AAAARgh, I don't even know how to write about this right now. People are dying and the situation is getting worse. I knew it was bad in the beginning, but I had no idea the lengths that Garcia will go to to get what he wants (money, he wants money--that's what he wants). This is the worst violence seen in Peru since The Shining Path in the 1990's. It's been reported that Peruvian police threw tear gas and shot at still-sleeping protesters who were blocking the road. I'm glad that Pizago is safe in Nicaragua right now (he had a judge order his arrest for sedition and inciting violence) and that the rest of the world is hearing about the deaths of so many (including Peruvian police officers) and this awareness is getting out, despite its vast costs. I am so impressed that the indigenous movement has been able to educate and organize itself into a unified movement despite some serious opposition and that they are going to keep going to no matter what to protect their land.
It's scary to think what more could happen but it also shows the extent of their love for their land and how many avenues that are taking to achieve it. AIDESEP (who we interviewed for "Spirit Songs") is one of the best organized indigenous movements in South America. I love it when Alberto Pizango names specific United Nations doctrine to defend his position that the indigenous people need to be advised when their land is being given away.
Is that really so much to ask? Would Garcia really want to start this kind of violence in Peru again, after so many years of peaceful growth?
It's also scary because Ollanta, the super nationalistic, pro-military, friend of Chavez guy who lost against Garcia in 2006 has immediately stepped up to defend the indigenous movement. He's running for president again in 2011 and I would not like to see him gain this sudden popularity for being with the people--I think he'd be a pretty scary president too.
I'll keep updating as I learn more--in the meantime, please keep this situation in your thoughts and start talking about it to the people in your life. As international awareness that grows, it will become harder and harder for Garcia to do exactly what he wants as the jungle and its people suffer his consequences.