IUF demonstration at Peruvian embassy

The rainforest is not for sale! We will defend the rainforest!



In the afternoon of Thursday, June 11, social organizations representing a range of groups rallied in Montevideo in repudiation of the repressive action perpetrated against the indigenous communities in Bagua. Initially the demonstration was to be held in front of the Peruvian embassy but demonstrators were prevented from reaching the area by the Metropolitan Guard (antiriot police) who fenced off and patrolled the surrounding streets.


The protesters condemned the massacre, denounced the content of the challenged decrees that pave the way for transnational corporations to access the natural resources of the Peruvian Amazonia, and demanded justice for those responsible for the violent police actions.


Although the Peruvian embassy normally opens to the public in the afternoon, on June 11 embassy employees were unexpectedly called to work in the morning, so that the protesters could only make a symbolic presentation of the open letter addressed to president Alan García in repudiation of the Bagua massacre, signed by numerous organizations and figures.


The act ended with the reading of the letter that is reproduced below, and the demonstrators cleared out chanting: “The rainforest is not for sale! We will defend the rainforest!”



                 June 12, 2009





Fotos: Darío Falero, Rel-UITA




Montevideo, June 11, 2009


Mr. Alan García Pérez

President of the Republic of Peru

Lima, Peru


Dear Sir,


The undersigned social organizations and citizens of Uruguay come to express our outrage and profound rejection of the atrocities perpetrated on Friday, June 5 against the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region, which resulted in the loss of lives, missing persons and severely injured people.


It is sadly ironic that precisely on World Environment Day your government should decide to repress those who defend the Amazon rainforest for future generations and as a heritage of humanity.


We have been closely following the legitimate mobilization and protest that indigenous communities of Peru’s Amazonia have been staging over the last few months demanding that the government overturn nine legislative decrees aimed at facilitating the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. These decrees, which favor the commodification of land and natural resources to serve the interests of transnational corporations, will bring serious harm to the territories of the Amazon peoples, but despite their impact the Amazon peoples were not previously consulted, as is stipulated by ILO Convention 169, which the Peruvian government is bound by.


The battle that the indigenous people are fighting is a struggle to defend and guarantee the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, which is seriously threatened by the voracity of transnational corporations that are indiscriminately deforesting the land, contaminating rivers, and decimating plant and animal life, endangering the very existence of ancestral communities.


We are not against progress, but we do not believe in the kind of “progress” that is achieved by plundering, destroying, contaminating and decimating native populations, as these “free trade” agreements intend, and as the transnational corporations of the United States and other world powers seek to impose.


The mobilization of the indigenous communities of Amazonia is crucial for the entire continent, which is why we are expressing our full solidarity with the struggles of the Amazon peoples of Peru. We urge the Peruvian government to heed their demands (starting by repealing the challenged decrees), ensure the safety of their leaders, and grant guarantees so they can continue their protest.


Moreover and in view of the very serious incidents occurred on June 5, we ask that the Peruvian government immediately:


- put an end to all acts of violence against indigenous communities and organizations;


- guarantee adequate health care for all injured protesters and assistance for the families of the victims;


- release any persons detained at the police station of El Milagro, guaranteeing their physical integrity and safety;


- order a thorough and impartial investigation to determine who was responsible for the repression that cost so many human lives;


- comply with all the obligations stipulated by national legislation and international instruments that protect human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples and human rights advocators, in particular their right to life, integrity and safety, as well as the collective right to land and all the natural and cultural wealth ascribed to the land.


We also express our solidarity with the victims’ families and communities and demand full reparation for them all.


Mr. President, the Amazon jungle is one of the lungs and the largest water and medicinal reserve of our planet, and that is why we believe that the struggle of the Amazon peoples is also a struggle for the survival of all peoples on Earth, of each and everyone of us.


It is not just “400,000 indigenous people,” like you have said, who are fighting this battle to defend their land and natural resources. There are millions of people in the continent and throughout the world who are supporting their cause, and with them we say: The rainforest is not for sale, neither the land nor the water! We will defend the rainforest!


Yours sincerely,



Human Rights Solidarity Network (REDH)

Peace and Justice Service - Latin America (SERPAJ-AL)

Peace and Justice Service  - Uruguay (SERPAJ-UY)

Friends of the Earth

FUCVAM – Housing Cooperative Organization

Charrúa Basquadé-Inchalá Native Community of Uruguay

Collective Group Against Impunity (Colectivo Contraimpunidad)

Cotidiano Mujer Women’s Organization

Chasque Artiguista

COMCOSUR (Participatory Communication from the Southern Cone)

Guyunusa-Tacuarembó Group

CO.NA.CHA (Charrúa Nation Council)

“César Vallejo” Cultural Association and Immigrant House

CHONIK and Uruguayan Indigenous Descendants Group

“ATABAQUE” Afro-Amerindian Group

Multisectorial Committee - Uruguay

Amnesty International - Uruguay

Observatory of Public Policies for Human Rights

IUF Latin American Regional Secretariat (Rel-UITA), among others





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