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8 de junio de 2009 | |

The wounds of the Forest

Clashes between indigenous and the police have resulted in tens of deaths in the Peruvian Amazon.

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On Friday, there were violent incidents in the peaceful protest, that the indigenous of the Peruvian Amazon had been carrying out for nearly sixty days. The police intervened in the blockade the native peoples were carrying out in the transamazonic route of Peru, killing tens of people.

The indigenous were protesting against the measures promoted by Alan Garcia’s government, which allow transnational corporations to exploit the natural resources of the native peoples’ territories.

The death toll as a result of the police intervention has not been determined yet. Official data says 11 police officers and 22 indigenous died on Friday and on Saturday the police announced that another nine officers died.

Meanwhile, the indigenous were claiming that a special commission investigates the incidents, while they were organizing the search of hundreds of native residents who went missing.

Shapiom Noningo, chair of the Commission of Amazonian Indigenous Peoples and new spokesperson of the native peoples said between 30 and 50 indingenous were killed. Former spokesperson, leader Alberto Pizango is hiding because he’s wanted by the government charged with inciting violence.

Noningo also said that several indigenous who took part in the clashes claimed that they had witnessed the police forces throwing the corpses of demonstrators to the river, and they had also seen the police setting the dead bodies on fire.

Peruvian media like the National Radio Coordinator – which comprises 80 radio stations of the country – said the government aimed to censor the media in Bagua, where the conflicts took place.

In a press release, the National Radio Coordinator also said the massacre could have been avoided if the government hadn’t imposed the ’shoot to kill’ decrees, known as ’blood and fire’, which endanger the rights of the indigenous communities of the Amazon”.

“The repeated mistakes and undemocratic actions, led to the violent intervention in Bagua yesterday, causing a tragedy, which has not ended yet”, the communiqué reads.

The government denied responsibility in the incidents, and suggested that the Bolivian and Venezuelan governments were plotting to “promote chaos” in Peru, to avoid the country’s development.

“They seek instruments from our past to blackmail Peru”, said Peruvian president Alan Garcia.

Former Peruvian presidential candidate and leader of the Nacionalista Party, Ollanta Humala, faulted the government for the incidents.

“We expose this undercover political operative of the government, through which they have preferred killing the native peoples to repealing the legislative decrees, which have been declared unconstitutional by the Extraordinary Commission in Congress, and by the Constitution Commission of Congress, both in favor of the repeal”, Humana said in a letter published by ABI news agency.

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