We condemn the bloody repression by Alan García’s government
We call for international solidarity with the struggle of the indigenous people, and with the struggle of the Peruvian workers and people
1. The violent operation of clearing highways, ordered by the APRA government last Friday, June 5, has left some 50 victims dead, numerous people wounded, and hundreds of people arrested in the Bagua area and other localities of the Amazonas Department, in the Peruvian North. Meanwhile, repression by cops and soldiers and persecution is increasing with the support of the “State of Emergency” declared in the region, and even the access of journalists and doctors is being blocked, in order to erase the traces of the planned slaughter. The repressive deployment includes other regions of the country, to prevent protests from developing; thus, in the region of Puno, hundreds of regular police have been deployed, and in other places, like Lambayeque, union leaders have been arrested. Leaders of legitimate indigenous protest, like Alberto Pizango (President of AIDESEP) have had to flee and are being furiously pursued.
2. Alan García has justifed the bestial repression with the untenable argument of an internal and external “conspiracy” and has insulted the indigenous people who were massacred by asserting it is because of “basic ignorance” that they are opposed to legislative decrees like 1015 and 1090 (the Law on Forests and the Law on Wild Fauna), that the government is promoting in order to hand Amazonia and its natural resources over to the voracity of the oil transnationals and the forestry businesses. These so-called “laws of the forest” facilitate the transfer of lands belonging to indigenous communities and the entry of the big firms in such a brutal manner, that their “unconstitutional nature” has even been discussed in Parliament. As a matter of fact, the indigenous Shuar people and the peoples of Amazonia are very well acquainted with their cowardly intentions, and it is after two months of delays and maneuvers to trick them with “dialogues,” that Alan García, in an attempt to break their heroic resistance, resorted to slaughter, which constitutes a return to the methods of state terrorism that he already used in his previous administration (recall the massacres of Lurigancho and El Frontón), and that Fujimori carried to extremes under his government.
3. The government, solely responsible for the acts, displays the police who died in the confrontations, but minimizes and hides the assassinations of campesinos and indigenous people who for some months have been mobilizing in defense of their territory and against the surrender of Amazonia’s natural resources to the voracity of the transnationals. The goverment’s crude attempts to criminalize indigenous and popular protest and to attribute it to foreign intervention or alleged interference by Sendero Luminoso, are completely untenable. After months of peaceful protest, in view of the criminal police and military repression, the only thing the indigenous people have done is to protect themselves from state violence with the means in their reach, a legitimate right that should be defended unconditionally.
4. Alan García’s government and its Prime Minister, Yehude Simon, is the one who, in any case, is conspiring against the most basic interests of the Peruvian people, to the benefit of the oil and mining transnationals and the big Peruvian economic groups that have benefited and grown enormously under the protection of the governments of Fujimori and Toledo, and are now the main beneficiaries of the policy of hunger, surrender and repression from the APRA government. The Peruvian bourgeoisie prides itself on the growth of these years, maintained by surrender, plunder, and the hyper-exploitation of the workers. But this cycle is reaching its end. In their desperation to avoid exhausting the flow of foreign investment that feeds it, they are desperate to hand over and sell at a loss Amazonia’s natural resources. What is at risk is to a large extent the very destiny of the economic plan and of the government itself, and the indigenous struggle now symbolizes the workers’ and popular resistance at a national level.
5. Alan García is coming up against increasing difficulties, and this is what pushes him to toughen his repressive and authoritarian (that is, Bonapartist) course, in order to prevail, in spite of growing opposition. García’s ppularity has fallen to less than 23%, he is confronting an insistent workers’, indigenous, campesino and popular resistance, and in spite of triumphalist speech about economic growth, the international crisis is now affecting Peru and diluting the bases of the neo-liberal economic program, which is closely dependent on the prices of exports and on foreign capital and gambled on ratification of a Free Trade Agreement with the United States, which will mean a leap in the surrender and subordination of the country to imperialism. This is why García is running at the same time as a loyal agent of imperialism in the Andean region, through his criticism of Venezuela and Bolivia (he went so far as to grant political asylum to right-wing elements from those countries, like the former Ministers of the mass murderer Sánchez de Lozada, who were condemned in Bolivia for the October 2003 massacre). The situation in Peru is an example of how surrender and submission by pro-imperialist governments leads to polarization and workers’ and popular resistance and intensifies the contradictions between imperialism and the oppressed nations.
