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November 19 2013

Ecuador: “The indigenous movement will continue”

“The government may continue its attempt to render us invisible, but our struggle cannot be defeated. As long as there is injustice, as long as the profound inequalities between the urban and the rural remain, the indigenous movement will continue.”

Manuela Picq spoke with Carlos Pérez Guartambel, the current leader of Ecuarunari [es] (Confederation of the Kichwa of Ecuador), at an event co-sponsored by NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) and CLACS (Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University). NACLA has published a transcript of the conversation.

November 09 2013

Bulgarian Students Occupy the Country's Future

Protesting students in front of the Sofia University St. Kl. Ohridski. Photo from Early-wakening students' Facebook page. Used with permission.

Students protest in front of the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. Photo courtesy of Early-wakening Students’ Facebook page. Used with permission.

“We build the future”, a group of Bulgarian students announced loudly on October 23, 2013 holding colorful signs, declaring a permanent blockade in key universities in the Eastern European country which only recently was rocked by anti-government protests. The students are demanding, along with other citizens, that the current Bulgarian government step down because of several controversial decisions by Parliament and widespread corruption in the country.

The organizers of the occupation called their spontaneous movement “The Early-wakening Students” and pledged they wouldn't meddle with any political force in the country. The blokade began when a group of indignant students occupied the largest lecture hall, number 272, of the St. Kliment Ohridski University in Sofia, the oldest and most prestigious Bulgarian university. The students announced their dissatisfaction with a decision of the Constitutional Court to reinstate the parliamentary rights of а contradictory deputy.

Previously, on June 14, 2013, a parliamentary vote to appoint Delyan Peevski to head the country's National Security Agency was the reason for an eruption of large anti-government protests of thousands of people.

In a few declarations, including the latest one in the first days of November, the students demanded that the ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party resign and that the 42nd National Assembly be dissolved. In a portion of their latest statement [bg] that the student group published on their Facebook page, which now has over 24,370 followers, they said:

Ние, Ранобудните студенти, сме обединени от убеждението, че държавата ни се намира в тежка политическа и още по-тежка ценностна криза. Обединени сме от възмущението си, предизвикано от липсата на морал и политическата безотговорност на народните представители. Протестът ни е срещу ежедневно демонстрирания от политиците цинизъм, задкулисие и липса на чуваемост. Смятаме, че настоящото правителство, олицетворява всички тези недъзи на българския политически и обществен живот. 42-то Народно събрание на Р. България е изчерпано откъм легитимност…

We, the Early-wakening students, are united by the conviction that our country is in a tough political and even tougher value crisis. We are united by our indignation, born from the lack of moral and political irresponsibility of the deputies. Our protest is against the daily demonstration of political cynicism, backroom deals and a lack channels for voices to be heard. We think that the present government embodies all those defects of Bulgarian political and public life. The 42nd National Assembly is depleted in terms of legitimacy…

The universities blocked are open for students to attend. There are no official statistics about how many students have joined the occupation. Konstantin Golev, a history PhD student at the university and one of the active “occupiers”, suggested that in one of the most crowded days in the first week of October, there were 400 or 500 people who came and sat in the main hall just on one of the first evenings. According to him, approximately 150 people are the core of the occupation of the main Bulgarian university, including people who work in shifts to guard the doors of the university and write lists of people who have entered.

The reasons of the occupation are said to be rooted in the action of three students from the University in Sofia, who stretched a placard in Parliament that said: “Aren’t you ashamed?!”. After less than a minute, they were being moved out of the hall and escorted to the cabinet of the National Assembly’s Chairperson, Mihail Mikov. According to the students and some media [bg], Mikov said he doesn’t “care” about the students’ opinion.

Soon after the beginning of the blockade, over 200 university professors announced their support for the students’ initiative. At the same time, after a debate, the Sofia University Academic Council expressed disapproval of the blockade, announcing that the students have a right to protest, but should not hamper the university's work processes.

Meanwhile students from other universities in the capital and other cities supported the occupation in a similar manner. Students from the National Theater Academy made a protesting flash mob performance as a sign of solidarity. The inscription on the street mob was OSTAVKA (RESIGNATION) and parts of this performance can be seen in this video:

Student with a sign:

Student with a sign that says “resignation” on his back. Photo from the Early-wakening Students’ Facebook page. Used with permission.

Kiril Chukanov, another PhD student from the Faculty of History and one of the main representatives of the protesting student group, stated [bg]:

Това, което се случва в университета, е отражение на извънредното положение на събитията в страната.
Ние няма никога да отстъпим от тези принципи, които имаме, и окупацията ще продължи до оставка, защото знаете, че оставката за нас не е цел, тя е само първа стъпка за това, което ние се борим, а то е реална промяна в системата

The events happening at the university are a reflection of the extraordinary situation of the developments in the country. We will never step back from those principles that we have and the occupation will continue, because the resignation is not a goal for us. It is only a first step towards that for which we fight and this is a real change in the system.

In the public space and some media, there are opinions of support that express concern that no change is really possible in a country that has no political alternative. An editorial of E-vestnik, a Bulgarian alternative online media outlet, said:

Лошата новина сега е, че студентската окупация ще свърши зле. Зле за всички страни. Управляващите продължават да натрупват негативи и стават все по-омразни. Но не само те. И окупаторите и подкрепящите ги преподаватели, партии и т. н. също трупат негативи. Просто разделението в обществото продължава. Това, което е красиво и достойно за едни, е недостойно за други.

The bad news now is that the student occupation will end badly. In a bad way for every side. The authorities continue gathering negative points and they are gaining more disapproval. But they are not the only ones. And the people who occupy, the supportive professors and political parties are also heaping negative points. The division of society just continues. The thing that seems beautiful and full of dignity for some people is deprived of dignity for others.

It added:

Протестът не роди нов политически субект, а беше от полза на съществуващите партии – ГЕРБ и изпадналите от парламента десни. Протестът не роди нови политически лидери, не поиска конкретни реформи. Зацикли на посланията „Оставка”, „Червени боклуци” и „Кой издигна Пеевски?”. Няма как да събереш мнозинството българи под тези лозунги”.

The protest didn’t give birth to a new political subject, it gave benefits to the existing parties like the former ruling party of GERB and to forces from the right who remained outside the National Assembly. The protest didn’t give birth to new political leaders, it didn’t call for any specific reforms. It got stuck on messages like: “Resignations”, “Red trash” and “Who appointed Peevski?”. And one cannot gather the majority of the Bulgarians under those slogans.

According to research [bg] conducted from October 26 to 31, 2013, in different regions of Bulgaria, 60 percent of Bulgarian citizens support the occupation.

Ivaylo Dinev is one of the initiators of the of the Early-wakening occupation. Dinev, who holds a Master's degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Bachelor's in History and Contemporary Times in Southeast Europe, also heads a movement called “Change for the Students”. On the online platform Sofialive, Ivaylo said:

Окупацията не е толкова шокираща. В последните години всяка балканска държава имаше студентска окупация. При нас не е имало от 16 години и всеки е: „Оу, ау, какви са тия? Някакви екстремисти!” Ами, не, не сме екстремисти и, не, не сме нахълтали изведнъж. Ние от четири години организираме събития, прожекции, акции, конференции…

The occupation is not so shocking. In the last years every Balkan country had a student occupation. We didn’t have such in the last 16 years and now everyone says: “Oh, who are those people? Some kind of extremists!”. Well, no, we are not extremists and didn’t invade in a sudden. Since four years we organize events, movie projections, actions, conferences…

Ivaylo added:

Осъзнаваме, че сме се влели във времето. Или ще сме провал, или ще сме за пример.”

We realize that we are in line with the times. And we will either be a failure or an example for others to.

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November 06 2013

Global Demand for Quinoa Takes Toll on Andean Farmers and Consumers


Varieties of Peruvian quinoa. Photo posted by ApegaPerú on flickr and used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

Quinoa has captured the attention of consumers from around the world, but the growing international demand has caused problems in local consumption in the Andean countries where it is produced, additionally affecting poor populations who used to consume it regularly.

The year 2013 was declared as the ‘International Year of Quinoa’ by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO additionally named [es] Nadine Heredia, wife of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, as special ambassador for the International year of Quinoa, together with Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia.

This declaration by the FAO is a recognition [es] of the great nutritional value of quinoa, a pseudocereal originating from the Andean region of South America which contains eight basic amino acids for human nutrition; in addition to proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals, it is relatively low in fats.

These nutritional qualities have, little by little, made the rest of the world interested in this ancestral Andean product. From rather low levels [es] of exportation a few years ago, Peru, the second world producer of quinoa, exported [es] 7,600 tons in the year 2012, from a production [es] of 43,600 tons; while Bolivia, the first world producer [es] of quinoa, exported [es] some 26,000 tons of its total production which was a little more than 44,000 tons.

The Peruvian gastronomic boom has also contributed to the spread of quinoa on a global scale, since several typical Peruvian and international dishes have been reinterpreted [es] by chefs using quinoa. It's use, which before was not very widespread outside of Andean homes, has arrived in force [es] to gourmet restaurants in Lima.

The following promotional video (with English subtitles), produced by FAO and uploaded to YouTube, explains more about quinoa:

However, this promising panorama has its negative side: the international demand for quinoa, which causes Bolivia to dedicate more than 50% of its quinoa production to exportation, has caused prices within the domestic market to rise and therefore is now not accessible [es] to the poorest populations.

The level of unsatisfied international demand [es] for quinoa is also currently causing the United States and Chile to research its cultivation in non-Andean lands.

