Center for World Indigenous Studies
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First Victory in the Amazon

Published: June 17, 2009, Author: MHirch

The people in the Amazon are celebrating their victory of the day. Almost two weeks after the bloodshed in the peruvian Amazon with the government having entered into discussions with the indigenous peoples of the region at least two contested decrees about the use of forest and agriculture are to be repealed. Internal as well as pressure from other coutries made the Peruvian government recede.

Meanwhile the region of unrest, Bagua, still is in a state of emergency. Indigenous representatives contend that the police opened fire on the people protesting for the conversation of the lands in the morning of June 5, killing two indigenous group memberes, provoking the ensuing bloodshed. While the government reports on 34 deaths. Indigenous leaders maintain that 85 indigenas who have not yet returned to their villages went missing.

The govenment tried to have the general population believe that the indigenous protesters were mere terrorists and should be thankful for all that the government provides them with. Travelling to the villages some 350km south east of Bagua, curously enough, indigenous communities told me none of the promised help from the government ever has arrived. And the more people get to know the real story the less they are prone to be fooled by government propaganda and the media. Recently almost twenty children died for the simple lack of adequate clothes and food in the Puno area. Due to a lack of adequate blankets, elderly people used fat as traditional medicine to protect themselves and their family against the severe cold. Nevertheless unable to prevent people from freezing zo death.

So much more the present victory of the peoples of the Amazon can serve as a model for more justice to come in the whole country. Development has to be in unison with the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples and be discussed with all involved.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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