Being in the U.S. affords me certain privileges, namely allowing me to be unaware of how laws of the U.S. affect citizens in other countries. I knew on some level what the fighting in Peru was about (corporate versus indigenous nations versus Peruvian government), but of course, the role of the U.S. is so hidden from people in the U.S., we don’t see it until we are told.
The strikers’ demands are the same as those of the protesting Indians: that Congress revoke laws to promote oil and natural gas extraction, logging and large-scale agriculture on traditional Indian lands. Garcia decreed the laws to comply with a new U.S.-Peru free trade agreement.
“We don’t get anything from this huge exploitation, which also poisons us. We’ve never seen any development and my community lives in poverty,” local Aguaruna leader Mateo Inti told The Associated Press in Bagua, the scene of Friday’s violence.
They also want Garcia and his Cabinet prosecuted for the bloodshed, which they say also killed 30 Indians. The government puts the civilian death toll at nine — outraging the Indian leaders who accuse police of burning and hiding more bodies.
“We’re not taking even one step back. We haven’t lost this fight,” protest leader Daysi Zapata said.
In a two page article, there is one sentence that details what all this has to do with the U.S.–or in other words, how U.S. style capitalism is killing people a world away from the U.S.–or, in other words, how people in other countries learn to “hate” the U.S.
Or, more bluntly, people don’t hate the U.S. because we’re ‘free’ and because of our ‘rights,’ they hate us because we create economic structures that destroy and violate their land, communities and peoples–all in the name of protecting and defending our ‘rights.’
On a tangent, this is what makes me think that maybe “ethnic media” has some legitimacy. I cringe at the name “ethnic media,” but if it is the only media that is attempting to do something as simple as explain what U.S. trade agreements are doing to the world–then maybe I can get over the name a lot faster than I thought I could.
Corporate media should be ashamed of itself.