Candidates and their plans for Amazonia

20 March 2016

What follows is a translation of an article written by Cooperacción, in conjunction with Vigilante Amazónico, on what the five leading candidates in the presidential race and their parties say they will do in respect to key concerns for communities living in the Amazon jungle. These are taken to include Fuerza Popular (Keiko Fujimori), Peru por el Kambio (PPK), Acción Popular (Alfredo Barnechea), Frente Amplio (Verónika Mendoza) and Alianza Popular (Alan García). http://cooperaccion.org.pe/main/opinion/496-derechos-de-los-pueblos-indigenas-y-amazonia-en-cinco-planes-de-gobierno-por-marlene-castillo

  1. Indigenous peoples and their place in an overall vision for the country. Some parties refer to ‘indigenous peoples’ as such, whilst either simply don’t mention them or refer to them simply in terms of ‘cultural diversity’ (Alan García/Alianza Popular) or as ‘originarian populations’ or ‘peasant and native communities’. Some parties put emphasis on the need for their protection, associating this with the diversity of national identity or sustainable development in the Amazon. The Frente Amplio (FA) proposes that they be incorporated within the state under a system of ‘plurinationality’. Peru por el Kambio (PPK) supports the strengthening of Peru’s identity as a ‘pluricultural’ nation.

  2. Policy towards the collective rights of indigenous peoples, underlining those relating to territory, institutions, participation and prior consultation. Almost all parties back the continuation of existing policies. These imply the lack of effective territorial rights beyond those that peasant and native communities already possess. However, there is support for advancing with communal titling of land. The FA’s plan for government calls for ‘integrated territory’ along lines suggested by some indigenous peoples and for the creation of a system of indigenous representation through the creation of an indigenous electoral district. Acción Popular supports creating a commission to adapt national legislation so as to meet the specific needs of indigenous peoples by studying specific cases across the whole of Peru. PPK backs strengthening the system of land rights (‘saneamiento’) and titling. This is the heading under which effective policies to ensure collective rights are most conspicuously absent.

  3. Policies for the Peruvian Amazon. It is surprising that various of the parties’ plans for government do not consider the Amazon among their strategic objectives and thus meriting specific policies. Policies that are presented are dispersed and insufficient to deal with a mega-ecosystem with implications for defending the life of the planet. Various plans (Fuerza Popular, PPK and Alianza Popular) see the Amazon as a space in which to execute mega-projects (rail, hydroelectric, hydrocarbons and above all forestry plantations of up to 1 or 2 million hectares). In that of Acción Popular, deforestation and illegal mining are to be eliminated, though only in protected areas. None of the parties’ plans respond to demands for productive diversification as part of an agro-forestry strategy of indigenous Buen Vivir.

  4. Policies on extractive industries and conflicts arising. If policies in the previous three areas were sparse (almost non-existent in the case of Alianza Popular), here we see legislative proposals designed to encourage investment in extractive mega-projects, to benefit communities where projects are sited or in surrounding area (through royalties, public works or the so-called ‘canon comunal’). Proposals to create national systems for the prevention and management of conflict are simply repeated. Of particular concern is the case of Alianza Popular which suggests urgent steps in its first hundred days in government to establish armed forces support for the police in a year-long campaign of ‘citizen security’, a move reminiscent of the regrettable events in Bagua (in 2009).

For more detail (in Spanish), go to http://cooperaccion.org.pe//main/images/Archivos/Final.pdf

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