Sunday, 6 March 2011

Peru: Indigenous people defend their land

Sunday, March 6, 2011
By Kiraz Janicke
In a joint statement on February 25, indigenous communities that make up the Native Federation of Madre de Dios River and Tributaries in south-eastern Peru rejected a military crackdown on illegal mining on their lands.

The statement said it was a “false solution to a problem that has social and economic roots”.

Environment minister Antonio Bracks authorised the operation in mid February —involving about 1000 police and infantrymen — to destroy illegal mining equipment including bombing of dredges.

At least four miners have been killed and 15 others injured in clashes with police, Correo Peru said on March 1.

Indigenous groups say they welcome formalisation of the illegal mining, but reject the military actions. The statement said these actions are “incompatible with democracy” and “violate our rights under international standards”.

The statement said that, due to the government’s failure to provide work opportunities, many impoverished indigenous communities make a living from small-scale illegal mining.

Since his election in 2006, Peruvian President Alan Garcia has vigorously pursued a neoliberal policy aimed at opening up vast swathes of indigenous people’s land in the Amazon to oil, mining, timber and agribusiness companies.

In April 2009, indigenous people in the Amazonian town of Bagua began an uprising to demand the repeal of more than a dozen decrees that aimed to open their lands to privatisation.

On June 5, the government ordered police and Special Forces to crack down on the protests. At least 30 people died and scores of indigenous people were disappeared.

A nationwide backlash forced the government to repeal some of the most controversial decrees.

However, indigenous activists say the government is still illegally auctioning exploration licences in the Amazon to big transnational companies — without consultation or agreement from indigenous communities.

In a press conference on February 22 the Interethnic Association of Development of the Peruvian Jungle, which unites more than 1350 communities from 60 different indigenous groups across the Peruvian Amazon — declared they are on a “permanent war footing” in defence of their ancestral lands.

From Green Left Weekly

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Peru's Patricks? Call for solidarity action goes out

Republished from Maritime Union of Australia

Armed troops and police are waging a brutal crackdown against dock workers fighting port privatisation in yet another war on the waterfront, this time in Peru.

Paddy Crumlin, International Transport Workers' Federation president and dockers chair has joined the world outcry over the labour rights violations which include military personnel and police strikebreakers, some dressed as civilians, harassing and detaining dock workers.

"This use of military or para military against dock workers failed in Australian in 1998 when ITF workers of the world showed their solidarity and it will fail in Peru. Sutramporpc Here to Stay!" said Paddy Crumlin who is also National Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia.

In a circular to the ITF Dockers Section Committee, Frank Leys reports the 585 dockers of Puerto Callao in Peru, members of Sutramporpc downed tools on January 19.

The strike action came after the World Bank gave support for port structuring and privatisation without genuine consultation of the workers and without doubt will also result in the sacking of the organised labour.

"These Dockers are fighting until the bitter end and need your help," said Frank Leys.
The ITF is alerting affiliatiates to at least seven vessels loaded by military strike breakers now on route to world ports.

"I am sure you will give them the appropriate welcome when they call your port," he said.
The ITF has written to the Peruvian President of Peru, Sr. Alan Pérez on behalf the 5 million transport workers, it represents to intervene and cease all Human Rights violations of the port workers.

The union has agreed to resume negotiations with management next Tuesday.
Meanwhile members are urged to send messages of solidarity to "WILMER ESTEVES MORALES"

Meanwhile the ILWU announced a major victory in Costa Rica this summer with Sintrajap (Sindicato de Trabajadores de Japdeva) winning a major battle against State sponsored phoney candidates for their trade union.