Over 30 Adults and 3 Children Shot from Helicopter and Rooftops, Hundreds Injured! MANY MISSING!


""The police were shooting to kill, but that's not all, because they hid the dead," one man told the BBC.

"They took them to the ravine and threw them from the helicopter in plastic bags. There are also dead on the river banks. Up there beyond the hill, there are more, as if it were a common grave."


Why: On Friday, Peru's police forces began what the the Vice President of the UN Indigenous Forum has termed a "massacre" of Peruvian indigenous people engaged in a nonviolent blockade of a road outside of Bagua, in a remote area of northern Peruvian Amazon. Several thousand indigenous peoples were forcibly dispersed by tear gas and real bullets.

Since April 9th communities throughout the Peruvian Amazon have been protesting new laws that usher in an unprecedented wave of extractive industries-, expanding logging, oil drilling, mining, and destructive agriculture into the Amazon Rainforest. President Alan Garcia's government passed these laws under "fast track" authority he had received from the Peruvian congress to make laws to facilitate implementation of the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement.

Over 30,000 indigenous people have taken to blockading roads, rivers, and railways to demand the repeal of these new laws that allow oil, mining and logging companies to enter indigenous territories without seeking prior consultation or consent. The protests have led to disruptions of transport as well as the interruption of oil production.

Indigenous peoples are the guardians of the Amazon rainforest. As one of the Earth's largest tropical rainforests, the Amazon plays a critical role in safeguarding the global climate. Its destruction releases massive amounts of global warming gases into the atmosphere, worsening climate change.

As the largest municipal user of rainforest wood in North America, New York City bears direct responsibility in this crisis. Peru is the largest exporter of rainforest woods like ipe. Logging of tropical hardwoods, which creates access roads that facilitate land clearing for agriculture, is the single greatest contributing factor to the destruction of tropical rainforests.

While in office, Governor Pataki, without the consent of the state legislature, signed an agreement committing New York State procurement to abide by the rules of subsequent free trade agreement ratified by the US. When the New York City council attempted to pass a bill outlooking the use of wood from endangered forests, the mayor vetoed the law, arguing that a prior state law preempts city action on this issue. Unfortunately, the very weak state bill still allows the importation of Peruvian rainforest wood. New attempts to restrict purchasing of Peruvian rainforest wood for government use can now be challenged as violations of the Peru Free Trade Agreement, which prohibits consideration of environmental and human rights factors in considering bids from Peruvian companies for state and municipal purchasing

In December 2007, Congressional Democratic leadership joined with Republicans to pass the Peru Free Trade Agreement, despite opposition from a majority of House Democrats. 10 out of 13 of New York City's House Reps and both New York Senators voted for the agreement despite warnings from environmentalists, human rights observers and indigenous representatives that the passage of the agreement would lead to violence and irreparable damage to the Amazon rainforest.

Democratic leadership has cited the Peru Agreement as "a model agreement", based on a series of negotiated, reforms to the agreement's text known as the "May 10th Bipartisan Trade Agreement." Activists charge that the May 10th agreement failed to address important human rights and environmental concerns. They urge legislators to oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement, another trade agreement negotiated by the Bush administration and modified by the May 10th agreement, fearing a repeat of the violence and ecological destruction wrought by the Peru Free Trade Agreement.
For more info contact me or Adam at
 sowmya@wetlands-preserve.org ( 516 974 7752 )