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June 17, 2009

More potentially good news from Peru

Last week, we mentioned briefly that Peru is suspending two new laws related to the U.S.-Peru FTA aimed at encouraging "investment" (ie resource extraction) in the Peruvian Amazon. OpenLeft's Paul Rosenberg reported in depth on these developments.

As it turns out, this story has legs. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Peruvian Prime Minister Yehude Simon "will resign in the near future, amid criticism of his handling of bloody indigenous protests in the Amazon earlier this month in which at least 32 police and Indians were killed... Under Peru's constitution, Mr. Simon's resignation will lead to the resignation of the entire cabinet, opening the door for [Peruvian President Alan] García to push out other ministers tarnished by the conflict, such as Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas."

And then there's this:

Mr. García may also now pull back from his unofficial policy of favoring investments with or without the consent of local populations, said political analyst Santiago Pedraglio. The government had approved the decrees in part to bring Peru's laws in line with requirements outlined in its free-trade deal with the U.S.

"García made a bet that there could be these large-scale investments without taking into account the people in those regions," says Mr. Pedraglio. "But he will have to now, and I imagine investors will also want to take those concerns into account now."

The WSJ article makes it sound like García himself is free of blame, but of course he played a key role in getting the U.S.-Peru FTA passed and implemented. And as should be abundantly clear by now, it's the FTA's pro-corporate investment provisions that are a root cause of these upheavals.

EDIT: Courtesy Peruanista, check out this video (Spanish language) of Citizens Trade Campaign's Octavio Ruiz discussing Peru's future under the FTA, outside the Peruvian embassy in Washington DC. (There have been numerous protests outside the embassy in the past week; we'll have photos from one of them shortly.)

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Comments

JD

I would like to state my complete discomfort with the misinformation this organisation is causing. The law 1090 in question in Peru aims only to regulate and prevent further deforestation. It does not promote resource extraction, but regulate it and protect the environment. I have read word by word of the 1090 decree and to annul it only harms Peru and its indigenous people. I do acknowledge that the Government did little consultation, and therefore it is understandable that people protest, but in a PEACEFUL MANNER, not killing unarmed police. And the Government should not retaliate.

To say that this decree only motivates the forest's destruction and extraction of resources is bogus...more harm is done by an unregulated and unsupervised black market in the extraction of timber and agriculture.

Peruanista

The over hundred free-trade decrees that Alan Garcia approved under special power given by the Peruvian Congress are extremely dangerous for the Indigenous peoples rights and for the environment. But there is a group of NINE decrees that are particularly sensitive, as they allow multinationals to enter protected areas for exploration of oil, gas, mining and lodging. Only two of those have been revoked by the Peruvian government after the massacre of Bagua, where hundreds of Indigenous civilians were killed, burned and their remains were placed in plastic bags and hidden from the media.

Even today, there are hundreds of missing people, and the government of Lima is prosecuting the Indigenous leaders, blaming them of the Bagua attacks violence. There was never an honest intention of the Alan Garcia administration to have a respectful dialogue with the Amazonian peoples, they were just playing with them. Currently, there is the possibility of more violence, as the government continues to lease the lands of the Indigenous communities, whitout consulting with them previously.

About the video you posted here, I had to reloaded as Youtube deleted my channel Peruanista. But the video is here now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB-RhHvxqPA

Thanks for all your work!

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