CAGJ, WA Fair Trade Coalition and our supporters successfully met with the Peruvian Consul in Seattle on Friday, June 12th, to highlight the recent massacre of unarmed civilians and violent clashes with police that occurred on June 5th in Peru. We had a strong contingent, who presented the Consul with a letter we had signed expressing our concerns, which the Consul promised to deliver to the Peruvian government. We have organized a follow-up action with WA Fair Trade Coalition:
Join us Wednesday June 24, 4 – 5pm
Outside Rep. McDermott’s office in downtown Seattle: 1809 7th Ave.
We will tell our elected Representative: “You passed Peru and people died. No more NAFTA-style trade agreements!” Join us in asking Rep. McDermott to stand up for human rights, free speech, and fair trade, by denouncing the violence in Peru and the Peru “free” trade agreement that enabled it. Peruvians groups have also designated June 24 as a national day of action in response to weak government response around the violence – together we can make it an international day of action!
The recent violence against indigenous peoples in Peru is an example of how dangerous certain provisions of NAFTA-style Free Trade Agreements – including the Peru FTA – are when they enable governments to single-handedly change local laws without congressional oversight (as happened in this case with reference to laws protecting the rainforest, changed by the government to reclassify this land and open it up to drilling and other destructive processes).
We want our elected officials to denounce the violence, as well as the NAFTA-style provisions that enabled it to occur. We call upon them to oppose pending NAFTA-style FTAs including those with Panama, Colombia, and Korea, and to support fair trade policy that protects all people and our planet, by co-sponsoring the TRADE Act.
McDermott is someone who is often very supportive of human rights and, in particular, the right to free speech. Thus, he is likely to be sympathetic to suffering of the Peruvian indigenous people. However, he is also hesitant to oppose the NAFTA model – thus, he is a good target to approach with these linked issues, and to ask him to seriously consider the implications of the trade policies that he often supports.
“We do not accept the kind of ‘development’ that the president offers us, because it is not sustainable and it threatens the Amazon rainforest, which is humanity’s heritage. For that reason, if the government insists on sidelining us and continues to refuse to overturn the decrees, we will no longer block roads but will instead draw our own limits to establish how far into our territories we will allow the authorities to come. Our territory is our market, our mother. We don’t have supermarkets like people in the big cities. We have to track and hunt down animals for two or three days, and find our food in the jungle. Everything we need for our survival is in the rainforest. That’s why we are defending it with our lives. The struggle will continue until the laws are gone. We’ll shut down oil extraction, and stop cooperating. What happens next is up to the government” – Salomón Aguanash, President of the Regional Committee for the Struggle for the Respect of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights