Former Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango takes part in political meeting with Nicaragua’s Ortega, it is “pure demoguery,” says Peru Foreign Affairs Minister

Exiled Peruvian indigenous leader Alberto Pizango — who was granted asylum by Nicaragua after Peru charged him with rebellion and sedition this month — participated in a political meeting last Tuesday to honor now deceased Sandinista leader Carlos Fonseca, provoking vivid reactions in Peru’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

During the meeting, Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega told the crowd that “Nicaragua welcomed Pizango as a brother.”

“Peru will present Nicaragua with a diplomatic note of complaint, to express our surprise and unease because such behavior is far from adequate,” said Foreign Affairs Minister José Antonio García Belaunde in reaction to Ortega’s statements. “For Ortega to say: ‘I have carried out a political act and now welcome a political leader’ is more than uncalled for.”

This is “demagoguery” and completely “incoherent,” added Belaunde. “I hope that Alberto Pizango asks Daniel Ortega to condemn the free trade agreement Nicaragua has signed with the U.S., just as he has condemned Peru for signing its FTA with the U.S.”

This month, after Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted a letter of safe-conduct to Pizango, a Shawi Indian and former president of Peru’s Interethnic Association for the Development of Peru’s Jungle, Aidesep, Pizango boarded a flight to Nicaragua, where he has been granted asylum.

Pizango sought refuge in the Nicaraguan Embassy in Lima and requested political asylum, shortly after Peru’s Justice Ministry charged him with sedition, conspiracy and rebellion for leading protests over plans to open large swathes of the Amazon jungle to oil drilling and other large development projects.

Pizango called for an “insurgency” against the government in May, but he later withdrew the call, signing an agreement with the Public Ombudsman’s Office. After the community leaders signed the Ombudsman agreement, Alberto Pizango told Andina state news agency that he recognized that his call to insurgency was somewhat excessive for many people.

Aidesep and other Amazon groups, including the Confederation of Amazonian Nationalities of Peru which had rejected the insurgency strategy, have been seeking to repeal several laws that were enacted by the Executive last year to fit in with private investment policies within the Free Trade Agreement signed with the United States, as well as other laws that infringe on their own territorial rights.

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