Peru: Indigenous People declaring the real state of emergency

by May 13, 2009

(Updated: June 5) On May 9, 2009, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the regions of Loreto, Amazonas, Cusco, and Ucayali--where thousands of indigenous people have mobilized against several new laws that threaten to strip away their indigenous land rights.

In effect, the state of emergency (SoE) is a "declaration of war" against "those who seek to change the course of history," says Roger Rumrrill: A license for the government to violently repress Indigenous People.

The real state of emergency

One day before the SoE was announced, AIDESEP, the National Organization of the Amazon Indigenous people of Peru, and several other key indigenous and peasant organizations pledged unanimously to "radicalize" the mobilization, which is backed by more than 1200 communities.

They say it is the only thing they could do to "resolve the mobilization," since the government refuses to act responsibly and repeal the laws in question.

As far as needs and rights go, this is the real state of emergency in Peru right now. Indeed, the mobilization isn't some "misinformed" adventure as the government would have us believe---as if the needs and rights of Indigenous people can be relegated to mere provender, and then tossed aside for the "greater good" of foreign bank accounts.

No, the mobilization is a struggle for life itself. And it is one that will continue no matter what rhetoric or violence the government puts out during their own State of Emergency.


What You Can Do

1. Join the Solidarity with Peru group on Facebook

2. Send a Message to the President of Peru (additional contacts) asking him to:

  • Repeal the Free Trade Laws that allow oil, logging, and agricultural corporations easy entry into indigenous territories
  • Suspend the State of Emergency and suppression of peaceful protests
  • Respect indigenous peoples' constitutionally guaranteed rights to self-determination, to their ancestral territories, and to prior consultation
  • Enter into good faith process of dialogue with indigenous peoples to resolve this conflict

Peru Mobilization Updates (As of June 5)

  • Windtalker
    May 14, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    This is sad news but the indigenous people of Peru are under my wing what ever wrongs are done to them will be reflected back at the senders ten fold.I am confused and surprised by the president of Peru i thought he defended the poor and the oppressed so what the heck is going on out there?careful what you do Alan Garcia when the government of Venezuela attacked their own civilians recently at a protest there was an earthquake when the Brazilian government sided with big business over the people their were great floods when Ecuador sided with oil corporations the red tide came cease and desist your attacks on the tribal peoples of the lands for nature sides with them not big business leave the tribes alone send in mediators end this peacefully or your infrastructure will be in ruins peaceful ends not bloodshed i worry for you out there if you do not PEACE!!Peace in Peru this is what i pray for as i hope you all pray for peace for the nature spirits and the earth will not tolerate war.PEACE!!


  • Maria
    June 2, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for your great coverage of these events in Peru!


  • June 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Hey no problem Maria. And thank you for commenting :D


    June 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    There is much support for the indigenous people of Peru here in Peru. There is little love for President Garcia.

    However, the power in Peru resides with the government under a constitution which was revised during Fujimori's reign (yes, the one in prison for human rights abuses). Garcia is a neo-liberal and his fat belly tells a story. He is selling the country from under the feet of the people. And who's getting fat on these riches? Certainly not the campesinos, the workers, the indigenous or the poor.

    The ruling oligarchy is raking in money without a thought to what is happening to the country and its people. Why is the ideology of neo-liberalism not castigated the way other ideologies are? Because it is the ideology of the global rich. La lucha continua! The indigenous people of Peru need people in the US to join the fight!


  • stan squires
    June 7, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I am from vancouver,canada and i heard on the cbc radio news about the military attack of the gov. of Peru against the native people.The people of Peru needs a gov. like the people of Venezuela and Bolivia got.The present gov.of Peru is corupt and is backed up by the United States gov.If it wasn't for the USA backing up these reactionary govs.the people of Peru would have no trouble getting rid of their bad gov.Anyway im sure the people of Peru will eventually get rid of the gov. like the people of Venezuela and Bolivia did in their countries.The people of South America are gradually getting rid of the influence of the american gov.Keep up the good work.

    Stan Squires


    • Bruno
      November 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

      Dude get a life! You sound so weird. US has no control over S.A countries, get your facts right. Have you been to Peru? Do you really understand the situation? Yes there are major problems there, but don't start pointing fingers at us.

