The rapacious western imperialist oil machine marches on, this time in Peru. After government decrees opened up parts of the Amazon region to plunder by multinationals in April this year, indigenous communities responded by setting up a series of blockades. Leaders of the resistance movement issued a statement saying; “we will fight together with our parents and children to take care of the forest, to save the life of the equator and the entire world”.
On the 5th of June, a phalanx of troops, gunships and armed police launched a savage assault on one of the key blockades. The ensuing conflict resulted in the deaths of between 30 and 100 protestors. Curfews and martial law were then installed, as the US-friendly president, Alan García, denounced protestors as “savage and barbaric”. In spite of this violent repression, indigenous communities vowed to fight on.
Outraged, Peruvian social movements, trade unionists and human rights groups joined forces to stage a general strike on June 11th in support of the activists. With solidarity actions taking place around the world, the Peruvian Congress eventually bowed to overwhelming pressure, repealing laws that effectively paved the way for oil drilling. In a humiliating climb down, two government ministers resigned and García has apologised for his “serious errors and exaggerations”. While the multinationals will no doubt regroup, this turn around represents an epic victory for the power of solidarity.