AIDESEP Press Release:

In the face of the hearing (Audiencia de Control de la Acusación Fiscal) scheduled to be held in the Bagua Transitory Penal Courtroom this coming March 7th in regards to the prosecutor’s request for perpetual imprisonment of 54 indigenous leaders in the Bagua case” the Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon – AIDESEP” made up of 1500 Amazonian communities grouped in 67 federations and nine regional organizations” would like to express the following:

1. We regret that – through the criminal processes deriving from the peaceful Amazon-wide mobilizations in 2008 and 2009 – the Public Ministry has been turned into a machine of accusations against our Amazonian indigenous leaders” for whom they are requesting up to PERPETUAL IMPRISONMENT without any just criteria. Instead they are persecuting to persecute with forged evidence to convict for non-existent crimes. This unjust attitude leads us to believe that the faulty “policies” of criminalizing social protest have not changed and that these agents of “justice” are trying to whack our leaders” leaving in impunity those in the State who are responsible for the massacre and genocide at Bagua in 2009.

2. AIDESEP characterizes as UNACCEPTIBLE and ARBITRARY the way in which the judicial process has been carried out” in addition to the incongruences” contradictions” and lack of fundamental objectives of the prosecution that has in reality the sole intention of evading the real responsibility for the authors of the genocide of Bagua. For them” the prosecution is criminalizing the just indigenous protests of 2009 and ends up defending the interests of the racist authors of the “Dog in the Manger” (perro del hortelano) theory who are connected to the extractive industry invasion of the Amazon and who continue developing coordinated strategies with other powers in order to negate a central element of democracy: the right that all citizens have to free and peaceful protest.

3. Within this whole process” the people truly responsible for the lamentable actions in Bagua have not been taken into consideration – such as ex-President Alan Garcia” ex Primer Minister Yehude Simon and the ex-Minister of Interior Mercedes Cabanillas” in addition to the generals who executed the orders to massacre with the worst operation imaginable. So great is the protection of the Peruvian justice system of those Alanista racist operators that they have omitted a request for the functionaries who decided to carry out the operation on June 5 2009″ the worst and most twisted measure to “re-establish public order”. This would have been important to corroborate if they did or did not have knowledge of the community’s decision to end the roadblock and return to their lands on June 5th. If they had such knowledge” they should have asked themselves” “What was the reason or what was the desired outcome of the police violence if the indigenous peoples had decided to pull back? Who gave the order for the eviction? Was it Alan Garcia himself or ex-Minister Cabanillas? Why did the former head of International Trade” Mercedes Aráoz” lie when she said that if the Executive Orders were annulled that the FTA with the US would be cancelled” feeding a climate of violence? All of these State functionaries should not only be charged with a “political responsibility” but also should be criminally sanctioned by the institutions of justice given the violence they baited with their erroneous decisions and lies. We hereby declare that we won’t permit our leaders to once again be subject to unjust sentences” like this perpetual imprisonment” that go against the constitutional order.

4. For this reason indigenous communities from the province of Amazonas – from the five watersheds of the region: Cenepa” Marañón” Santiago” Chiriaco” and Nieva – are mobilizing toward the city of Bagua to express their rejection of the decision to attempt to sanction our peoples for exercising the free right to protect against the destruction of our territories’ forests. At the same time” they will initiate a vigil starting on the 6th of March in Bagua to show that indigenous peoples are nonviolent and that what happened four years ago was a product of racist political decisions geared toward selling off the Amazon.

5. We also send out a call to our federations and regional organizations to stand vigilant in the face of this new attempt to silence us; to the sister organizations of civil society that work as allies to indigenous people to be in solidarity with the accused indigenous leaders” helping avoid that they are sentenced to perpetual imprisonment” as the prosecution malevolently intends.

Finally” AIDESEP makes a call out to the government of Ollanta Humala that they don’t just mechanically inherit the racist crimes of the Alan Garcia government in 2009″ that they don’t criminalize protest” that they build bridges as to not generate more social conflicts. The Amazon region doesn’t need more repression; instead it needs solutions to the outstanding territorial” environmental” and economic demands” in addition to the free determination for “Full Life” for its peoples.

Lima” February 28 2013

AIDESEP National Steering Council

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