With regard to this issue, in the blog All about Quinoa they republish an article by the anthropologist Mauricio Mamani Pocoaca which previously appeared in Bolivian newspapers, where he says [es] that in this time of globalization farmers must adapt to agricultural production chains or resign themselves to losing their crop lands. Mamani adds that the hope for income from exportation is a fallacy:

Habrá muchos pedidos desde el exterior y los países andinos no podrán responder; entonces los países industrializados producirán con alta tecnología y con fines industriales. Los subproductos de la quinua llegará desde el exterior a nuestro país, en enlatados, en sobre, en diferentes preparados, con conservantes. Nuestra quinua formará parte de la comida chatarra y nosotros seremos los consumidores dependientes: razón por la que lloran los campesinos en silencio y saben que, en el futuro, nunca más serán los dueños de la semilla de quinua y además están conscientes que, en el futuro desaparecerán algunas variedades que desde su origen, tuvieron distintas aplicaciones en su uso. Antes de la época de la siembra, todos los años comprarán a comerciantes (semillas transgénicas) con el denominativo de “semilla certificada”.

There will be many requests from overseas and the Andean countries won't be able to respond; so industrialized countries will produce with high tech equipment and by industrial means. Quinoa subproducts will come from overseas to our country, in cans, in envelopes, in different preparations, with preservatives. Our quinoa will form part of fast food and we will be dependent consumers: this is the reason why farmers are crying in silence and know that, in the future, they will no longer be the owners of the quinoa seed and they are also aware that, in the future, some varieties that were originally used differently will disappear. Before the time of sowing, every year they will buy will buy transgenic seeds with the name “certified seed” from businessmen.

In the same blog post, Rubén Miranda writes in response:

Lo mejor sería que el productor además de venderla la consuma mucho más, el intermediario pague y venda a un precio justo el grano adquirido y las empresas beneficiadores y transformadoras inviertan en el mercado nacional y también la exporten porque deben recuperar sus inversiones, además de mejor sus procesos.

De quien dependa que las variedades no se pierdan, de los mismos productores, de quien depende conscientizar sobre evitar las semilla transgenicas [...] (d)e todos nosotros, los interesados en mantener nuestra variabilidad genética.

The best thing would be for the producer, in addition to selling it, to consume it much more. The middleman should pay and sell the acquired crop at a fair price and benefited and transformed businesses should invest in the national market and should also export it because they must recover their investments, in addition to improving processes.

Not losing the varieties of seeds depends on the producers; raising awareness about avoiding transgenic seeds[...] depends on all of us, those of us who are interested in maintaining our genetic variability.

In the virtual magazine PuntoEdu from the Catholic University of Peru, the Peruvian anthropologist Carlos Eduardo Aramburú shares an article [es] which explores the dilemmas between the exportation boom [es] and the shortage for the domestic market. Aramburú explains that in a field study in Ayacucho and Puno he found that:

los pobladores han dejado de comer quinua porque prefieren exportarla y han reemplazado este alimento por los fideos que son más rápidos de cocinar y llenan pero tienen muy poco valor nutricional. En conclusión, tenemos el boom de la gastronomía en un país donde, si bien la malnutrición crónica infantil ha caído, todavía los índices de anemia son altos. No comemos menos pero si comemos mal

the people have stopped eating quinoa because they prefer to export it and they have replaced this food with noodles which are quicker to cook and fill you up but have very little nutritional value. In conclusion, we have the gastronomic boom in a country where, although chronic childhood malnutrition has decreased, anemia indexes are still high. We don't eat less but but we eat badly

Confirming the above, Peruvian areas with a traditionally high consumption of quinoa, like Puno, have reported a shortage of the product. The Peruvian Society of Environmental Law blog reports that this is worrying, since Puno has 80% of the quinoa production in Peru, and adds [es]:

desde julio la región Puno sufre de escasez de quinua, debido al incremento de la demanda en más de 143% entre los años 2008 y 2012. Otro factor sería la promoción que se le ha dado a este producto en mercados importantes como China.

since July the Puno region has suffered from a shortage of quinoa due to the increased demand of more than 143% between the years 2008 and 2012. Another factor may be the promotion this product has been given in important markets like China.

Some citizens complain about the rise in price of quinoa in Peru, where Bolivian quinoa can be cheaper [es] than Peruvian kind:

And that will lower the price? :) RT @Capital967: Peruvian Pride: They declare quinoa a flagship product

Half a kilo (about one pound) costs 10 soles ($3.60 US dollars) on average – the price of quinoa is through the roof at the markets

Thanks @NadineHeredia for promoting quinoa. And for making the price rise unbelievably!!! Thanks? #OkNo

Finally, the website Carro de Combate shares an article [es] about the risks of the quinoa boom:

Ninguna moda, por muy ecológica o sostenible que pueda parecer, está exenta de riesgo. El consumo masivo puede traer consigo desequilibrios para las comunidades locales e impactos ecológicos, incluso si la planta que se cultiva es el “alimento de los dioses”.

Nothing which is in style, no matter how ecological or sustainable it may appear, is exempt from risk. Mass consumption may bring with it an imbalance for local communities and ecological impacts, even if the plant which is cultivated is the “food of the gods.”

Original post published in the blog Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.

October 28 2013

PHOTOS: Muralists ‘Paint Resistance’ in Toribío, Colombia

Alumnos del CECIDIC. Foto compartida en Flickr por Minga de los Muralistas de los Pueblos, bajo licencia Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Students of CECIDIC. Photo shared on Flickr by Minga de los Muralistas de los Pueblos, under the Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Center for Education, Training and Research for Integral Community Development [es] (CECIDIC) organized a “‘Minga‘ of Village Muralists” in the town of Toribío, in the Cauca department of Colombia, to “help create a different collective imagination for the community through art” and to “turn Toribío into a museum of outdoor art,” according to the event's Facebook page [es]. 

A minga (or minca) is a type of communal work done in favor of a community.

The majority of the population in the town of Toribío is of the indigenous Nasa, and has been one of the areas most affected by armed conflict in the country. CECIDIC is an educational and indigenous non-profit organization that works in the town of Toribío. 

“Neither the cold nor the rain scared off the Iskra team”. Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Facebook.

From October 19 to 26 the minga united over 60 artists from Colombia and other parts of Latin America, such as Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, and Mexico.

Photos of the minga have been shared on Flickr [es], Facebook [es], and Twitter [es], often with short comments like this one: 

Jafeth Gómez - Colectivo Cultural Wipala. Foto compartida por Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos en Facebook.

Jafeth Gómez – Wipala Cultural Collective. Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Facebook.

“La Minga de Muralistas es una oportunidad para que a través del arte se haga un llamado a los actores del conflicto armado para que asuman un compromiso de respeto hacia la población de Toribío”. Jafeth Gómez – Colectivo Cultural Wipala

“The Muralist Minga is an opportunity to make a call to the actors of the armed conflict through art so that they assume a commitment of respect towards the population of Toribío.” Jafeth Gómez – Wipala Cultural Collective

Mural en Toribio, Cauca. Foto compartida por Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos en Facebook.

Mural in Toribío, Cauca. Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Facebook.

“Our inspiration and motivation”. Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Facebook.

Foto compartida en Flickr por Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos, bajo licencia Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Agroecological School. Photo shared on Flickr by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos, under the Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Additionally, with the hashtag #MuralistasdelosPueblos [es] (#VillageMuralists), the group, artists, and other users that supported the minga have been sharing photos, videos, and messages:  

This way we regain our territory, our traditions, our customs, our life… 

Proud of the support and work of @lacasalibre in the Village Muralists Minga 

In Toribío we continue painting resistance.  

The photos of the murals can also been seen on the group's Instagram [es] page. 

Foto compartida por Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos en Instagram.

Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Instagram.

    House of Youth Movement

House of Youth Movement “Alvaro Ulcué”. Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Instagram.

El aporte de 'Somos Muiscas'. Foto compartida por Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos en Instagram.

Contribution from “Somos Muiscas”. Photo shared by Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos on Instagram.

On YouTube, Minga de Muralistas de los Pueblos [es] have also shared various brief videos of the murals: 

On October 25, the day before the end of the minga, the group denounced [es] vandalism of the murals on Facebook and Twitter [es]: 

According to neighbors in Toribío, the military and police have taken advantage of nightly rounds to damage some of the works in the village 

On the last day of the minga, Mónica Hurtado shared her sentiments on Facebook [es]: 

7 dias despues………..y el color se apoderó de la arquitectura, de los espacios, de los niños, de los jovenes, del pueblo, de la esperanza y del amor por sembrar semillas de Paz!!

7 days later………..and color has taken over the architecture, the spaces, the children, the youth, the village, the hope and love of planting seeds of Peace!!

More than 100 photos of the minga can be seen in a photo album [es] shared by photographer Marialina Mavizu [es] on Facebook.

October 18 2013

Chile: Police Special Forces Evict Mapuche Community From Contested Lands

temucuicui Photo by Donmatas1 on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“Welcome to the Temucuicui Autonomous Community” Photo by Donmatas1 on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In the early morning of Wednesday, October 9, riot police and members of the Group of Special Operations (GOPE in Spanish), an elite, special unit of the Chilean Police, raided the Temucuicui Autonomous Community [es], an indigenous Mapuche community located near the town of Ercilla in the Araucania Region of Southern Chile.

A self-denominated “autonomous” community, Temucuicui has occupied what they consider to be ancestral lands for over two years. They have resisted several eviction attempts, and their resistance has landed many community leaders and members in jail.

The land where the community lives is part of what the Mapuche call “Wallmapu”, meaning Mapuche country, where clashes between police forces and Mapuche activists are common. Currently, these lands are contested, but legally owned by landowners Rene Urban, Martin Ruf and the Zeit family.

News site Terra [es], one of the few to speak to the police, cited [es] Commissioner Major Salomón Zenteno, the Commissioner in charge of the 2nd Police Station of Malleco, explaining details about the operation that morning:

Esta orden de desalojo comenzó alrededor de las 09:15 horas, participando aproximadamente unos 60 funcionarios a cargo del coronel Marcelo Teuber Muñoz de la Prefectura de Malleco”, dijo el comisario, agregando que “tuvimos dos detenidos, el señor Mijael Carbone (werkén o vocero) y su cónyuge. Durante el desalojo resultó una carabinera lesionada por la conviviente de Mijael Carbone, quien a oponer resistencia a su detención efectuó varios puntapiés, golpeando una de las manos de la carabinera.

