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Iviche, a traditional Harakmbut leader, said the oil project threatens the forests and waters of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, established in 2002 for the use of local Harakmbut, Yine and Matsigenka communities. “The project will destroy the forest and affect animals we use for food. Instead of going to the supermarket for food or medicine, we go to the forest. We depend on it for our sustenance.”
There are still conflicting accounts of the violence that ensued when National Police troops broke up an indigenous road blockade at Devil’s Curve in Bagua district of Peru’s Amazonas region June 5. The official claim of 34 deaths including only nine Natives is in sharp contrast to as many as 40 deaths among indigenous rainforest inhabitants reported by AIDESEP
With charges stalled against the commanding generals at Bagua, 41 AIDESEP leaders are facing charges related to the incident. Eight have been detained – and one, Santiago Manuin, remains in the hospital, gravely wounded. Three, including AIDESEP president Alberto Pizango, are in exile in Nicaragua. The remainder are in hiding. AIDESEP said any violence by its followers was in self-defense, and wants all charges dropped
“For the first time in our history as Peruvian indigenous peoples, we have been recognized by the government since the events of June 5. The government has always maintained that the Amazon is vacant, that there is nobody there – only forest, water and natural resources. Since June, we have been recognized at a national and international level, and we are exercising our rights.”