 forced disappearances took place during García's presidency.

After the tragic events of last June 5, the government has ordered the Peruvian Army to take control of the area. Entire communities have abandoned their homes and are hiding in the countryside for fear of new killings, detentions and torture.

The confrontation of the state against Peruvian indigenous communities in the name of capitalist "progress" must stop. It is clear that the objective of Garcia's administration is to allow both national and foreign capital to exploit the Amazon zone and profit from it, without regards for the needs and lives of indigenous people.

We express our outrage at the murderous actions of the Peruvian state against its own people as a flagrant violation of human rights. We also denounce the role of the media, both from Peru and the world for representing this tragedy as if it was produced by the indigenous communities and not by those who attacked them with military force.

Organizations that support this event up to the writing of this release: Mass. Global Action, Project Voice - AFSC, Honduran Project, Latinos for Social Change, Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement and a growing number of individuals.

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