Daily Focus: Indigenous Protests in Peru

June 5, 2009

by AQ Online

In Peru, seven police officers are dead and 20 people are wounded after indigenous protests in Bagua Grande Amazonas turned violent on Wednesday. The protestors, at it since April 9, are pressuring President Alan García to “modify or strike down” decrees issued last year that facilitate commercial investment in, and access to, the Amazon basin.

A parliamentary vote earlier this week nearly repealed one of the controversial decrees, but a walk-out by members of García’s Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA) party blocked the final vote.

Criticism of García’s position is coming from both domestic and international groups, including local Catholic bishops and the London-based Survival International. García has responded with the assertion that “the riches of Peru belong to all Peruvians.” Others warn that repealing the decrees could endanger the free trade agreement between Peru and the United States.

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Tags: Peru, Indigenous Rights, Garcia

Daily Focus: Peru Grants Asylum to Former Bolivian Minister

May 11, 2009

by AQ Online

The Peruvian government provoked Bolivian President Evo Morales’ ire over the weekend, granting asylum to a former minister charged with aiding the killing of 65 civilians. The deaths occurred in 2003, during the military repression of protests that eventually ousted the government of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada.

“If the Peruvian government grants asylum or refuge, it would be committing a serious crime,” said Morales, “because we’ve reviewed the regulations of the Peruvian state and they cannot (give asylum) to people who have committed crimes against humanity and who are indicted.”

Two additional Bolivian ministers facing similar charges have also submitted applications for asylum in Peru. They are currently under review. This is the second high-profile asylum case for Peru this year, the first coming in March when it approved the application of Venezuela’s opposition leader Manuel Rosales. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez reacted by withdrawing his ambassador to Peru.

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Tags: Peru, Bolivia, Morales, Garcia, Asylum