    • x234
      January 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      The people of Peru seriously do not need a Hugo Chavez or an Evo Morales communist government. Those two are pro Indian and no one else. That's what those two have in common. if Peru ever gets someone like that in power, which they came close in the past elections with Ollanta Humala, the country will go to the craphole and all the progress they have done will go to sh%*t from an Indian communist president that will want to mess up the country like Chavez and Morales. I'm guessing either your a person with Indian decent or pro Indian. one of the two, and want someone like that in power for the sake of yourself rather than the progression of the country as a whole. I'm glad Alan Garcia is not like this. In order for them too come out into the first world, as how the economy in Peru is growing more and more, I think indigenous people are a setback and will not help. Look at countries such as Argentina and Chile. What do they have in common? They do don't dwell on preserving the indigenous because they know it's a setback. Indians in general from my experience do not like progression. Alot of people agree on this but don't have the guts to admit it. I just did and people like you need to hear it.

    • January 27, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Thanks for commenting, x234.

      I can understand your concerns, but let's be clear. Morales and Chavez aren't that different from any other President. In fact, aside from a few moral imperatives, the only major difference is that they're not conforming to the will of Washington.

      And they've definitely made Indigenous People a priority; but they're not the only priority, as if Morales and Chavez are doing "anything" for them no matter how harmful it is to the rest of the country. If you do some research you'll find that this just isn't the case. It's more accurate to say they're agenda simply puts people and the environment before industry. That's progress in my eyes.

      In any case, European/North American States have been cannibalizing Latin America for the past five hundred years; so it's not outlandish that people like Morales would rise up and be democratically elected. Simply put, people are sick and tired of being sacrificed for the progress that you're talking about.

      They want something "more". And if something comes along and it shows promise---it should be allowed to flourish even if it runs contrary to our belief and perception of how the world works. After all, x234, a market economy is not the centre of the universe. We are. Indigenous people are living proof of this, since they can maintain a good quality of life without a market economy and without needing to sacrifice others.

      They should be allowed to keep developing themselves in their own way. It's up to Nation States to find a way to come to terms with that in much the same way that the United States once had to learn that slavery is wrong. Of course, most states would rather just extinguish Indigenous People so their "favored majority" can benefit (and becasue it vincidates them from their histroy of colonial barbarism).

      I guess what I'm trying to say is, this isn't so black and white. It's also pretty clear that the capitalist system, like the communist system, doesn't work. It's time for something different, something that respects life rather than diminishes it. You may not like Chavez or Morales but they are trying to do that.

      I only hope that others rise up to do the same. Otherwise, well, "civilization" will keep going down the same old road that leads to a cliff.

  • Manuel Castro
    June 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    I also appreciate your coverage of these events in Peru.
    In Lima there are scarce and malicious handlings of information.
    Today we do not know the number of dead Indians, but they speak of policemen dead.
    The President García has a past genocidal when he lost control of the criminal Fronton.
    Not it would be unusual for this time sacrificed some policemen, just to get some benefit.
    This case reminds me of Geronimo and nort Americans Native.
    Here a short video.


  • Rev. Rex RB Reyes, Jr.
    June 8, 2009 at 7:23 am

    From the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, across the Pacific, we are outraged by the repression of indigenous peoples in Peru and the killing of peace-loving indigenous peoples. I am an indigenous person and I know that indigenous people everywhere defend the future race when they defend the land especially against corporate greed. I reach out to my sisters and brothers in Peru. Hold on! Hold fast! We too are holding on in this part of the world. Together, we will fight any wanton destruction of our ancestral homes, not for us but for those after us.

    To the leaders in my country and Peru - NOT EVERYTHING ON THIS EARTH IS FOR SALE! One day you will reap the fruits of your callousness and irresponsibility!


  • Kent Keesecker
    June 12, 2009 at 11:13 pm



  • schoolkidGR6
    June 20, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I'm in grade 6
    and we're doing a topic on this issue at school
    i was surprise that these thing are still happening ,now! in the 21st century!
    it's horrible! there's enough happening all across the world to do with global warming and other un-righteous things without this situation added to it
    globally-eveyy single person who heard or read about this will be sure to support the indigenous people of peru !
    i pray for all the indigenous people who have been or who's ancester have been stripped of their rights to be heard,to speak .........


  • June 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Thanks for commenting, schoolkid.

    I'm glad to hear you're all talking about this. It really is surprising to see, but in many ways the world hasn't changed from the way it was, hundreds of years ago. Some things are much better, but terrible things still happen because some of us haven't learned from the past, and because some people just don't care. It's happening in your country too, but it's different from what's happened in Peru. It's still tragic. If only these governments would stop forcing us to do things we don't want to do.


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