“This eviction order began to be [implemented] at around 09:15 with the participation of approximately 60 officers under the command of Colonel Marcelo Teuber Muñoz from the Malleco prefecture”, said the Commissioner. He added that “we had two arrests: Mr. Mijael Carbone (werkén or spokesperson) and his partner. During the eviction, a police woman was injured in her hand by Mijael Carbone's partner when she kicked repeatedly while resisting arrest.”

[Note: In Latin America, the rank of Commissioner often refers only to the police official in charge of a single police station and not the entire police force, as is often the case in the UK or other countries.]

In a public statement, the community expressed its complaints and concerns about this operation and the broader context in which it occurs:

 1.- El día de ayer Miércoles 09 de Octubre de 2013, se produjeron dos graves hechos de violencia por parte los aparatos represivos del Estado Chileno, quienes una vez más han violentado nuestros derechos y la tranquilidad de la Comunidad, mediante la irrupción, incursión y militarización violenta a nuestras tierras, allanando y destruyendo todos los bienes y sembrados que poseemos en los predios que hemos denominado recuperación productiva y control territorial de nuestra tierra ancestral, hoy en manos de particulares.

1.- On Wednesday, October 9 of 2013, two serious, violent incidents were carried out by the repressive apparatus of the Chilean State. Once again, they have violated our rights and the tranquility of the community, through the intrusion and the violent militarization of our lands. They have raided and destroyed all our goods and the crops that we possess in lands that we consider under “productive recovery” and which today are controlled by private landowners.

The statement added:

 3.- Con esta grave y violenta arremetida policial, queda claramente demostrado que no existe la voluntad política y administrativa de parte el Estado Chileno en solucionar las demandas de nuestra comunidad. La “voluntad de diálogo” que supuestamente han manifestado, no es más que una práctica histórica de engaño y manipulación hacia el Pueblo Mapuche, por cuanto nuestra comunidad continuará reivindicando nuestro legítimo derecho a la tierra y territorio usurpado. Lamentamos que las autoridades de gobierno no hayan sido capaces de solucionar nuestras demandas, solo han respondido con una fuerte represión y maltrato a nuestra gente y con nuestras Autoridades Tradicionales, militarizando y sitiando completamente a nuestra comunidad.

3.- This serious and violent police advance demonstrates that the Chilean State does not have the political and administrative will to solve the demands of our community. The “will to dialogue” that they have supposedly expressed, is nothing more than a long-held practice of deceit and manipulation against the Mapuche People. For that reason, our community will continue to reivindicate our legitimate rights to stolen lands. We regret that government authorities have not been capable of solving our demands. They only have responded with the strong repression and mistreatment of our people and our Traditional Authorities. [They have] militarized and completely sieged our community

Hours after the operation, Azkintuwe [es], the first Mapuche media outlet in Chile, reported [es]:

Según el Werken Jorge Huenchullan, son alrededor de 300 efectivos policiales los que irrumpieron violentamente, destrozando casas y atropellando rebaños de ovejas pertenecientes a la comunidad, arrojando un saldo de 15 animales muertos y otros tantos heridos, “todos propiedad de los peñi”

According to Werken (leader/spokesperson) Jorge Huenchullan, about 300 police officers violently entered [the community], destroying homes and running over a flock of sheep that belonged to the community, leaving 15 animals dead and several wounded. “All belong to the peñis (brother in Mapudungun, the Mapuche language)

The Ajayula Magazine [es], republished [es] a post with the testimony of a Susana Curinao, a 25-year-old woman and member of the Temucuicui Autonomous Community. She explains that in the morning of October 9 they saw police forces destroying fences the community had erected to protect their sowed cereals. Mijael approached the person who was in charge of the operation to talk to them, while Susana filmed everything with her cellphone. She says that at least 20 police officers grabbed Mijael and kicked him. When Susana ran over to the officers to ask them to release Mijael, two female officers grabbed her. She says that 12 officers “dealt with her”

Me agarraron de la cabeza y el pelo para echarme hacia el suelo y me pateaban por detrás mientras otros me amarraban las manos atrás con algo como un elástico que hacía mucha presión sobre mis manos y de esa forma me subieron al un furgón policial. Arriba creo que sufrí lo peor que le puede ocurrir a una mujer en cualquier parte, donde quizás el insulto más suave que me dijeron fue “india puta, hija de borrachos, hedionda a culo, descendiente de ratas…”. También me decian que un día nos harían desaparecer a todos los mapuche así como lo había hecho su general con los comunistas, eso no lo entendí mucho pero creo que se referían a Pinochet…

They grabbed my head and hair to put me on the ground. They kicked me from behind while others tied my hands with something like a rubber band that put a lot of pressure in my hands. They put me in a police van. Inside, I suffered the worse that can happen to a woman anywhere. The softest insult I received was “indian whore, drunkard daughter, you smell like ass, rat’s descendant…”. They also said that one day they will make all of the Mapuche disappear, just like their General had done with the communists. I didn’t understand that much, but I think they referred to Pinochet…

On Twitter, many shared reactions using the hashtag #temucuicui:

Meanwhile, in Temucuicui…

Mijael Carbone and his wife detained, now in Angol, after violent raid in Temucuicui

Families of Temucuicui re-enter lands without fear of another eviction

In an article for Revista Anfibia [es], Carolina Rojas [es] explored the long-term effects of the violence:

Ayer, a las diez de la mañana seguían llegando carros policiales, todo era una Franja de Gaza a 535 kilómetros de Santiago. Las noticias del horario prime, no hicieron ninguna mención. De esa indolencia sabe muy bien Karina Riquelme, abogada de algunos comuneros de la zona. “Este ha sido el allanamiento más grande de la historia y a nadie parece importarle”, comentó.

Karina dice que una cosa es el daño a los adultos y otra es ese mundo infantil resquebrajado. Vidas que están reducidas a un espacio de guerra y a pequeños momentos de felicidad donde ellos juegan a la escondida con el sonido de los grillos de fondo, montan caballo y persiguen a los cerdos y a las ovejas. Esos, son sólo interludios en un continuo de violencia.  “Los niños experimentan esas situaciones desde que tienen meses de edad, niños que no sonríen y su seriedad se intensifica con el tiempo…

Yesterday, police vehicles kept on arriving at ten in the morning. It was like the Gaza Strip, but only 535 kilometers from Santiago. Prime time news did not mention it. Karina Riquelme, lawyer of some of the community members, knows well about that indolence. “This has been the largest raid in history and no one seems to care”, she said.

Karina says that one thing is the damage done to adults and another is how children are broken. These children's lives are confined to a war zone and only get brief moments of happiness when they play hide and seek to the sound of crickets, ride a horse or chase pigs and sheep. Those moments are only the interlude in a long continuum of violence. “Children go through these situations from the time they are months old. These are children that do not smile and their seriousness intensifies as time goes by…

To learn more about the Temucuicui community and their resistance, watch this interview [es] of Mijael Carbone by Prensa Opal from December 2012:

October 17 2013

Ecuadorian Women March in Defense of the Amazon

[All links lead to Spanish-language pages unless otherwise noted.]

The Ecuadorian president's decision to suspend the Yasuní ITT environmental plan [en] continues to generate mobilizations [en] and initiatives from civil society and activists interested in the preservation of the Amazon. This time, it is the women leaders of the various communities of the Pastaza [en] who have organized and launched a “Mobilization for Life”.

A press release from the organizers of the mobilization, which was republished in the blog Amazonian Commune Youth Organization (Organización Juvenil Comuna Amazónica), states among other things:

Hoy somos las mujeres quienes tomamos la posta en esta lucha como dadoras de vida. Somos las abuelas, madres, hijas y hermanas quienes hemos decidido salir en defensa de la vida por la femineidad que nos conecta con la fuente primordial de la existencia humana. Nosotras, desde las bases, buscamos revivir el vínculo fundamental que nos une a este vasto organismo vivo y cuyo ultraje solo ha creado situaciones de miseria para quienes vivimos en la selva.

Today it is we, the women, who take the lead in this struggle as givers of life. It is we, the grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters who have decided to stand up for life for the womanhood that connects us with the primordial source of human existence. We women, from the grassroots, seek to revive the fundamental link that joins us to this vast living organism, the affront to which has only created situations of misery for those of us who live in the rainforest.

Prior to the mobilization, the assembly “Women Keeping Vigil for Life” was held on October 10th and 11th in Fátima parish in the city of Puyo, to socialize the proposal of mobilization towards the city of Quito, as well as to discuss other issues. After the assembly they declared:

1. Nosotras las mujeres de las nacionalidades amazónicas nos declaramos en movilización hacia la ciudad de Quito en oposición a la explotación petrolera y demás formas extractivistas, por ser atentatorio contra toda forma de vida en nuestra región y en defensa de la vida, de nuestros territorios y de nuestros derechos.

2. Exigimos al Gobierno Nacional la no ampliación de la frontera petrolera, en el marco de la XI ronda petrolera (Ronda petrolera Centro Sur), la expansión del bloque 10, la concesión inconstitucional de los bloques 28, 78 y 86, a la empresa estatal Petroamazonas ni la explotación del parque nacional Yasuni (bloques 43 y 31).

1. We, the women of the Amazonian nationalities, declare ourselves in mobilization toward the city of Quito in opposition to oil exploitation and other extractive forms, for being prejudicial against every form of life in our region and in defense of life, of our territories and of our rights.

2. We demand that the National Government not engage in the enlargement of the oil frontier, in the context of the 11th oil round (Centro Sur oil round), the expansion of block 10, the unconstitutional concession of blocks 28, 78 and 86 to the state-owned company Petroamazonas nor the exploitation of Yasuní national park (blocks 43 and 31).

