The struggle of the amazonicos is no longer to free their land – they now must also fight mining, oil and gas giants such as Texaco (now owned by Chevron) who are polluting the mountains, rivers, and rainforests through deforestation, the dumping of toxic waste, and other noxious tactics.
The contamination is causing the death of fish, birds, and other wildlife, as well as people, such that they cannot sustain themselves. Natives are dying of cancer due to the carcinogens being dumped into the ecosystem.
Natives are consequently working to block out the multinational corporations guilty of this ecocide – and classism – and defended by the government for over three decades.
Pablo Fajardo, lead attorney for the indigenous people suing Texaco, had this to say:
“More than a billion gallons of poisonous toxic water were dumped into marshes and rivers of this area. What the people demand is the complete remediation of the area Texaco contaminated.”
The agro-chemicals used by agricultural industries that grow food to export to the U.S. devastate the soil and, of course, do not contribute to local communities. Eco-socialists and others believe a new agrarian reform is needed to combat these corporations.
Whether from the north or the south, 30,000 amazonicos have joined together despite different nationalities and dialects and even languages to organize peaceful struggle. Just last year, their efforts bred success.
The indigenous movement even succeeded against the armed opposition staged by the government last June:
Indigenous groups in Peru have called off protests after two controversial laws, decreed by President Alan García to implement a free trade agreement with the U.S., were revoked by the country’s Congress in an 82-12 vote late June 18.
The amazonicos or indigenas are laudably working to build power, not take it, through peaceful struggle. The fight is against global warming in addition to exploitation of the land and the communities, as workers are not unionized nor receive vacation or social security.
Filmmaker Joe Berlinger explains the struggle in his latest documentary film, “Crude.”