Robert Coulter: An ugly and familiar story in Peru
"The horrific killings of Indians – some report as many as 100 – by the Peruvian government has been carried out as President Alan Garcia thunders his determination to seize the lands and resources of Indian people.

Thousands of Indian people have mobilized in organized protests that have continued since August 2008. Violence and repression against Indians and their organizations is likely continuing, but restricted access to the areas means it is almost impossible to confirm reports at this time.

Indian people are protesting against a large number of legal decrees that would open their homelands to mining, oil and gas development, and hydroelectric dam projects – all without the consent of the indigenous owners or even consultation with them. The decrees are supposedly a result of the free trade agreement between the United States and Peru – at least in part an effort to open Indian lands to exploitation by U.S. companies and huge infrastructure projects like the planned dams.

The strength and size of the Indian protests have been extraordinary but understandable. These people are trying to stop their homelands from being taken from them, trying to stop the destruction of their environments, and trying to hold on to their ways of life and cultures.

Peru does not recognize that the Indian peoples own the lands and resources where they have lived since before colonization. The unfolding situation in Peru is the direct outcome of the government’s failure to respect the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples to their land and natural resources.

This is an ugly and familiar story: A country decides that in order to prosper, it must conquer the Indian peoples and seize their lands and resources. It is a story that has been condemned and rejected by the world community. This makes it especially shocking to see the story playing out today in Peru."

Get the Story:
Robert T. Coulter: Horrific story told again in Peru (Indian Country Today 6/11)

Also Today:
Peru Congress suspends decrees that upset Indians (AP 6/10)
‘Police Are Throwing Bodies in the River,’ Say Native Protesters (Inter Press Service 6/9)

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