A Victory for Peru’s Amazon Natives
Posted on Jun 17, 2009
After at least 54 people were killed in a bloody roadblock protest earlier this month, native groups in Peru have won a commitment from the government to revoke laws that opened the Amazon to foreign oil and gas companies to exploit indigenous land for resources.
Peru’s Cabinet chief Yehude Simon said Tuesday that he plans to step down after settling a dispute with Amazon Indians that turned bloody earlier this month.
Simon has led negotiations with Indians protesting decrees they say make it easier for foreign oil and gas companies to exploit their lands.
The protests turned violent June 5 when police opened fire on activists at a roadblock. Twenty-four police were killed and Indian leaders say at least 30 civilians died. Opposition leaders called for Simon to resign, saying he failed to prevent the bloodshed.
Simon told a Lima radio network on Tuesday that he will resign in the next few weeks when the situation has calmed.
Simon had refused to discuss the decrees with Indians, but on Monday acceded to their demands and said he would ask congress to revoke them.
Native groups like the Asháninka protested laws opening their lands to foreign exploitation earlier this month, battling police bullets with handmade spears.