Sunday, May 17, 2009

Taking back the river

Peru's Amazon protesters withdraw insurgency call

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Indigenous groups protesting laws opening Peru's Amazon to oil and natural resource development said Saturday they would withdraw a call for an insurgency against the government, but vowed to press ahead with their protests.

Indian leader Alberto Pizango said the government misinterpreted the use of the term insurgency in his group's declaration on Friday, and "for that reason we are withdrawing it."

"But the mobilization of the Amazon people will continue within the rule of law," said the president of the Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of Peru's Jungle, which leads a movement that has blocked roads, waterways and a state oil pipeline since April.

The government had warned that anyone participating in an uprising could be charged with sedition. On Saturday, it authorized the armed forces to support police in quelling protests and guaranteeing services in five Amazon provinces.

The protests, against decrees aligning Peruvian law with a free-trade deal with the United States, have affected production at oil wells owned by Argentina's Pluspetrol, French-English Perenco, Petroperu and Talisman.

President Alan Garcia defended the laws as needed to help impoverished Peru develop.

"We have to understand that when there are resources like oil, gas, wood ... they don't belong to the group that had the good fortune to be born there, because that would mean that more than half of Peru's territory belongs to a few thousand people," the president said Saturday.

But Amazon groups say the laws would pave their way for their ancestral lands to be taken over by multinational companies.

The protests involve some 30,000 Indians across six provinces.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's scary how many of these articles I come across

From Indian Country Today:
Peru prez Alan Garcia wants foreign oil companies to have native land and it doesn't look like much can stop him, except for all us superheros that is.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A few pictures--so you'll get the idea.

Little girl in the Bora tribe.

Hector, shaman and teacher of our close friend Cesar, drinks a mixture of tobacco and ayahuasca during a ceremony outside of Iquitos.

We are smiling even though we are covered in mosquitos because we love the jungle that much.

Two exotic jungle animals.

This sloth was a surprise the morning we left the jungle lodge. Doesn't she look like an angel in the face and a little creepy in the claw?

Hi friends, I'm happy to report that we are all safely back in the States now and feeling pretty good about this past month. It was a really great trip--we accomplished all of our filming goals and then some. It was challenging, but it also felt easy in the way that we kept meeting the right people at the right time. It felt like we were in the flow. We not only met people in the communities we visited, but I really think that we made friends and established a deeper trust (una confianza, si pe) so that we can keep coming back in the future. We recorded a lot of songs and interviews and I took many pictures. I'm proud of us--I think we did a really good thing by bringing attention to these songs. It will take us a while to get everything logged and edited and polished-up, but I wanted you all to see a few pictures. I'll keep posting more in the weeks to come so keep checking in.

Again, thank you to everyone for your donations to the project. They helped so much. Also, it's not too late to donate so contact us if you are interested in supporting "Spirit Songs."