Bagua, Peru – what you can do

I’ve seen a number posts with ways you can express your voice about the bloodbath that happened yesterday in Bagua, in the Peruvian Amazon. Some good sites are Peruanista, Amazilia’s blog and IKN.

But frankly, the most effective action a US citizen can take is to write your elected representative and tell them no amount of free trade or money can ever be justification for bloodshed. Tell your reps that sections 16, 17 (labor) and 18 of the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement are nothing but pie-in-the-sky promises that have no validity outside the wealthy areas of Lima. The US ought to demand the FTA is frozen or revoked until the government of Peru gets a dose of social equity.

Because of what happened, and Alan Garcia’s comments, there can be no other alternative: Alan Garcia must resign. If this kind of bloodshed had taken place in Bolivia or Venezuela, there would be international condemnation all the way from the White House. The accepted belief in the US and Europe that the government of Alan Garcia (30% approval rating) is somehow better than that of Evo Morales or Hugo Chavez (60% approval ratings) is perhaps understandable due to ideologies, but nevertheless completely false.

The macro-economic gains that Peru has enjoyed have not translated to improved quality of life for people in the provinces. The deep-rooted divisions between ethnic groups have only been amplified as the wealthy in Lima sell out the country’s natural resources with little or no benefit for indigenous people. And finally, all the so-called economic gains are extremely short-sighted. If the world economy experiences significant inflation for a few years – which is entirely possible – the large sums of foreign investment Alan Garcia and his cronies now rave about will seem like a pittance. But by then it will be too late, Peru’s vast natural resources will have been sold out. Future generations will work for pennies-on-the-dollar to pay for today’s windfall for a bunch of rich old guys in suits.

There are many great opportunities in Peru, the idea that bloodshed and selling out 72% of the Peruvian Amazon is somehow justifiable or necessary for progress is deplorable.

6 thoughts on “Bagua, Peru – what you can do

  1. Excellent column by Augusto Álvarez Rodrich today in La Republica.

    “…No se puede aceptar tan fácilmente que son terroristas los nativos que han peleado en las guerras contra Ecuador y que sufren una antigua intolerancia e indiferencia de los gobiernos centrales. El origen de sus reclamos es legítimo, aunque sin duda no las matanzas que realizaron. El ‘Estado limeño’ debió escucharlos con atención y no pelotear el tema, por dos meses, entre el Ejecutivo y el Congreso. Ahí radica una responsabilidad crucial de lo ocurrido. Cuando un gobierno recurre al balazo como instrumento de solución de conflictos está renunciando a su misión de gobernar y revelando una gran debilidad.”

    It is a pathetic disgrace that Alan Garcia resorts to labeling his opponents “terrorists”.

  2. It is horrific how Peru’s government continues to justify the killings in the Amazon.

    What’s so insane about it is that companies persist in ravaging the rainforest for fossil fuels, which we all know are the scourge of the environment. It’s time to stop the madness, switch to alternative energy sources and leave the Amazonian people alone.

  3. Thanks Barb. You’re right, the Amazon is the last place we ought to be looking for fossil fuels. You only have to take a look at traffic in S. FL to figure out there’s no shortage of fossil fuels as it is.

  4. Pingback: Cold Spaghetti » Blog Archive » June Just Posts for a Just World

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