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NEWS: Peru Massacred Indigenous Protesters in Amazon Jungle

This event has context, the continuing conquest of the Americas.

"... we doctored the horses by searing their wounds with the fat from the body of a dead Indian which we cut up to get out the fat, and we went to look at the dead lying on the plain and there were more than eight hundred of them, the greater number killed by thrusts, the others by cannon, muskets and crossbows, and many were stretched on the ground half dead..... The battle lasted over an hour....we buried the two soldiers that had been killed....we seared the wounds of the others and of the horses with the fat of the Indian, and after posting sentinels and guards, we had supper and rested.
"...These were the first vassals to render submission to His Majesty in New Spain."

Bernal Diaz del Castillo.  True History of the Conquest of New Spain.

WATCH Video: Q’orianka Kilcher Heads to Peru to Support Indigenous Rights

The genocide of many Native Nations continues in the Americas, a fact much ignored.

Don't get in the way of the Anglo search for (black) gold.

In this century the "true manuscript" of Bernal Diaz's True History of the Conquest of New Spain came to light with two different versions of the "true history" emerging. One copy now belongs to the Guatemalan government, the other belongs to a Diaz descendant.

On arriving in Cuba:

On landing we went at once to pay our respects to the Governor, who was pleased at our coming, and promised to give us Indians as soon as there were any to spare.

On leaving Cuba in 1517:

In order that our voyage should proceed on right principles we wished to take with us a priest... We also chose for the office of overseer (in His Majesty's name) a soldier... so that if God willed that we should come on rich lands, or people who possessed gold or silver or pearls or any other kind of treasure, there should be a responsible person to guard the Royal Fifth.
...Juan Sedeno passed for the richest soldier in the fleet, for he came in his own ship with the mare, and a negro and a store of cassava bread and salt pork, and at that time horses and negroes were worth their weight in gold...

These quotes illustrate attitudes towards Native Americans which persist today.  In 1969, as a Peace Corps volunteer working in Peru, one of my responsibilities working in Peru's Ministry of Agriculture was enacting an Agrarian Reform decree, seizing haciendas from wealthy descendants of Spanish invaders.  The law was, in effect, often returning royal land grants to Indigenous peoples.  

At Hacienda Sollocota I witnessed slavery for the first time in my life, in the form of chattel, Indians living in the corrals of the animals they tended.  In one corner of a stone animal corral I saw a separate enclosure for an Indian family, and in the corner of this area a small, thatch-roofed room only large enough to sleep a family, with walls only a meter high.  When we transferred title to the newly-formed cooperative of 100 families, a celebration was conducted.  I remember best one quote, an elderly man saying in broken Spanish, "We waited 400 years to get our land back, and today we got it back."  At Sollocota there still are people who remember slavery, who remember growing up in a corral.  This is the reality of Peruvian Indigenous people.

I returned to Peru to visit my former villages in 1989, amidst the violence of the Senderos and other resistance movements, to bombed bridges, liberated zones, roadblocks, and mounting death tolls.  As I hitchhiked many people related their stories.  One person's racism was the worst I have ever encountered.  He stated that the solution to Peru's problems was simple enough, "Kill all the Indians."  What he failed to understand, from my perspective, was that he was an Indian too.  Class identification does not match genetics in Peru.  This racism is exemplified by President Alan Garcia declaring the Indigenous Peoples to not be "first-class" citizens, as seen in the Democrcy Now videos linked herein.

The deep-seated racial conflict in Peru has its beginning with Contact.  Europeans came to Peru to steal the riches, genocide ensued, and the same process continues today.  It is not accomplished with gas chambers, it is not as explicit as the European methods of the last century, but it continues and the toll, many tens of millions, continues to mount.

Europeans do not have the right to draw a line around an Indigenous American territory, declare sovereignty, and impose their own rules--not in 1492, not in Mexico in 1523, nor in Peru in 2009.  There is no real difference between doing it 500 years ago or doing it today.  Because the frontier of the conquest is in remote jungles and inaccessible regions, where the few remaining traditional Native populations survive, their genocide is easily ignored.  It is the game genocide that began over 500 years ago, THE LONG GENOCIDE, and it must STOP.

WATCH Video:
Peruvian Police Accused of Massacring Indigenous Protesters in Amazon Jungle

Pictures of Peru Killings
Numerous pictures taken by voluteers in Peru.
Some pictures are shocking.

Doubts on Peru Death Toll

In praise of Alberto Pizango

TIME: Peru's Deadly Battle Over Oil in the Amazon

"The heart of the crisis stretches back a year, when the Garcia government, using special powers granted it by Congress, passed nearly 100 legislative decrees to facilitate implementation of a free-trade agreement with the United States."

Originally posted to jqjacobs on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 07:55 AM PDT.

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