Away back in 1867 Karl Marx in Das Capital explained how the so-called primitive accumulation of capital was based on robbery and murder. In Peru today a similar process is taking place. In Britain we had the highland clearances and the enclosure acts, in Peru it is the expulsion of the indigenous population. "Peru is considering sending in the army to break up protests by Amazonian Indians who claim the government is preparing a massive land grab in the country's remote jungles. ... The government has responded to an appeal for talks by declaring a state of emergency in three states and threatening protesters with military action. "Indigenous people are defending themselves against government aggression," said an Amazon Indian rights campaigner, Alberto Pizango. "This is not an ordinary or everyday demonstration. The Indians have told us they are not afraid. If the government declares a state of emergency they prefer to die there and show that this government violates human rights." Relations between indigenous groups and the President Alan Garcia have become increasingly hostile as the government has sought to exploit what are thought to be rich oil and gas deposits in lands owned by Amazon Indians. Energy companies have pushed deep into supposedly protected areas in the past year, leading to clashes with some of the most remote tribal peoples left in the world."
(Independent, 21 August) RD