According to Peruvian president Alan García, the Amazonian peoples “are not first class citizens”.
This is his justification for the continuing vicious attacks on them with helicopter gunships and heavily armed soldiers.
At 5am on June 5, near the town of Bagua, new attacks left hundreds dead and injured.
The parliament has twice declared that these assaults are unconstitutional. A group of MPs who supported the Amazonian struggle were suspended and the leader of AIDESEP, the Amazonian people’s organisation, accused of murder.
He has been given asylum in the Nicaraguan embassy. But the persecution continues. The reasons are simple – García has promised several multinational companies free access to the oil and gas deposits in the Amazon region, as part of a free trade agreement with the US.
García and the neoliberals have forgotten that these people have fought invaders throughout their history.
Their right to defend themselves is enshrined in the national Constitution as well as the UN Human Rights Convention. But those rights will once again have to be fought for and won.