The Huangana Collective, “a channel of self-mobilization of the AMAZONIAN WOMEN of Ecuador in defense of their ancestral territories and against oil exploitation”, made the following video:

On Saturday, October 12th, the mobilization was initiated, departing from the city of Luyo and arriving at night on the same day in Tungurahua. On Monday, the approximately 110 marching women were in the city of Ambato, and then in Latacunga.

Finally, on the morning of Wednesday, October 16th, the march reached the capital city of Quito, beginning their circuit from the locality of Guajaló, in the south of the city, and finishing in Arbolito Park, in the northern part.

On Twitter, the account @Yasunidos has been one of the most active ones spreading the march and its details:

[Photo: “Walk with us (Oct 16) Guajaló Bridge: 8:00 Arbolito Park: 12:00”]
#MujeresPorLaAmazonia (Women for the Amazon), for your home, for your life, for the Yasuní to receive them with wide open arms!!!

Felipe Bucaram for his part made a comparison with the recent ranking of the Ecuadorian football team for the World Cup:

Women for the Amazon arrive this morning in Quito to defend their land! This makes me MUCH more proud than classifying [to the World Cup].

Various users were tweeting photos of the route of the march on Wednesday:

in minutes a press conference will start, mobilization of women of the Amazon in defense of life

[Photo: “Only we, the WOMEN of the AMAZON RAINFOREST, know what life is in the rainforest - NO MORE OIL EXPLOITATION!”]
the atmosphere on Guajaló bridge

Look at those faces, of courageous women, Sarayacu, who do represent me

We share our photo with you. Women of the Amazon start a march.

“We've got chicha, we've got corn, oil companies out of our countryCOUNTRY”, shout the Women for the Amazon

Women for the Amazon advancing towards Arbolito Park

“We can't let our women down… They are the protagonists of this march.”

Women living in cities also joined the march:

Thus we walk struggling, being born, growing up in the struggle!

Although one of the objectives of the march is to gain an audience with Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and representatives of the National Assembly to deliver the manifesto to them, so far it is unknown whether such meetings will take place. Some media report that the march has impeded vehicular traffic in some parts of the city.

More photos of the march in this set on Facebook, and up-to-the-minute happenings under the hashtag #MujeresPorLaAmazonia on Twitter.

October 04 2013

Deadly Storms, Delayed Aid Devestate Mexico's La Montaña Indigenous

Camp of indigenous people displaced by storms. Photo from The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center used with permission.

Camp of indigenous people displaced by storms in La Montaña. Photo from The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center. Used with permission.

Two major storms, Tropical Storm Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid, hit Mexico last month, leaving behind 157 deaths according to the latest official reports. One of the hardest hit areas is La Montaña, a region in the southern state of Guerrero, considered one of the poorest and most marginalized areas in the country.

The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center, which is based in La Montaña, described the situation in an opinion piece published in the online version of local newspaper El Sur [es]:

En la Montaña, esa región olvidada que conforman 19 municipios y más de 650 comunidades indígenas, el panorama es desolador. Cuando comenzaron las lluvias, nadie imaginaba la destrucción que dejarían a su paso. No hubo un solo aviso sobre lo que se avecinaba que permitiera tomar precauciones. Simplemente, la lluvia inició y se prolongó como si fuera interminable, con una furia devastadora nunca antes vista.


El conteo de los fallecimientos en la Montaña, que asciende ya a más de treinta personas, debe considerarse todavía preliminar pues el colapso de carreteras y caminos mantiene en la incomunicación a pueblos ubicados en los lugares más recónditos de Acatepec, Metlatónoc y Cochoapa.

In La Montaña, that forgotten region made up of 19 municipalities and more than 650 indigenous communities, the outlook is bleak. When the rains started, no one imaged the destruction they would leave in their wake. There was not a single warning about what was coming in order to take precautions. The rain simply started and lasted as if endless, with a devastating fury that had never been seen before.


The death count of La Montaña, which now amounts to over 30 people, must still be considered preliminary since the collapse of roads and paths have kept communities in the remote corners of Acatepec, Metlatónoc and Cochoapa isolated and unable to communicate.

The government has declared [es] all 19 municipalities of La Montaña a natural disaster zone.

The article also denounced the authorities’ slow response, which they say “reveals the discriminative face of the Mexican State”:

Pero ninguna autoridad de alto nivel de los gobiernos federal y estatal llegó a la Montaña los primeros días del desastre. Con las autoridades volcadas en el traslado de turistas acapulqueños, la penuria de las comunidades indígenas de la Montaña fue, en los hechos, relegada a segundo plano.

But no high-level authority of the federal and state governments came to La Montaña during the first days of the disaster. With authorities dedicated to the transfer of Acapulco tourists, the hardship of the indigenous communities of La Montaña was, in light of the facts, relegated to the background.

Camp of indigenous people displaced by storms. Photo from The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center used with permission.

Camp of indigenous people displaced by storms in La Montaña. Photo from The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center. Used with permission.

WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America), which gave the The Tlachinollan Human Rights Center a Human Rights Award in 2009, also shared the Center's reports:

According to Tlachinollan, several indigenous communities in the region suffered from landslides; roads have been destroyed, crops vital to their survival have been washed away, and the communities are without electricity and phone service. Communities lack food, water, medicine, and gasoline but the government response has been slow and insufficient.

Furthermore, WOLA called on Mexican authorities to take action and “respond to the immediate needs of communities in the La Montaña region of Mexico in a coordinated and transparent manner.”

Paris Martínez reported for website Animal Político [es] on the people of Moyotepec and La Lucerna, two indigenous communities from La Montaña, on September 25:

Según los cálculos de sus autoridades tradicionales, en estos dos campamentos permanecen más de 3 mil personas, que han dado por perdidas sus viviendas y sus cosechas, ya sea por haberse derrumbado o por estar a punto de hacerlo. Y como Moyotepec y La Lucerna, los habitantes de al menos media centena más de localidades indígenas de La Montaña, permanecen en campamentos y refugios a los que la asistencia oficial apenas ha salpicado.

According to calculations made by their traditional authorities, in these two camps there are more than 3,000 people, who have lost their homes and their crops, either because they have collapsed or because they are about to. And like Moyotepec and La Lucerna, inhabitants of at least 50 indigenous communities of La Montaña remain in camps and shelters where official help has barely trickled in.

Martínez shared two videos of the camps.

In his report, Martínez highlighted that by September 22 the inhabitants of Moyotepec had been waiting eight days for help. He says that a few hours after reporters began releasing the testimonies of those affected, Army and Ministry of Health doctors, and trucks with blankets, water purification tablets and groceries arrived in Moyotepec. But he pointed out that the authorities were in such a hurry that they drove by the La Lucerna camp without providing any assistance.

At the end of his article, Martínez reported that the Secretary of Social Development, Rosario Robles, arrived to the region a day after that quick relief operation. Robles said that they'd been “all over the state of Guerrero” and that the alleged lack of attention to indigenous communities has been a problem of media coverage, not a problem related to their work.

Citizen media are not the only ones denouncing government officials’ negligence, as Nina Lakhani reported in Al Jazeera: “Several national newspapers started to suggest that authorities had neglected evacuation plans in Guerrero because they were too caught up in public holiday festivities.”

In an email sent to Global Voices this week, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center said that indigenous youth are using social networks like Facebook to share information and organize the delivery of humanitarian aid to their communities. 

Tlachinollan also reported that according to the governor of Guerrero, Ángel Aguirre Rivero, more than 13,000 people of La Montaña have been displaced and there are currently 49 camps where people are taking refuge after their homes were affected by the rains. Furthermore, 31 communities need to be relocated, and 215 – one third of the indigenous communities of La Montaña – have been isolated and unable to communicate since September 14.

Tlachinollan also referred to their current efforts to help the indigenous communities affected by the storms:

At Tlachinollan, we are now all turned to the emergency, doing very different actions, from gathering humanitarian aid to bring to the communities and documenting how state aid is allocated, to opening channels of communication with federal authorities to remind them that this region is a priority as it is already one of the poorest in the country.

September 19 2013

Global Voices Partners with InfoAmazonia

A new form of visualization of Global Voices stories about the Amazon rainforest is now available in the shape of a map of the website Through the established content partnership, Info Amazonia's special interactive map is being updated with the latest citizen media stories by Global Voices about the Amazon in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

The platform, a project by Internews and Brazilian environmental website O Eco [pt], was launched in June 2012 at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. It intends to “help broaden the understanding of the global impact of this important region in the world” by aggregating articles and data on the environmental changes in the Amazon rainforest:

InfoAmazonia logo. Follow them on Twitter for updates: @InfoAmazonia.

Follow InfoAmazonia on Twitter for updates: @InfoAmazonia.

InfoAmazonia provides timely news and reports of the endangered Amazon region. A network of organizations and journalists deliver updates from the nine countries of the forest. The data used will always be freely available for download and will be renewed frequently. The comparison between stories and data aims to improve public’s perception of issues in the Amazon region.

The Amazon region is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, keeping in check climate change by absorbing CO2. Yet in the light of its importance, the region has faced acute environmental challenges.

As Global Voices reported in the special coverage page Forest Focus: Amazon created for the United Nations International Year of Forests (2011):

In the Amazon rainforest region, deforestation impacts around 30 million people and 350 indigenous and ethnic groups. Yet the Amazon, and other forests like it, are fast-becoming major casualties of civilization as growing human populations increasingly threaten these important biomes.

A platform to serve the community

“Use us as a tool”, Project Coordinator and Knight International Journalism Fellow Gustavo Faleiros told Global Voices team when offering to serve the citizen media community in terms of maps and visualization of data in the Amazon:

We want to be your desk of maps and visualization.

