Alberto Pizango, exiled president of Peru’s national organization for Amazonian indigenous peoples, AIDESEP, was arrested May 26 at Lima’s airport as he arrived from Nicaragua, where he was granted political asylum in the aftermath of last June’s Bagua massacre. He faces charges of “sedition, conspiracy and rebellion” for his alleged role in the Amazon violence. AIDESEP sees the charges as part of a wider campaign by the government to undermine Peru’s indigenous movement.
Pizango arrived in Lima together with AIDESEP’s vice-president Daysi Zapata Fasabi and Q’orianka Kilcher, the actress of indigenous Peruvian descent who played the role of Pocahontas in the film The New World. In a statement before his arrest, he said he had “waited too long and will make this enormous sacrifice.”
The charges against Pizango were made after hundreds of peaceful indigenous protesters were attacked by Peruvian police on June 5, 2009, an incident that led to 33 deaths dying and at least 200 injured and sparked protests against Peru’s government around the world. According to government figures, the dead included 10 civilians and 23 police officers.
In England, Survival International director Stephen Corry responded to the news of the arrest by saying, “We urge the Peruvian government to drop all charges against Alberto Pizango and enable him to return to his position as AIDESEP’s president.” (BBC News, Survival International, May 27)
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Alberto Pizango speaks
In a statement released by AIDESEP May 27, Pizango says he initially sought exile in Nicargua because he was afraid that his arrest would escalate the situation in Peru and lead to more violence. "I have returned to my homeland Peru not only to clear my name and demonstrate my innocence of the charges against me, but to contribute to the necessary reconciliation between Peruvians, so that we can be recognized as peoples and be vindicated as citizens in conditions of equality." He expresses his condolences to the survivors of both the indigenous and protesters and police killed in last year's violence.
Peaceful protesters?!!… right. So how many policemen end up their lives after hours of torture by these peaceful protesters. I know! they torture themselfs only to discredit these landlords who just may let you practice informal mining and wood trafic or even rent their women and children if you pay enough to the feudal lords, but may kill and disappear you if you mess with their bussiness.
You make some very serious charges—murder, torture, illegal timber sales, illegal mining, child prostitution. We’d like to see some corroboration if you are going to continue posting here. This website will not serve as a forum for empty accusations. Thank you.
For corroboration please do contact professional peruvian sociologists. They may surprise you with they findings. The life of the amazonian indigenous is pretty much a feudal society, where the leaders or ‘apus’ owns the lives of everybody else. They have territorial control. Of course in this kind of patriarcal society organization (as in any part of the world or epoch) women and children are property.
If you make an effort of listening them in youtube, you’ll find that these ‘apus’ are very much xenophobic as in any close society is. This is as valid for a taliban tribe, a quaker colony, a sicilian mafia familly as it is for the amazonian tribes.
And for the tortures, please do refer to the serious independent press. You’ll find they did torture the policemen. In the end, their sponsors money had the chance to buy the necessary legal support and win (as they finally did) many times. But they were not after a legal victory as you can see for the results.
And for all of this, you may propose education, but close societies and radical thinkers will see your intentions as cultural disregard and obliteration. And it is really hard to change the escence of a group (even via ‘education’) and not make them unrecognizable. So, we do have a serious problem trying to stop forest depredation. For the private corporation problem it is easy, we can close them any access. But what do we do with the present landlords whose economy is based in renting to the best bidder land and people.
Not good enough.
I’ve spoken to plenty of professional Peruvian sociologists, such as Beatriz Huertas and Roberto Espinoza, who wholeheartedly support the indigenous movement. We’d like some names and references before we are going to treat your claims as legitimate. And we’ve monitored the Peruvian press closely since the Bagua massacre, and have seen no credible claims of torture by indigenous activists. If they are so easy to find, go ahead and post a few. We’ll be waiting.
“Pocahontas” protests Peruvian president
From NBC, June 2:
Amnesty International: free Alberto Pizango
From Amnesty International, May 28: