A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Posts tagged ‘Nancy Pelosi’

“I sing to God, my Creator God…” Reflecting on the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement

Dear All – I hope this finds readers who are Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and affiliates well after the congregation’s General Assembly held last week. I heard the meetings were full of energy and life and gave a good sense of direction for FSPA as it continues to grow from its past and into its future.

I want to share below a reflection and set of actions from a lay missionary in Peru who has been there during the time of violence against the indigenous about the conditions of the Free Trade Agreement. Please read below and to learn more about what is happening in Peru! Much Peace Liz

Dear Friends,

I write to you with haste, and heavy heart from Peru.
 
Violent clashes between Peruvian police and indigenous protesters in the region of Bagua, Peru occurred this past week.
 
The indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon are protesting because of fast-track decrees that allow the entrance of extractive industries to their native lands. These decrees are part of the implementation of the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement which began February 1, 2009.
 
Friday night and Saturday, the Peruvian police were called into the area, called “The Devil’s Curve” and opened fire on the communities who had been performing a protest and blockade for several weeks.
 
The communities were armed with sticks and lances; the police with guns, helicopters, shields, and gases.
 
Numbers of those killed are unconfirmed, as allegations that the police are hiding bodies have been made. The government also called a curfew, preventing indigenous residents to search for the missing. Many have been disappeared.
 
Democracy, development, and human rights are in question here in Peru. Watching the news with my Peruvian colleagues, I listened to outbursts and protests against the government’s callous interpretation of “order” and “citizenship.”
 
Few media channels are relating live footage and numbers of dead have been controlled by the government.  A mass grave has been discovered of indigenous people. And yet, President Alan Garcia is on record for calling the indigenous protesters terrorists. For many Peruvians, this situation brings up memories of the terrible Years of Violence between government and guerrilla forces. This is one example of the violent results of Free Trade.
 
I just got back from a beautiful ecumenical Vigil for the Amazon communities. My heart and head are full. We here are living on hope, the hope that is God, that the violence stops. Many people have traveled to Bagua to demonstrate that the communities there are not alone, that they are supported, and that there is a movement against the Free Trade decrees which the government must heed.
 
As people committed to an alternative to this deformed development, the Bridge of Hope Fair Trade team with which I work recognizes the horrific effects of the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement in these events. As Garcia’s government pushes fast-track legislation decreeing exploitative industries in the Amazon to implement the FTA, residents of that area – indigenous peoples – are trying to voice their protest to protect their ancestral territory. The forces at work of globalization and neoliberalism silences these voices with military force by pushing guns into their faces. This is not a new story, unfortunately.

We, the Bridge of Hope team and all of the artisans, offer our solidarity to the indigenous communities in Bagua. We hope, along with them, for dialogue, transparency, respect, justice, and peace, all requisite elements of Fair Trade.

We need your solidarity, too.
 
Please take a minute to send off two letters. One, to Nancy Pelosi and the House trade committee leaders . They need to know, and admit, that the US-Peru Free Trade agreement is negatively affecting Peruvian communities, and that people in the US care, and want it to stop. Second, send this message to Peru President Alan Garcia . He needs to know that the international community is watching, indignant, and willing to act.
 
Sign on to this ecumenical, international statement for peace. And stay tuned for ways to communicate with other international leaders for the rights of all people.
 
Read more:
Democracy NOW:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/6/8/peruvian_police_accused_of_massacring_indigenous
 
Eyes on Trade:
http://citizen.typepad.com/eyesontrade/2009/06/ftaspawned-crisis-continues-in-peru.html
Amnesty International:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa14309.pdf

Pray with us, as we sing:

I sing to God, my Creator God
For life, our life, which today wants to live.

The beautiful things that you gift to us, the mother earth that we have to care for
For the happiness and the colors that encourage us to continue

And for the people of my country, for those that love without conditions
For those that fight, that dedicate themselves for a homeland with dignity

And for the hands that hug us, for care and good will
For the tenderness and the existence of consolation and liberty

I sing to God, my Creator God
For life, our life, which today wants to live.
 
As we sign off at Bridge of Hope,
Hoping, praying and working,
…Por un Mundo màs Justo y Solidario…
For a world with more justice and solidarity,

Alexandra Buck


Joining Hands Peru
www.manosperu.org

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