25 Aug 2008
As part of the 'free trade' agreement with the USA, Peruvian President Alan Garcia had argued for new laws to make it easier for corporations to take communal land belonging to the indigenous for mining and oil extraction.
Over the last week the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazon with the support of workers in major cities took direct action in protest at this move. Garcia is still threatening to mobilise the army against the indigenous.
But the Peruvian congress has repealed the law that would have made it easier to take the land because of the protest.
Lets be clear, climate change can only be defeated by stopping the extraction of fossil fuels and preserving carbon sinks. The most important task serious greens have is to defend the indigenous in their global fight for ecology! Their fight for the forests.
Particularly in Latin America the indigenous are arguing for their right to develop ecologically to gain prosperity via sustainable and socially just principles.
They are winning victories....when we fight for ecosocialism for a future for coming generations, we must defend the indigenous.
In Peru at least por ahora as they say a victory has been won.
Salute to Hugo Blanco and all those who proclaim Lucha Indigena in Peru.
Lucha Indigena site here!.
The struggle obviously has involved a very very diverse and large number of organisations and communities..
More here on the events:
Thousands of Indians celebrated in the main plaza of Bagua, a Peruvian jungle city where protesters had clashed with police on Wednesday.
"This is a new dawn for our people and for all Peruvians who wish to develop in liberty, not in oppression," Alberto Pizango, president of the Peruvian Jungle Inter-Ethnic Development Association, said.
Economists estimate around $3.5bn worth of timber, mineral and oil products are locked in a 92,000-square km region of the Amazon basin.
Protesters feared the laws, which made it easier for mining and energy companies to buy communally owned land, would lead to a land grab, especially in the Amazon rain forest.
Indigenous leaders said they were never consulted about the laws and that they were intended only to benefit a free trade agreement Peru has signed with the United States.
Friday's vote was a major defeat for Garcia, who decreed the laws under powers congress awarded him to bring Peruvian law in line with the free-trade pact.
Around 12,000 Peruvians from 65 indigenous tribes had occupied oil and electricity plants in the Amazon basin from August 9, before agreeing to suspend their protests late on Wednesday after the head of Peru's legislature agreed to hold a vote on the laws.
Garcia's administration insists the development laws were aimed at improving the livelihood of indigenous communities by developing their farming, livestock and mining activities, and integrating the tribes into the country's economy.
He said on Wednesday that it would be "a very serious, historic mistake" to revoke the laws.
"If that were to happen out of fear of protesters, fear of unrest, Peru would someday remember it as the moment when change came to a halt and hundreds of thousands of people were condemned to poverty, exclusion and marginalisation," he said.
The president now has 15 days to sign the laws' repeal or amend them and send them back to congress, which can then override his vote.
Posted by Derek Wall at 10:15 am