We took on the challenge and invited InfoAmazonia to draw us a map with the boundaries of Amazonia Legal for a Global Voices story from last July about the approval of a bill in Brazil that has opened the door to the cultivation of sugar cane for the first time in that area, which comprises the geographical regions of the Amazon forest, the tropical savanna Cerrado, and the swamp land Pantanal.

Five more Global Voices stories have already been mapped in the InfoAmazonia platform since June, representing a step forward for our community on data journalism from Latin America.

InfoAmazonia invites anyone to participate by sharing data, stories and geographic coordinates through the website's submission tool. Existing maps, organized by publisher or categories such as protected areas and indigenous lands, deforestation, oil & gas, among others, can also be embedded in other pages using a sharing widget.

September 10 2013

Indigenous Demand Investigation into Massacre at Nacahuil, Guatemala

San Jose Nacahuil, a small village near Guatemala City with a majority of Maya – Kaqchikel inhabitants, made international headlines during the weekend after gunmen killed 11 people and wounded 28 more on September 7, 2013.

Media reported that corrupt officers or gangs were the main suspects in the killings that took place in two cantinas and nearby streets, but no arrests have been made. The authorities confirmed that they suspect that gangs could be involved [es].

However, indigenous communities are opposing the government's hypothesis and demanding an investigation, as stated in a press release by the Kaqchikel community of San Jose Nacahuil and other organizations:

We are informing the international and the national community of the massacre that occurred on 7 September at 23 hours, against the Kaqchikel community of San Jose Nacahuil, in the municipality of San Pedro Ayampuc.

San José Nacahuil is a community of Indigenous Kaqchikel people, it has its own community authorities, and police presence is unnecessary. It is the only Mayan village and the largest community of San Pedro Ayampuc. Nacahuil has been characterized for defense of its territory against threats outside threats. Examples include TRECCSA, the electricity distribution company, the community prevented its passage, and the ongoing actions in La Puya, where there is a peaceful movement resisting a mining company

The comuniqué continues:

We are strongly opposed to the statement of the Minister of the Interior that blamed gangs, which is completely false. It is premature to make statements without having initiated an investigation.

We call on communities, national and international organizations for solidarity with the Kaqchikel people of San José Nacahuil for these bloody acts that have made the whole community mourn.

Community press from San Jose Nacahuil [es] reported that local leaders denounced increased police presence as early as August 31, 2013, and that their alerts were ignored by human rights authorities. Local reports also indicate that the police asked for names and documents of those present at the cantinas just a few hours before the massacre took place, which was later confirmed by the Ministry of Interior.

On Twitter, user @chapinesxGuate wrote:

Official versions must be questioned until they are confirmed

And reporter Claudia Palma shared the following photo two days after the killings:

Residents of San José Nacahuil walk to local cemetery

As the investigation is pending and no suspects have been arrested, communities wait for answers as fear spreads.

But the inhabitants of the area are no strangers to violence; conflict related to mining has increased in complexity, and aggression has progressed into growing threats and physical violence. As the community struggles to preserve their territory free from mining and militarization, placing the blame on gangs and drug lords poses a new threat to rural and indigenous activists, as it might become an excuse to justify acts of repression.

FrontLine Defenders reported on two recent cases:

During the early morning of 10 July 2013, several shots were fired outside the home of Ms Telma Yolanda Oquelí Veliz del Cid, leader of the Frente Norte del Área Metropolitana (FRENAM – Northern Front of the Metropolitan Area), a movement of community members who defend the land from the expansion of mining activities in San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc, in the Department of Guatemala. The incident happened shortly after the killing of human rights defender Mr Santos Fidel Ajau Suret, as he returned from participating in the peaceful sit-in protests against a mining project at La Puya village.

Rights Action wrote more about the community's resistance to mining:

Since March of 2012, Guatemalan community members from the municipalities of San José del Golfo and San Pedro Ayampuc have demanded the cancellation of the American mining company Kappes Cassidy and Associates’ (KCA’s) exploitation license in the Tambor mountain region (originally owned and operated by Canadian mining company Radius Gold Inc.). Over the past 16 months, participants of the community roadblock have endured often violent and systematic repression organized by the mining company, pro-mining community members and the government.

International Peace Brigades published [es, PDF] a report on peaceful resistance in La Puya, a community which managed to resist the militarization and police control of their village by creating their own police force.

Indigenous organizations have filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) alleging that the Guatemalan government is openly supporting and protecting the mining sector by passing laws which unfairly benefit the industry.

Rights Action expressed its concern that violence and repression to defend the interests of mining companies is becoming the policy to follow in the region:

Over the past few years, in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador alone, there have been multiples murders, numerous armed attacks, gang-rapes, and other acts of repression against local citizens, all linked to Canadian/American mining companies: Hudbay Minerals, Goldcorp Inc, Pacific Rim, Tahoe Resources, Radius Gold, KCA Associates,

This repression and violence is guaranteed to continue, until North American citizens bring enough pressure to bear on our governments, media, companies and investors, to begin to hold them legally and morally accountable for these harms and violations.

August 23 2013

A Disappearing Generation of Indigenous Children in Kerala, India

Kavitha, only one and half years old, died of malnutrition last week, adding to the staggering statistics of the dead tribal children in Attappady, a tribal belt area in Kerala, India with a dense population of indigenous people.

Since the start of 2013, 35 tribal children have died due to malnutrition in Attappady. Many reports in major newspapers across the nation and other media outlets are shedding light on this tragedy happening to one of the most vulnerable sect of India’s population.

Poor health is to blame thanks to the failure of healthcare centers in Attappady to properly care for pregnant tribal women, mothers and babies, leading to infant death, according to a UNICEF report.

Another reason for such sordid state of affairs is mindless development with massive deforestation, throwing the indigenous population out of its traditional comfort zones. Dr. P K Sasidharan, head of Department of Medicine at Kozhikode Medical College, did a pilot study on the issue and has come up with the revelation that massive deforestation (pdf link), growing influence of consumerism and lack of awareness are the major factors behind the health issues in Attappady.

A graphical representation of infant deaths y Noushad GD.

A graphical representation of infant deaths. By Noushad

Rajendra Prasad, editor of Gothrabhumi, a tribal-oriented magazine, told The Hindu newspaper that if this development model is continued, the population of tribal people in Attappady will decrease drastically in two or three generations. An organization of tribal women in Attappady, ‘Thai Kula Sangham’ has claimed that the actual figures of children who have died due to malnutrition is much bigger than what the government has claimed.

Photo by Sivaram V in Attappady

Photo by Sivaram V in Attappady. Used with permission

Even though in India 50 percent of children under three are malnourished according to UNICEF data, in the state of Kerala such stories of child malnourishment are rare due to its model of development and numerous health facilities in the state. The state has one of the lowest infant mortality rate in the country, which is comparable to developed countries: While India’s national average is 44 babies per 1,000, Kerala prides itself on having it a low 16 babies per 1,000. That is why it comes as a shock to many that in Kerala, such a tragedy is occurring due to massive neglect by the changing governments.

To make matters worse, ministers in the current United Democratic Front, led by the Congress Party of India, have come out with outrageous statements blaming the mothers of alcohol abuse and blaming the children of not eating properly. Culture Minister K C Joseph invited controversy when he stated that the consumption of alcoholic drink arrack by expectant tribal mothers was a major cause of death of infants in Attappady adivasi belt.

Rebuking such claims of prevalent alcoholism, Prabhu Das, former chief medical officer of the Kottathara Government Tribal Specialty Hospital and presently deputy district medical officer of Palakkad, who has so far delivered 3,000 babies in the tribal hamlet of Attappady over the past 15 years, said that he has not encountered a single expecting mother consuming alcohol.

Photo by Sivaram V in Attappady

Photo by Sivaram V in Attappady. Used with permission.

Even when many reports by the media have tried to expose the situation, the government continues to have a lackadaisical attitude. This has angered the citizens in the social media.

tUskEr kOmbAns, a blogger and an avide Google Plus user, writes about the general health situation in Attappady:

#ATTAPPADY ഇക്കഴിഞ്ഞ ഒന്നര വര്ഷം കൊണ്ട് മരിച്ചു വീണത് 52 കുഞ്ഞുങ്ങള്. കഴിഞ്ഞ ബുധനാഴ്ച മാത്രം രണ്ടു ശിശു മരണങ്ങള്. മതിയായ ഡോക്ടര്മാര് ഇല്ലാത്തത് കാരണം രോഗികളെ കോഴിക്കോട്ട് ഗവ. മെഡിക്കല് കോളെജിലേയ്ക്ക് കൊണ്ടുപോകേണ്ടി വരുന്ന ഇവിടുന്ന് അവശരായ രോഗികളെ കൊണ്ടുപോകുന്ന വഴിയില് ആംബുലന്സ് പണി മുടക്കി വഴിയില് കിടന്ന് പലരും മരിയ്ക്കുന്നതും നിത്യ സംഭവം. സ്പെഷലിസ്റ്റ് ഡോക്ടര് ആയി ഇവിടെ ആകെ ഒരു ഗൈനക്കോളജിസ്റ്റ് മാത്രമേ ഉള്ളൂ. ഇവിടുത്തെ നിരക്ഷര-ദരിദ്ര നിത്യപട്ടിണിക്കാരുടെ പ്രധാന ആശ്രയമായ കോട്ടത്തറ ഗവ. ട്രൈബല് ആശുപത്രിയില് ഉപയോഗിയ്ക്കുന്നത് ഭവാനിപ്പുഴയില് നിന്ന് നേരിട്ട് പമ്പ് ചെയ്ത് എടുക്കുന്ന കലക്ക വെള്ളമാണ്. ആശുപത്രിയ്ക്ക് വേണ്ടി ശുദ്ധജലം ലഭ്യമാക്കാന് മുറവിളി തുടങ്ങിയിട്ട് കാലം ഏറെയായെങ്കിലും നാളിതുവരെയായി ജലം ശുദ്ധീകരിയ്ക്കാനോ, പാക്ക് ചെയ്ത ശുദ്ധജലം ലഭ്യമാക്കാനോ വേണ്ട യാതൊരു നടപടികളും സര്ക്കാറിന്റെ പക്ഷത്ത് നിന്ന് ഉണ്ടായിട്ടുമില്ല.

