Our friends at the Quixote Center have sent the following letter which I would like to share with all of you. Please take a few moments to add your voice to those who are protesting the brutal massacre of those Peruvians who were protesting the passage of new laws that allow multi-national control over indigenous resources in Peru. These laws are part of the Peruvian government’s attempt to implement the recently signed U.S. – Peru Free Trade Agreement.
Thank you for your strong response! Over 700 of you have sent letters telling our government that we reject the killing and environmental destruction in the Peruvian Amazon unleashed by U.S. Free Trade policies. Protests are being held at the Peruvian Embassy here in Washington D.C., L.A. and around the world.
However, the situation remains extremely tense.
Alberto Pizango, AIDESEP (Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon) called last weekend’s massacre, “the worst slaughter of our people in 20 years.” Pizango has been charged with sedition and has taken refuge in the Nicaraguan Embassy in Lima.
President Alan Garcia has declared martial law in the Amazon, issued arrest warrants for indigenous leaders and inflammatory statements linking the indigenous to terrorism. Government statements and actions indicate they are preparing for another wave of repression.
A broad national strike begins today, June 11th in Peru as trade unions, peasant movements and civil society organizations call for the urgent defense of the heroic struggle of the Amazonian peoples and the immediate repeal of “decrees and international treaties that hand over the nation’s natural resources to transnational monopolies.”
Despite the widespread rejection of the free-trade treaty which has given rise to the deadly conflict in the Peruvian Amazon, USTR Kirk is meeting with Peruvian Government officials in Washington D.C. this week to advance FTA implementation!
Fearing violent government reprisals in response to today’s national strike and mounting protests, indigenous leaders are calling for international observers to come to Peru. We can’t be on the ground in Peru – but we can let our government know that the whole world is watching.
If you have not already done so, please send a letter today.
Also, please send this action alert (http://www.quixote.org/peru-massacre-action) to your friends so that we can maximize the number of letters pouring in. The lives of peaceful protesters are literally on the line. Let make sure we do our part to stop the repression and defend the Amazon.
Co-Director, The Quixote Center
PO Box 5206, Hyattsville, MD 20782