Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crisis in the Peruvian Amazon: The Cold Truth of Free Trade Terror

Greetings folks,

I'm sure many of you ahve been keeping up to date with developments in Peru, where the neoliberal government of Alan Garcia has been relentless in its attacks against indigenous protesters in the Amazon region, who are confronting the government's development plans in their territory. President Garcia has used the terms of "terrorism," "primitives," and "backwards" to describe the protesters, defying the growing class for justice after last week's government sponsored assault on the indigenous people. This is the model we have seen applied in the past in other countries. The hostile defiance of Garcia is not unlike the words we saw coming out of government officials in Colombia during lasy tear's MINGA POPULAR.

Below we post some information about these events, as well as some actions taking place this week, from Amazon Watch, the San Francisco based organization that has been paying close attention to these developments. We will continue keeping you posted on more news and analysis from Peru.

And be sure to tune into WBAI's Wake Up Call ( this Friday, where we'll have a special report on events in Peru.



On June 5, peaceful indigenous blockades in the Peruvian Amazon were marking their 56th day when they were violently attacked by the police. The protests are about a series of 'laws' that were passed to facilitate the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Eyewitness testimonies that Amazon Watch has helped distribute worldwide, say that Police Special Forces opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding over a hundred in an orchestrated attempt to open up the road. After days of hard work by the Amazon Watch staff and Peruvian indigenous rights advocates, the truth is finally being reported on CNN and other outlets. We are concerned about the government's threats to attack another peaceful road blockade where thousands, many of them Achuar, continue to protest. Please take action now to urge the government of Peru to peacefully resolve this conflict. You can hear a report from Amazon Watch Peru campaigner on our website, Gregor MacLennan, who is in Peru.
Even before the recent crisis in Peru, Amazon Watch campaigns were running at full speed. The pressure we mounted at Chevron's Annual Shareholder meeting on May 27th was unprecedented, when we co-released the report “The True Cost of Chevron” in coalition with a dozen organizations. Below, you can read more about Amazon Watch's face-to-face showdowns with the CEO and board of directors of Chevron and Conoco, two of the largest oil companies in the US. We thank you for your support. Please share this update with your friends.

For the Earth and future generations

Police Open Fire on Indigenous Blockade in the Peruvian Amazon - 40 Civilians and 22 Police Dead, 150 Injured: On Friday, June 5th, Peruvian Special Forces staged a violent raid on a peaceful blockade on a road outside of Bagua in a remote area of the northern Peruvian Amazon. Take Action today and send a letter to the Peruvian President and other decision makers. Also please donate to the Peru Emergency Fund to help Peruvian human rights groups respond to this crisis.

Chevron CEO Under Intense Fire from Shareholders: Hundreds of activists joined Amazon Watch outside Chevron's San Ramon headquarters to demand that the company take responsibility for cleaning up 18 billion gallons of toxic waste it left in the Amazon. Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo, Goldman Award Winner Luis Yanza, and Amazon Watch founder Atossa Soltani directly addressed CEO David O’Reilly inside the meeting. Amazon Watch also released an important letter to shareholders explaining the Ecuador liability. Shareholders with $9 billion in shares supported a resolution about the Ecuador case.

US Demonstrations in Support of Peru’s Indigenous Peoples: While demonstrations in Peru escalated demanding repeal of laws passed to facilitate the US/Peru free trade agreement, activists and indigenous leaders took to the streets in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco demanding that the Peruvian government engage in good faith dialogue, not violent repression. Amazon Watch also joined partner organizations in publicizing the situation at a recent UN indigenous rights forum. More protests are planned at Peruvian consulates in New York, San Francisco, and London. Help organize one in your city!

ConocoPhillips Urged to Abandon Peru Concessions: In collaboration with Save America’s Forests, Amazon Watch launched a report outlining concerns about the company’s current oil exploration of 10.5 million acres in one of the Amazon’s most ecologically fragile areas. Campaigners spoke at the company's annual meeting in Houston to challenge CEO Jim Mulva on the company’s operations in Peru, highlighting that uncontacted indigenous people live in one area where Conoco is working jointly with Spain’s Repsol. The report was distributed to board members, shareholders and media, resulting in wide coverage in industry press.

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