Hoping, praying and working in Peru

Clashes between indigenous protesters and security forces in northern Peru on Friday, June 5 resulted in a number of deaths both among the indigenous people and among the police. The number of reported deaths vary.

Farrellh_20 Since April, indigenous peoples have been protesting plans to open vast tracts of rain forest to oil drilling, logging and hydroelectric dams. These plans were based on new laws that would allow an unprecedented wave of logging, oil drilling, mining and agriculture in the Amazon rainforest by blocking roads, waterways and oil pipelines. The laws were passed under “fast track” authority President Garcia's government had received from the Peruvian congress to facilitate implementation of the United States – Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.

The BBC reports that Peru's government has revoked two land laws that led to the clashes between police and indigenous protesters in the Amazon. Amazon Watch and Foreign Policy in Focus are among the groups monitoring the situation. In addition, the BBC notes that the UN envoy for indigenous peoples has called for an investigation into the clashes.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a number of mission personnel serving in Peru. A Joining Hands partnership links the Red Uniendo Manos Peru and Presbyterians in Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery. The partnership has developed a fair trade project – Bridge of Hope.

Alexandra Buck, project facilitator of Bridge of Hope reflects on recent events in Peru. She closes her letter:

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.

May the people of Peru know justice and solidarity.

(The photo shows stoles made by the women of "Grupo Mana" in Peru and available through the Bridge of Hope. Photo by Hunter Farrell.)

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