A situation developing in the Peruvian Amazon for over a month now has grown worse, as the Peruvian government prepares to deploy the army in the Amazon to lift blockades across rivers and roads by indigenous people opposed to oil, gas, logging and mining projects.
The indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited their lands have been peacefully protesting, striking, and blockading roads and pipelines since April 9. The protest is, among other demands, against legislation that would strip their rights to what lies under their soil – oil and minerals wanted by some of the wealthiest corporations in the world. As President Alan Garcia has famously stated, “We have to understand that when there are resources like oil, gas and timber, they don’t belong only to the people who had the fortune to be born there because that would mean more than half of Peru’s territory belongs to a few thousand people.”
Huge parts of Peru’s rainforest and indigenous peoples’ land rights are threatened by its government’s deals with several multinationals. The Peruvian rainforest is the largest swath of Amazon outside Brazil and according to one study oil, gas and timber deals would cover an estimated 70% of the forest. Allowing these developments to go forward would contribute to global warming in two ways – through deforestation to develop fossil fuel extraction, as well as the actual burning of those fossil fuels.
Check out the ad that our Peruvian ally Movimiento Ciudadano frente el Cambio Climatico (the Citizens Movement against Climate Change) ran in a major Peruvian paper just last week:
And follow the updates about the situation at Amazon Watch: www.amazonwatch.org