Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Letter to the President of Perú Ollanta Humala Tasso

“Please cancel plans for road through Alto Purus and save uncontacted tribes and their rainforest habitats”

Dear President Ollanta Humala,

A road through a national forest will open the door to illegal activities, pollution, and devastation of an area which has somewhat managed to remain ecologically rich.

People of all nations seem bent on destroying what can never be replaced. Shame on all of us. Your government has only been in office a short time, yet already you are doing tremendous harm to your great nation’s rainforests and indigenous peoples. The latest insult to basic human rights are plans to build a highway through Alto Purus – Peru’s largest national park – comprised of vital intact Amazonian rainforest ecosystems and inhabited by at least two ‘uncontacted’ indigenous tribes. I demand that this road be cancelled immediately, never to be re-considered.

Further, your government must cease state violence against indigenous and other local communities resisting mining and roads, and closely follow their desires regarding protecting standing rainforests and their land from all usurpers.

The highway would put isolated populations – including the Mashco-Piro – in grave danger of being decimated by confrontation with loggers, hunters and illegal miners. The highway would violate a new law passed last year by Peru’s government guaranteeing indigenous people the right to be consulted about and in agreement with any project affecting them. Your government has failed to understand legitimate community grievances regarding the Conga mine as well, and has reacted violently with a state of emergency against those trying – quite reasonably, for those that thirst – to protect their water from foreign mining.

Mr. Humala, your government is utterly failing to react to reasonable environmental concerns and protect the rights of local communities from ecocide and genocide. The history of European colonialism makes clear that the worst thing you can do to the Amazon and the people who live there, particularly if they are uncontacted, is build a road through their territory. Every time this happens, the result is the same: lots of people die, and standing rainforests that could provide local and global benefits forever are destroyed.

You are not helping the poor by stealing their lands and pushing through ‘development’ which kills them. Your actions against your nation’s indigenous peoples are nothing short of neo-colonialism, worthy of past violent and ruthless European colonialists who devastated your native peoples for hundreds of years. Is that the legacy which your “leftist” party wants to continue? I and the world community demand that you end the genocide, end the ecocide, and leave rainforests and their traditional peoples alone. Earth Revolution is in the air around the world and in Peru, and if you keep ruthlessly exploiting your indigenous peoples, your government will fall.

With grave concern,

1,661 signatories and counting….

Partido Nacionalista Peruano, Ministery of Justice,
Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of
Transportation, State Ombudsman, Congressman Carlos Tubino
Arias Schreiber, Father Miguel Piovesan, Peru Embassies
worldwide, Peru media

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