Fifty-two children have died in the past one and half years. Due to the lack of doctors, patients are taken to the nearby Kozhikode Medical College hospital. Even then due to the traffic congestion, many of the patients die on the road. There is only one specialist doctor in the Attappady area, which is a gynecologist. Most of the dirt poor people who live in this area use water from Bavani river which is heavily polluted. Even the hospital gets the same water. Nothing has been done by the government to ease the situation.

Sreekanth Nair, also a Google Plus user, is ashamed of the current situation and mocks the much celebrated Kerala model:

ചർച്ചകൾ ഇങ്ങനെ നീണ്ടു പോകാൻ തന്നെയാണ് സാധ്യത , വിദേശ രാജ്യങ്ങൾക്ക് ഒപ്പം ആരോഗ്യ രംഗത്ത് മികവു കാട്ടിയ കേരളത്തിൽ 36 കുട്ടികൾ പോഷക കുറവ് മൂലം മരിക്കുകയോ ?. ആയിരക്കണക്കിന് ഡോക്ടർമാർ ഉള്ള സംസ്ഥാനത്ത് ജോലി ചെയ്യാൻ ആളെ കിട്ടാതെ വരികയോ ?. കോടികൾ ഒഴുക്കുന്ന എമെർജിംഗ് കേരള ഉള്ള നാട്ടിൽ പട്ടിണിയോ ?. നാലാൾ അറിഞ്ഞാൽ കേരളത്തിന്റെ അന്തസ്സ് എവിടെ പോകും ?. ജീവന് വിലയില്ലാത്ത മുപ്പത്തിയാറ് കുട്ടികളെ ഓർത്ത് നാണം കൊണ്ട് തല താഴ്ന്നു പോകുന്നു എന്നതാണ് സത്യം.

Pretty sure the debates are not going to have any conclusions. We used to stand in par with the developed nations and now we have 36 children who died due to malnutrition. There are thousands of doctors in the state but none is working in the Attappady region. Millions of Indian Rupees are spent for developmental programs like Emerging Kerala and there is acute hunger in these hamlets? I am ashamed of myself and this state thinking of those children whose lives have no value in this state.

Kunjaali Kk retorts on a similar post, which lamented the Attappady crisis:

കേരളത്തിൽ അട്ടപ്പാടിയിൽ മരിക്കുന്നതിന്റെ അൻപതിരട്ടി ആളുകൾ വാഹനാപകടങ്ങളിൽ ഓരോ വർഷവും മരിക്കുന്നു, ആശുപത്രികളിൽ സൌകര്യങ്ങൾ ഇല്ലാത്തതിന്റെ പേരിൽ ശരിയായ ചികിത്സ കിട്ടാതെ മരിക്കുന്നു, കൊട്ടേഷൻ ടീമുകൾ ഒരു തെളിവും ബാക്കി വെക്കാതെ ആളുകളെ കൊല്ലുന്നു. ഇതിനെക്കുറിച്ചൊന്നും പറയാത്തതെന്തേ? ഒരു മനുഷ്യന്റെയും ജീവൻ മറ്റൊരാളുടെതിനേക്കാൾ മെച്ചമല്ല, മോശവുമല്ല. അതോ ഇതൊന്നും സർക്കാരിന്റെ ഉത്തരവാദിത്വം അല്ലേ?

അപ്പൊ നമ്മൾ ദീനാനുകമ്പൻ ആകണം എങ്കിൽ അട്ടപ്പാടിയെയും ആദിവാസിയെയും പറ്റി പറഞ്ഞു കരയണം, അതാണ്. വേറെ എന്തൊക്കെ വിഷയങ്ങൾ ഉണ്ടായാലും പുട്ടിന് പീര ഇടുന്ന പോലെ ഇടയ്ക്കിടെ അട്ടപ്പാടി, ആദിവാസി എന്നൊക്കെ പറഞ്ഞു കൊണ്ടേ ഇരിക്കണം.

There are many others, almost 50 times more, dying in different ways in accidents and other ways throughout the year, which is much worse than Attappady. There are patients dying in hospitals due to negligence, there is loan mafia who kill people for mortgages. Why is no one bothered by these deaths? No death is worse of better than others. Aren't these all the government's responsibility too? So, in order to get sympathy, we need to shed some crocodile tears for tribal people and Attappady. That's why even if there are a lot of other things happening, this is the only one topic everybody likes to harp on.

Ramachandran Vettikkat is worried about the moral mindset of the public and writes:

അട്ടപ്പാടിയിലെ മരിച്ച് വീണ കുഞ്ഞുളെ അപഹസിച്ച് കൊണ്ട് ഒരു ഭരണാധികാരി നടത്തിയ പരാമർശം ഒന്ന് മതിയായിരുന്നു തെരുവുകൾ കത്തിയമരാൻ. അവനവന്റെ ജാതിയിലും മതത്തിലും രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തിലും സവർണ്ണത നടിക്കുന്ന ഒരു ജനതയിൽ നിന്ന് ദളിതരുടേയും ആദിവാസികളുടേയും പ്രശ്നങ്ങളിൽ അങ്ങനൊന്ന് പ്രതീക്ഷിക്കാനാവില്ല തന്നെ.

The single instance of what the chief minister has said rebuking the children of Attappady was more than enough for a general outrage in Kerala. But the people are now only concerned about their caste, religion and party politics. No one is even bothered about the tribal population.

Sajith N, an entrepreneur, asks the question on everyone's mind:

Journalist Biju Govind talks about the government's attitude:

A nation needs development and infrastructure. But if it ignores the basic social development issue concerning women and children, and erasing a sect of its valuable indigenous population, how will it compensate for this lost generation?

August 21 2013

Chile's Presidential Campaigns Mum on ‘Mapuche Conflict’

During the past months, Chile's social Web has buzzed as the country's competing political coalitions have vied to win the people's vote for president in the upcoming elections on November 17, 2013. Leading up to Chile's first government-run primary elections on June 30 for the country's two most important political coalitions - New Majority and Alliance for Chile - presidential nominees took on the issues of education, crime, unemployment and gay marriage during several debates in an effort to woo voters.

But notably absent from the debates was any discussion of the unresolved “Mapuche conflict”, the name given to the clashes between the Chilean state and the Mapuche indigenous communities, which have experienced an escalation of deadly violence recently.

The seeming total irrelevance of the conflict in the political scene and in presidential debates has become a source of concern for the public.

The Mapuche indigenous communities have been claiming a series of demands after the return to democracy in 1990, namely jurisdictional autonomy (territorial law) [es], ancestral land recovery and cultural identity. The fight for their ancestral land against  has at times devolved into physical struggles, marked by clashes with police forces.

Website Políticas Públicas (Public Politics) (@cppdi) [es] referred to the absence of the Mapuche issue in the presidential debates of the political coalitions:

Chile. “Mapuche”. A missing topic in the presidential debates of the Concertación (Left) and Right. (“Whatever doesn't make it to front-page news doesn't exist”)

This situation became more notorious as the different candidates presented their concrete proposals.

The live-streamed politics show KenaDieCalle (@Kena dcDieCalle) [es] highlighted:

“It is important to include the Mapuche struggle in the discussion among presidential candidates” says Jorge Arrate on @KenaDieCalle.

Políticas Públicas (@cppdi) [es] also published a picture of the Alliance's former candidate Pablo Longueira, who resigned [es] to his candidacy due to health issues, and questioned:

Elections season: candidates with Mapuche poncho And what are they proposing to fulfill the rights of the indigenous?

Furthermore, actress Blanca Lewin (@blancalewin) [es] quoted Longueira and referred to the law that “strengthens public order guardianship” [es] commonly known as “Hinzpeter Law“, a law that seeks harsher punishments for protesters.

Longueira offered a holiday to celebrate the Mapuche New Year // instead, why don't you refrain from enforcing the Hinzpeter Law?

Caco Saavedra (@Cacosaavedra) [es] shared some photos of the former Alliance candidates, the above-mentioned Pablo Longueira and Andrés Allamand:

Typical of elections season: dressed as a Mapuche and carrying a baby.

And the Mapuche Indigenous account (@MapucheNL) [es] defined “Politicking”:

Politicking is: Lying to the people during the elections, especially when it comes to the Mapuche in Chile

Pedro Cayuqueo (@pcayuqueo) [es], a Mapuche journalist who is currently the director of the news outlets Azkintuwe [es] and Mapuche Times [es] and a columnist in several national and local media, has written constantly about the absence of indigenous issues during the presidential campaign.

In “This hut called Chile” [es], a chronicle published by the national newspaper The Clinic [es] and republished in Azkintuwe, Cayuqueo talks with disappointment about the little importance that's given to the Mapuche people:

Tal vez lo más destacado –y triste a la vez- es que una vez más comprobamos que el tema mapuche no existe en la política nacional. No sin nada quemándose, aclaro. O alguien.

Maybe the most outstanding thing – and the saddest too – is that we once more realize that the Mapuche agenda doesn't exist in national politics. Not unless something is burning, of course. Or someone.

Cayuqueo reasserts this idea through his Twitter account:

Pedro Cayuqueo: “The absence of an indigenous agenda in the presidential campaign has been a complete disappointment”

Foto de Carol Crisosto Cadiz en Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A banner reads “The Mapuche resistance doesn't negotiate.” Photo by Carol Crisosto Cadiz on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The issue was further exacerbated after the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, visited Chile.