6. In spite of the repression, resistance in Amazonas appears to be continuing: the general strike of indefinite duration has been declared at a regional level, in San Martín, Yurimaguas and other points, the blockades continue, Pluspetrol have been seized, attempts have been made to seize the Trompeteros airport, and in Tarapoto, the resignation of the President is being demanded. The political upheaval is growing, and the parliamentary groups have begun to distance themselves from the official initiative, by suggesting that the laws being resisted, be discussed again. Meanwhile, repudiation and protest actions are spreading to a national level (with big marches in Lima and other places), and international repudiation is also increasing, with actions in front of Peruvian legations in several countries (like the one promoted in Buenos Aires, where the PTS participated). The situation could change into a very large national crisis.
7. In these years, the workers, the indigenous and Peruvian peoples have developed a constant resistance to Alan García’s government and its plans. Several waves of big struggles have brought regions to a standstill and shaken up the country. In each minute, the bourgeois opposition parties have supported the regime, as happened with the Ollanta Humala movement, in spite of its nationalist poses. Unfortunately, the leaderships of the unions and of the mass organizations have maintained a conciliatory policy, of pressure on the government, repeatedly asking that “the economic policy be changed,” and refusing to unify and develop a big national mobilization that could defeat the government. This possibility is being brought up again, now in the heat of the Bagua events. The facts show that a willingness of the rank and file to mobilize is not lacking. However, the risk is that once again, the union bureaucracy and the reformist tendencies may hit the brakes and end up by decompressing the struggle into measures exerting pressure, lacking continuity. The advanced workers and the workers’ and popular vanguard must take the mobilization into their own hands.
8. The CGTP and other organizations united in the “Frente de defensa de la vida y la soberanía” called a “National Day of Struggle,” which must be guaranteed with a labor strike, blockades and mobilizations, and it demands the organization of self-defense committees in all the unions and mass organizations, on the road to uniting them and centralizing them in the heat of the mobilization. This should be the first step, but it is necessary to extend the unlimited general strike declared in the Amazonas Department, and there already voices that are asking that an unlimited general strike be declared on a national level. A national plan of struggle leading to the unlimited general strike up to the defeat of the murderous government is neded.
9. This demands a workers’ and popular program, that proceeds from uniting the protest against the massacre, for an immediate and unconditional lifting of the state of emergenchy, a stop to all persecution, the fulfillment of the demands of the indigenous people and full respect for their right to land and territory, articulating these with the workers’, indigenous, campesino and popular demands, like wages, the end of the contract system, layoffs and the high cost of living, for nationalization of the hydrocarbons, mining, and natural resources, without payment and under workers’ control, against the FTA with the United States. This, a part of a program so that the businessmen and transnationals pay for the crisis, which is beginning to make itself felt. The demands of the campesino communities, towns of the interior and indigenous peoples against plunder and contamination of the water, the land and the air by the big mining, oil and agribusiness operations, etc., must be taken up by the workers’ movement and articulated with its program. The demand is growing in different groups that García and Prime Minister Yehude Simon must go; this requires raising the slogan of a provisional government of the workers’ and campesinos’ organizations to lead the struggle.
10. For a fight like the one that is suggested, top-down coordination among leaders of the national organizations, like that which the “Frente de defensa de la vida y la soberanía” sets up, is not enough. It is necessary to expand the broadest and most democratic coordination at the regional and national level, with representatives from the rank and file, elected and with a mandate, thus incorporating the rank and file unions, campesino, indigenous and popular organizations, by organizing the national mobilization and democratically discussing the plan of struggle and every step to take until victory.
11. We call for the broadest international solidarity with the workers, the indigenous peoples, and the Peruvian people. Their struggle shows that, in view of the looting of the natural resources of the region by foreign capital and its local partners, the will to defend them and recover them is growing among the workers, the indigenous and Latin American peoples. On June 11 may the demonstrations of repudiation in front of the embassies and legations of the Peruvian state increase! Up to now, most of the governments of the region have not declared themselves concerning the barbaric massacre unleashed by Alan García. It is necessary to demand the breaking off of relations with mass murderer García! For the unity through mobilization of the workers and campesinos of all of Latin America! May the continental working class take the struggle against imperialism and its local agents into its own hands, by raising a program that the capitalists must pay for the crisis, a program that leads to completing the necessary economic and political unity of the peoples of the region through a Federation of the Socialist Republics of Latin America!