The BBC reports that, “Indigenous groups in Peru have called off protests after two land laws which led to deadly fighting were revoked. Hailing victory, Amazonian Indian groups said it was an ‘historic day’.”
“Daysi Zapata, vice president of the Amazon Indian confederation that led the protests, …urged fellow activists to end their action by lifting blockades of jungle rivers and roads set up since April across six provinces in the Peruvian Amazon.”
Zapata said, “This is a historic day for indigenous people because it shows that our demands and our battles were just.”
The Associated Press adds, “Indians have opposed 11 pro-investment decrees issued by President Alan Garcia in early 2008 under special legislative powers granted him by Peru’s Congress to enact a free trade agreement with the United States.”
“The legislature revoked two of the decrees last August after Indians blocked highways, waterways and a state oil pipeline.”
“(On Thursday) Congress revoked two (more) decrees that indigenous groups said would spur oil and gas exploitation and other development on their ancestral lands.”
“Zapata and Congressman Freddy Otarola, spokesman for an opposition party, called on the government to ‘eliminate the seven other decrees’ contested by the Indians.”
The BBC report notes, “Peru’s Prime Minister Yehude Simon said the reversal of policy would not put at risk Peru’s free trade agreement with the US, but he has said he will step down once the dispute is settled.”
This past week the Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade stated, “The Senate has passed Bill C-24, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Peru. …The Bill is expected to receive Royal Assent before Parliament rises for the summer.”
Parliament recessed for the summer on Friday.
The BBC report is at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8109021.stm.
The Associated Press report is at http://www.blnz.com/news/2009/06/15/Peru_offers_concession_Indians_land_9217.html.
You can read more about the Council of Canadians opposition to the Canada-Peru FTA at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=793.