At a press conference [es], Emmerson urged the Chilean state to implement a national strategy that addresses the “Mapuche conflict” and to do something about the impunity surrounding the deaths of Mapuche by the military. He also recommended to put an end to the endorsement of the anti-terrorist law because, in his own words: “Chile is not dealing with a significant terrorist threat to its territory”.

The Chilean anti-terrorist law was created during Augusto Pinochet's rule and was widely used during the 17 years of dictatorship. It allows military courts to judge civilians and until recently, it allowed the use of “protected” witnesses whose testimonies were heard and recorded anonymously.

Under the anti-terrorism law, for example, Mapuche activists have faced prison sentences of up to ten years for “arson” or “threats of arson” in land disputes. Human Rights Watch has declared that the “government's recourse to anti-terrorism statutes to deal with organized Mapuche communities has brought restrictions on due process rights that are not justified by the alleged offenses.”

According to Emmerson, the application of the anti-terrorist law “has turned into part of the problem and not the solution”.

The Mapuche Community of Temucuicui [es] from Tirúa county published a statement [es] where they thanked and agreed with Emmerson's vision. Here we underline points 2 and 3:


2. Lo anunciado por el Relator Especial concuerda con lo que la Comunidad Autónoma de Temucuicui ha venido señalando desde hace años: que el uso de la ley antiterrorista sólo pretende criminalizar las justas demandas políticas, culturales y territoriales del Pueblo Nación Mapuche y su aplicación obedece a una práctica de persecución política por parte del Estado Chileno…

3. Cabe señalar que en el territorio mapuche NO HAY TERRORISMO y que los hechos de violencia o delictuales que acusa el Estado de Chile respecto de personas mapuche tienen un trasfondo histórico que nada tiene que ver con temas judiciales. Es el propio estado chileno el que ha generado la violencia mediante la usurpación histórica del territorio mapuche y su reducción a lo que son actualmente las comunidades mapuche.


2. What the Special Rapporteur announced is aligned with what the Temucuicui Autonomous Community has been saying for years: that the enforcement of the anti-terrorist law only serves to criminalize the political, cultural and territorial demands of the Mapuche Nation and its application is actually political persecution by the Chilean State…

3. It is worth noting that there is NO TERRORISM in the Mapuche territory and that the violence and crimes that the State of Chile accuses Mapuches of have a historic background that has nothing to do with judicial affairs. It is the same Chilean state that has generated such violence with the historic encroachment of the Mapuche territory and its reduction to what are now know as Mapuche communities.

August 19 2013

Guatemalan Indigenous People Hold Peaceful Protests

As part of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Guatemalan indigenous people held peaceful protests around the country to demand that their rights be respected.

Cultural Survival reported on the peaceful protests which were held on August 9, 2013:

The general sentiment of the protests as sited by Indigenous leader Paulina Culum, was that they were “against the injustice, inequality, and corruption that have plagued [Indigenous] communities in Guatemala over the last 500 years, and continue to do so today”.

Among the extensive list of legal initiatives and requests that were purported during the protests, was the community radio movement’s bill 4087, which proposes the legalization of community radio in the country.

August 14 2013

August 07 2013

July 16 2013

Honduran Indigenous Leader Killed

This is a story of exploitation of Honduras’ natural resources, and of popular opposition to their destructive effects, largely ignored outside activist media outlets.

RAJ in Honduras Culture and Politics blogs about the murder of Tomás García, an indigenous Lenca COPINH (Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras) leader. COPINH has been demonstrating against the construction of a dam by a Chinese company.

June 30 2013

Brazilian Tribe Opens Indigenous Education Center

[All links lead to Portuguese-language pages unless otherwise noted.]

An education center created by the Paiter-Surui [en] tribe in the Brazilian Amazon that will offer professional courses to the area's indigenous has finally opened.

The Paiter-Surui Cultural Training Center was launched in June 2013 and will offer technical and professional courses to the Paiter-Surui and other indigenous groups of the Amazon with a special focus on environmental preservation. In anticipation of the opening, the group published a video in March 2013 announcing it:

Local indigenous peoples will have the opportunity to take courses in law, job creation and revenue and mapping, which will last two years. Classes will be daily, consisting of both theoretical and practical applied components. Although enrollment will not be unlimited, the Surui expect each course to enroll around 30 students.

The Paiter-Surui Formation Center is awaiting for formal approval from the Brazilian Minister of Education to start running its classes.

The Paiter-Surui tribe have faced a number of struggles since first contact with outsiders in 1969. Road construction invaded their land and disease devastated the population, reducing their population from 5,000 to around 290 individuals as the tribe chief affirmed in a video interview. More recently, the community has responded to threats of mining and illegal logging on their territory.

They hope a cluster of buildings will grow to serve as the site of the future Paiter-Surui Indigenous University of Brazil, the first of its kind in the country. According to Chief Narayamoga Almir, the leader of the Surui people:

Inicialmente os cursos serão destinados apenas para os indígenas, porém já estamos construindo uma Política Pedagógica do Centro, para que esses cursos sejam estendidos para toda a sociedade.

Initially, courses will be only open to indigenous individuals, but we are also building an Educational Policy Center so that these courses can be extended to all of society as a whole.

Leaders of the Surui people and representatives from partner organizations as the Amazon Preservation Team (Equipe de Conservação da Amazônia or ECAM, in Portuguese) and the Association of Ethno-Environmental Protection Kanindé traveled to the Indigenous University of Venezuela [en] in May 2013 to learn how the model could be replicated in their own country. The Indigenous University of Venezuela, a public university created in 2010, is situated on 5,000 acres of rainforest in southern Venezuela and serves students [en] from many different ethnic groups.

A building of the Paiter-Surui Formation Center in Cacoal, future site of planned indigenous university. (Photo by Rachael Petersen)

A building of the Paiter-Surui Formation Center in Cacoal, future site of planned indigenous university. Photo by Rachael Petersen.

The Association of Ethno-Environmental Protection Kanindé wrote:

Já temos muitos indígenas fazendo curso superior nas faculdades e universidades espalhadas pelo Estado, mas com uma universidade indígena vamos fortalecer a relação dos índios com a terra e a natureza, já que o conteúdo vai valorizar a cultura dos indígenas.

We have many indigenous people doing courses in colleges and universities through the state [of Rondônia], but with an indigenous university we will strengthen the relationship of indigenous peoples with land and nature, because the content will bolster their culture.

The Indigenous University could be one more success in a long line of innovative approaches to development. Led by Chief Almir Surui, the Paiter-Surui people have gained international attention [en] for their visionary 50-year management plan for the sustainable development of their people and natural resources. The plan includes a scheme to sell carbon credits [PDF] from avoided deforestation, money which would be re-invested in the community. In June 2013, they became the first indigenous group to gain certification [en] for their carbon project under two emerging carbon market standards.

The video below explains how they partnered with Google Earth [en] and other organizations to use digital technology to map deforestation on their territory. You can also download a cultural map of their lands here to view on Google Earth.

They hope this new university will help indigenous peoples reconnect with traditional values and their lands. To get connected with the Surui, like the Associação Metareilá Facebook page or check out their blog.

June 25 2013

Indigenous Land in Panama Sold to Developers

“They said they would make a program to help people, but they really wanted our signatures to sell [the land]. They lied to us and now we have realized this,”


Chinese Social Web Slams Local Dog Meat Festival

The annual dog meat festival in China’s southwestern city of Yulin in Guangxi province opened on June 21, 2013 amid strong outcry online, with some calling for a boycott of the event.

Weeks before the “food carnival” in which thousands of dogs would be brutally slaughtered to be served in restaurants across the city, some animal rights activists and pet lovers even appealed to the United States White House petition page in a hope to stop the dog eating festivity. The move fell short, failing to get 100,000 signatures, which is the threshold of getting an official response.

Feasting on dog meat is a summer solstice tradition for many residents in this city of six million. Its popularity is best described by a regional proverb— “the smell of dog meat is so strong, even the god won't last for long” . Locals believe the delicacy gives eaters strength and energy.

Dogs to be cooked( Open Source)

Dogs to be cooked in Yulin ( Open Source)

Efforts to curb the tradition of consuming dog meat have been successful in the past. In 2011, an online campaign forced local government to do away with a 600-year-old tradition of dog meat festival in Jinhua city of China's eastern Zhejiang province.

However, little change seemed to be on the horizon for Yulin. In the city, an estimated 10,000 dogs are killed every year during the festival. That many are beaten to death, frayed and cooked on the spot has galvanized animal protection groups, which reject such a tradition as inhuman and unsafe.

Media reports also said many dogs are strays or abducted from pet owners, and they are usually stored in cramped conditions where diseases can easily spread among dogs.

While a large number of netizens took to the Internet to voice their disgust over the practice, many locals defended their custom and dog-eating culture.

“Eating dog meat is a eating habit in the society, it's not illegal and has nothing to do with morality”, a local was quoted as saying by state news agency Xinhua.

The intensive bickering online over dog-eating takes place against a backdrop of increasing pet ownership in the country. It also underscores a greater consciousness of animal rights among the general public.

Yang Yiyan lamented on popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo:


We don’t need such a low and despicable local custom and culture! I firmly support the cancellation of Guangxi Yulin [Lizhi dog meat festival] !!

Echoing the same sentiment, Zhang Kexin wrote:

今天,2013年6月21日,广西玉林将举办“荔枝狗肉节”;届时,大批的狗在遭受苦难后将被 “活”杀!成为当地人的美食…;我们做了?我们什么也没有做? 文明、道德、善良、生命价值观离我们近了?还是远了? 但是,我们将永远记住——一个杀戮和血腥的日子和一个罪恶的城市!!

Today, June, 21 2013, Yulin of Guangxi will hold the “Lizhi dog meat festival”. Massive numbers of dogs will be tortured and killed by then! They will become local cuisine…; What did we do? We did nothing [to stop it]? Civilization, morality, kindness, value of life, are they closer to us or more further away? But let us remember this–A massacre and bloody day and a sinful city!!!

