Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Massacre in the Andes

(digitalwarriormedia) The Bolivian government expressed its concern for the people of Peru, following a violent clash between indigenous protesters and Peru’s national police on Friday.

During a press conference on Monday, Vice President Álvaro García Linera condemned the tragic events that left at least 40 people dead when heavily armed police were ordered to clear about 2,500 Aguaruna and Wampi natives from an Amazon highway blockade near Bagua.

The actual number of dead and wounded is not completely clear. Telesur indicated at least 30 indigenous people were killed and 11 police officers, however Amnesty International put the number of police killed on Friday at 22.

According to the Associated Press ,“it was Peru's worst political violence since the Shining Path guerrillas(sic) were quelled in the mid-1990s.”

Amazon Watch, citing eyewitnesses, reports that the police opened fire on the peaceful protesters from helicopters, burned bodies of the dead and removed wounded people from the hospital - taking them to undisclosed locations.

The Confederation of Bolivian Peasant Workers (CSUTCB) expressed its solidarity with their brethren in Peru.

"We sympathize with our brothers who are suffering massacres by helicopter, by land," said Isaac Avalos, executive secretary of the CSUTCB.

"These farmers, they are Aymaras, they are Quechuas - original peoples who are dying by the bullets of the Peruvian government and we cannot go to reinforce them, but from here {we offer} our support, our solidarity from the social movements in Bolivia."

According to ABI, campesinos in Bolivia and Ecuador declared Friday’s events against Peru’s native population a genocide and have warned about a regional “project of death” against indigenous people.

Indigenous social organizations in Bolivia have asked Andrés Andrago, the president pro tempore of the Consultative Council of Indigenous Peoples of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), to convene an emergency meeting in La Paz to address the events in Peru.

The standoff began April 9 when 65 indigenous tribes took to the roads and rivers in Peru’s Amazon region and took over oil facilities in order to repeal decrees approved by the administration of President Alan Garcia. Over 30,000 indigenous people have protested against the decrees, passed with “fast track” authority, that will enable oil, mining and timber companies to extract resources from native land without the consent of indigenous inhabitants.



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