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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 05:10 AM
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Time to Strengthen Ties with Peru
By James Polk
Foreign Policy In Focus
Apr 25, 2009

... This year, peaceful civil disobedience actions have also increased in number. In January, Peruvian farmers went on a three-day strike over water issues. On January 15, the membership of 1.6-million-strong National Users Council of the Irrigation Districts of Peru (JNUDRP) went on an open-ended strike. Campesinos blocked highways and railroads. In the northern state of Tumbes, protesters held a sit-in at the international bridge between Ecuador and Peru, paralyzing commerce between the two nations. In the south, a group of campesinos blocked the railroad to Machu Picchu, stranding 400 tourists. In Arequipa, 10,000 landowners held a strike, and some 1,000 protesting campesinos kept trucks from transporting food to the cities for sale, in order to draw attention to their demands for an equitable share of the profits generated by the extraction of resources from their region.

The Peruvian government's response to these nonviolent protests has been heavy-handed and often violent. Peruvian President Alan Garcia pushed through by executive decree Law 840 last year. This legislation undermined the collective property regime of indigenous peoples, by conceding supposedly "uncultivated" lands to lumber companies and surrendering the nation's rights over natural resources to foreign investors. This move was prompted by the newly instituted U.S.–Peru free trade agreement ...

Resource extraction has left many areas of the country devastated. The indigenous peoples of Peru's Northern Amazon have endured over 30 years of oil production and pollution. Instead of prosperity, it has resulted in malnutrition, disease, and social disruption. For instance, since 1971, U.S.-based oil company Occidental Petroleum has employed practices outlawed in the United States and elsewhere for the purpose of maintaining lower production costs and maximizing revenues. During this time, Occidental has pumped an average of 850,000 gallons each day of salty formation water and other toxic wastewaters into local rivers. Toxic substances such as boron, barium, and arsenic are also commonplace in areas where gold and copper extraction takes place.

Peru's indigenous peoples depend on clean rivers and forests for subsistence. However, because of extraction, many rivers contain high levels of heavy metals, salt, oil, and unhealthy levels of chloride. Numerous communities have no alternative sources of drinking or irrigation water and are thus forced to use the polluted river water. Toxins have accumulated in the aquatic food chain, and agricultural crops have been contaminated. Livestock and fish are poisoned, and over half of all local children have dangerously high blood-lead levels and cadmium poisoning. Residents suffer from countless unexplained illnesses, and believe that many premature deaths have resulted from pollution-caused health problems ...

The LA Times has an editorial today, dedicated to the thesis that Galeano's Open Veins of Latin America is "dated." But this FPIF piece suggests that "the poverty of mankind as a consequence of the wealth of the land" endures as an insight into current economic relations

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-26-09 08:17 AM
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1. What has happened to Peru to enrich US based corporations is a ferocious sin against man, nature.
At some point that entire country is going to rise up against this crap, and all the mega weapons available to right-wing fascists won't be able to beat them down again. They are going to lose, as they've attempted to harm too many people, expecting their weapons to sustain their tyranny.

Doomed to failure.

Hope to live to see it.
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