Meiri Maogou Youyue mourned the dogs that would be killed for the tradition:

6月21号!就在今天#玉林荔枝狗肉节#正是开幕】就在今天将有上万条生命要被残忍的杀害!就在今天玉林这个没有爱的城市将被血染!就在今天玉林的“好”名声将响彻国内外! 我们什么都做不了,请大家默默地为今天死去的上万只狗点上根蜡烛。

June 21, it’s today #Yulin Lizhi Dog meat festival opens today. Thousands of lives will be slaughtered brutally today! The Yulin city without love will be inundated by blood! Yulin’s “good reputation” will be heard across the globe! We will do nothing today but to light candles for thousands of dogs that are killed today.

But Xiaoying Tongxue had a more nuanced view, writing that eating dog meat isn't necessarily wrong, but inhumane slaughter practices are:


I am determined not to eat dog meat, but I will never criticize those who do so, everyone has his or her preferences, as long as you don’t break the law, you can’t say [eating dog meat] is wrong, [I only] hope that the way of slaughtering dogs will be more humane.

June 13 2013

Peru: Four Years Since the Indigenous Protests in Bagua

June 5 marked the passage of 4 years since the “Baguazo“–the protest [es] of indigenous communities against certain legislative rulings that the government of the then president Alan García promulgated as part of the adaptation of Peruvian laws to the Peru-United States Trade Promotion Agreement.

While the beginning of the protests dates back to October 2007, it was in April 2009 when the protests became more intense, faced with the government's lack of intention to repeal the rulings that the indigenous peoples considered an attack on the property rights of their lands.

Finally, on June 5, 2009, the government sent the police to clear the area known as “devil's curve”, where the indigenous people were protesting. The operation ended with 23 police officers dead and an uncertain number of indigenous people dead, estimated to be between 9 and 40, along with about 155 civilians wounded.

These four years come in the midst of uncertainty regarding the legal status [es] of the 53 indigenous people accused of the deaths of 12 police officers, along with those of the family members of a police officer [es] that they still consider missing, in spite of the fact that a court declared [es] him deceased. They also come in the midst of the astonishment that still arises from knowing that not a single political authority has been made responsible [es] for what happened.

Bagua resiste

Image from Cyberjuan on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Rolando Luque Mogrovejo, Deputy Ombudsman for the Prevention of Social Conflicts and Governability, Office of the Ombudsman, wonders [es] on the blog of the Ombudsman about the relationship between the state and the ethnic groups that were protesting in that moment. He also points out that no one asked these people about the rules that would impact their lives, in spite of the fact that the Ombudsman had given warnings, 14 months earlier, of the growing severity of the conflict.

Se puede entrever elementos de menosprecio que menoscabaron su condición de interlocutores; un afán desmedido por ubicar las inversiones en el lugar más alto de la escala de valores; y, ciertamente, el viejo problema de creer que las políticas y hasta el sentido de la historia del Perú se irradian desde Lima, ignorando la complejidad y el vigor con que discurren los procesos sociales y políticos locales.

Así como hay autoridades en la centralidad del poder también hay apus en las comunidades. El Estado democrático debe tener tiempo para hablarles de tú y vos.

You can make out elements of disdain that undermined their role as representatives; a disproportionate eagerness for placing the investments on the highest spot of the value scale; and, certainly, the old problem of believing that the policies and even the essence of Peru's history came from Lima, ignoring the complexity and the vigor with which the local social and political processes are carried out.

Just as there are authorities in the central area of power, there are also apus (leaders) in the communities. The democratic state should have time to talk to them personally.

Santiago García de la Rasilla Domínguez S.J., Bishop and Vicar Apostolic of S. Francisco Javier de Jaén, reflects [es] on the blog Yo soy Bagua (I am Bagua) on the hope for justice that the indigenous communities continue to have and the injustice that he sees in the process following the events in Bagua:

No puede ser que los únicos culpables se encuentren entre los indígenas y que las autoridades del gobierno y de la policía de entonces hayan quedado limpios de polvo y paja o a lo más con una sanción administrativa. No puede ser que los únicos todavía “encarcelados”, aunque se diga que dos de ellos están con arresto domiciliario, sean tres indígenas a quienes no les han probado los delitos de los que les acusan. No puede ser que se pida cadena perpetua o condenas gravísimas para quienes, según todos los testigos, su único delito fue reclamar unos derechos y luego tratar de impedir que se derramara sangre inocente en ambos bandos.

It cannot be that the only guilty ones are found among the indigenous peoples and that the authorities from the government and the police of that time have gotten off scot-free, or at the most with an administrative penalty. It cannot be that the only ones who are still “incarcerated”, even though it is said that two of them are under house arrest, are three indigenous people who haven't even had the crimes they are accused of proven. It cannot be that they are asking for a life sentence or serious sentences against those whose only crime, according to all the witnesses, was demanding a few rights and then trying to keep innocent blood from being spilled on both sides.

On the site Enlace Nacional (National Link) they interviewed [es] Maricamen Gómez Calleja, also a missionary from the Vicariate of San Francisco Javier de Jaén, “who started the ‘Yo soy Bagua’ (‘I am Bagua') campaign that looks not only to remember what happened 4 years ago, so that it doesn't happen again, but also to find justice for the innocent accused people”:

A topic related to Bagua is that of the prior consultation [es], a legal mechanism that various sectors saw necessary after what happened. Nevertheless, just as Emma Gómez points out [es] on the blog of the magazine Bajo la Lupa (Under the Magnifying Glass), there are some worrying facts: news of exempting 14 mining projects from the consultation process, and backward steps for the publication of the database of indigenous peoples:

Esto devela que el actual Gobierno sigue sin entender el derecho a la consulta en su real dimensión y lo sigue viendo como un obstáculo para la inversión. Los logros a la fecha han sido más formales que reales y las demandas de los pueblos indígenas siguen sin ser atendidas, agudizando en muchos casos las situaciones de tensión en todo el territorio nacional. Además se han dado declaraciones de ex autoridades y del propio sector empresarial que han señalado que la ley de consulta atrasa las inversiones (1) o que han considerado que la ley es “una trampa en la que se ha metido el Estado”.

This reveals that the current government still does not understand the right to consultation in its real dimension, and it continues to see it as an obstacle to investment. The achievements so far have been more formal than real and the demands of the indigenous people continue to be ignored, worsening in many case the tense situations in the whole national territory. There have also been declarations from ex-authorities and from the business sector itself that have pointed out that the law of consultation delays investment (1) [es] or that have considered the law to be “a trap that the State has gotten itself into”.

On the other hand, Ricardo Marapi Salas wonders [es] on Spacio Libre: “Does the risk exist that the Bagua massacre could be repeated?”

Las condiciones sociales, políticas y económicas siguen siendo similares a la de hace cuatro años. Sin embargo hay que reconocer que Humala no es García. Éste último hizo todo lo posible para expresar su desprecio hacia el destino o la misma existencia de los pueblos indígenas. Las políticas interculturales prácticamente no existieron durante su gobierno. La indiferencia de García y sus ministros frente al gran malestar indígena que se venía gestando en Bagua, son una clara evidencia. Humala no es García pero a veces prefiere gobernar siguiendo la inercia de su predecesor y en estos últimos meses no ha mostrado medidas decisivas para revertir aquellas condiciones políticas y sociales que devinieron en la masacre de Bagua. Es la gran deuda que aún sigue cargando.

The social, political and economic conditions are still similar to what they were four years ago. Nevertheless, we must recognize that Humala is not García. García did everything possible to express his disdain for the fate or the existence itself of the indigenous peoples. The intercultural policies practically did not exist during his government. The indifference of García and his ministers towards the great indigenous unrest that had been developing in Bagua is clear evidence of this. Humala is not García but sometimes he prefers to govern following the inertia of his predecessor and in these last months he hasn't shown decisive measures for changing those political and social conditions that led to the Bagua massacre. It is a great debt that still burdens him.

In Bagua the people commemorated [es] the four years since the Baguazo, and in the native community of Wawas the Awajún natives enjoyed food from a shared pot. In Yurimaguas there was a large demonstration [es] led by indigenous leaders, which other organizations joined and in which they chanted phrases such as “No to the criminalization of social protest!”.

In Lima there was a vigil [es] held in front of the Palace of Justice on the night of June 4, organized by the group “Yo soy Bagua” (“I am Bagua”), and made up of civil society organizations along with members of the Awajún and Wampís peoples.

On Youtube the user Bagua zo uploaded this video of an intervention on the sidewalk in front of the Palace of Justice.

During the vigil that took place in Lima, the previously mentioned group Yo soy Bagua (I am Bagua) expressed [es] its commitment to fighting for the justice of the indigenous people. One of them says:

3. En el Perú, la Amazonía representa más del 60% del territorio nacional, colocando al país como uno de los ocho países mega diversos; en ella, existe milenariamente una gran diversidad cultural que requiere un desarrollo con rostro humano; nos comprometemos, junto con las poblaciones que la habitan, a cuidar este pulmón de la única casa común que tenemos.

3. In Peru, the Amazon makes up more than 60% of the national territory, making the country one of the eight megadiverse countries. In it, there has existed for thousands of years a great cultural diversity that requires development with a human face. We are committed, along with the people who inhabit it, to caring for this lung of the only shared house that we have.

Original post published on the blog Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.
Photo of the vigil on June 4, 2013, by Yo Soy Bagua on Facebook, used with permission.

May 30 2013

VIDEO: Brazil's Police Intimidate Indigenous

Video [Audio and subtitles in Portuguese] recorded by the native Paygomuyatpu Mundurukku shows soldiers of the National Force verbally intimidating his tribe on the area of Belo Monte dam.

Screenshot/Video Ocupa Belem


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