OPINION: State of emergency against Indigenous Amazon tribes

Editorial column from Monday’s Diario La Primera

~ By Roger Rumrill* ~

Dr. Alan Garcia Perez’s government has decreed, as of Saturday, May 9, a state of emergency in almost the entire Amazon territory, out there where the indigenous organizations are protesting with strikes, marches and even blockades of rivers and highways against a package of “perro del hortelano” laws that open the door for the transnationalization of Peru’s Amazonia.

The violent and repressive response of the Alanista regime to fair indigenous demands was foreseeable. The underlying reason is the following: since the Alanistas and the economic right with which they co-govern have placed all the economic policy eggs in the basket of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, and the FTA is the padlock of the neoliberal model that is crumbling all over the world, Alan Garcia and his partners are not letting the model be touched even by a rose petal.

The dirty war against politicians who oppose this regime; all the fallacies wielded against the report submitted by the “Multi-partisan Commission in charge of studying and recommending a solution to the issues of the indigenous peoples,” which was discussed in the full session of Congress on Thursday, May 7, of this month; the wall of media silence erected against the indigenous proposals; and now the introduction of the state of emergency, are like a declaration of war to those who are trying to change the course of history.

This is all against rights and justice. Because Legislative Decrees 994, 1064, 1020, 1081, 1090, 1083, 1060 and 997, which the indigenous communities are demanding should be repealed, have been declared unconstitutional by the Multi-partisan Commission. Not only because they violate legal order but because, together with other regulations and measures, they are a threat to Amazonia and to the life of the indigenous communities.

Just one example among dozens and hundreds. Oil Block 76, of 1.5 million hectares, will install 18 seismic lines, build 166 heliports, open up 1944 unloading zones, and build 166 camps. This block completely swallows up the Amarakaire Communal Reserve, operates in the buffer zones of the National Parks of Manu and Bahuaja-Sonene, and within the Tambopata-Candamo Reserve. In other words, it will severely affect one of the areas of greatest biodiversity on the planet.

Perhaps (President) Garcia does not know this: the indigenous resistance to all forms of violence and oppression has been going on for centuries. It is a war of the end of the world that will triumph over those who today destroy Amazonia and threaten its ancient inhabitants.

*Roger Rumrill, journalist and author, is the pre-eminent specialist on Peru’s Amazon region, its indigenous communities and their knowledge and myths, the environment, and the regional economy.

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