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Peru: A Year Since Bagua

Categories: Latin America, Peru, Citizen Media, Indigenous

This post is part of our special coverage Forest Focus: Amazon [1].

June 5 marks the one year anniversary of the Baguazo [2], the name given to the unfortunate events [3] that took place in Bagua [4] where officially 34 people died, 23 of which were policemen; however, unofficial reports claim the number of deaths is greater, especially from the side of the civilian protesters.


Image of the events in Bagua in 2009, from Flickr account powless used under a Creative Commons license.

After this tragedy a Commission of investigation on the incidents was installed, but the events are still confusing and up to now the subject of heated debates and discussions. The Informe Final de la Comisión Especial para Investigar y Analizar los Sucesos de Bagua [es] [6] (pdf) (Final Report from the Special Commission to Investigate and Analyze the Incidents in Bagua), despite its more than 100 pages did not satisfy many and was widely criticized, especially for failing to determine who is directly responsible. In the video El informe final de Bagua: ¿la oportunidad perdida de llegar a la verdad ? [es] [7] (The final report of Bagua: A lost opportunity to reach the truth?) produced and published [es] [8] by CEPES [9], Manuel Bernales, a member of the Commission, gives his opinion on the matter.

The final report from the Commission was not signed by those representing the natives. Furthermore, at the end of the report there is an attached document emitted by the president and a member of the Commission, explaining why they don't agree with the report. The newspaper La Primera published [es] [10]the document.

To this day the situation in general terms has not improved and the social conflicts that originated from causes similar to those in Bagua are still latent throughout the country, not only in the jungle, which, however, is particularly affected by these conflicts. Some people and institutions are remembering the Bagua incidents, and are getting ready to participate in related activities.

Members of SERVINDI (Services in Intercultural Communication) inform of various planned events in Lima in their post Perú: Todos los caminos conducen a Bagua [es] [11] (Peru: All Roads Lead to Bagua):

Diversas organizaciones del país se vienen sumando a la “Jornada por la Vida y los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas”… y preparan una serie de actividades para conmemorar un año de este lamentable hecho… En Lima se anuncian romerías, foros, actividades culturales hasta confluir en una gran marcha pacífica, programada para el martes 8 de Junio.  … Las actividades en la capital comenzarán el jueves 3 de junio con el foro “La lucha amazónica y su impacto por el cambio climático”, … Del mismo modo el 4 de junio, se realizará una misa en la iglesia de La Recoleta del centro de Lima, en honor a los caídos en la Curva del Diablo. El sábado 5 se realizará un Acto Político Cultural en la Plaza Francia denominado: “Bagua no se olvida”…

Various organizations from the country are adding themselves to the “Day for the Life and the Rights of the Indigenous People”… and are preparing a series of activities to commemorate a year of this unfortunate event…In Lima there are announcements of pilgrimages, forums, cultural activities that end in a grand peaceful march, scheduled for Tuesday June 8… The activities in the capital begin Thursday June 3 with the forum “The struggle in the Amazon and its impact on climate change” … Also on June 4, a mass in the Church of La Recoleta in downtown Lima will take place, in honor of the fallen in the Curva del Diablo. On Saturday 5 a Political Cultural Act will take place in Plaza Francia called: “Bagua doesn't forget” …

In another post [es] [12] they inform readers about an activity in the city of San Ramón, Junín:

Los días 4 y 5 de junio se realizará el II Encuentro de los Pueblos Andino-Amazónicos de la región centro del Perú al conmemorarse un año de los sucesos de Bagua. La cita es en el Coliseo Lucero, frente a la Plaza de Armas del distrito de San Ramón, en la provincia de la Merced-Chanchamayo, a partir de las 9 de la mañana. El mega evento es convocado por la Asociación Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Selva Central (ARPI), el movimiento Cumbre de los Pueblos y el Foro Juan Santos Atahualpa.

On June 4 and 5 the II Encounter of Andean-Amazonian Peoples of the region of central Peru will take place to commemorate a year of the incidents in Bagua. The event will be held in the Coliseo Lucero, in front of the Plaza de Armas of the San Ramón district, in the province of Merced-Chanchamayo, starting at 9 in the morning. The mega-event is summoned by the Regional Association of Indigenous People of the Central Jungle (ARPI), the movement Summit of the Peoples and the Forum Juan Santos Atahualpa.

The AIDESEP [13] (Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest) website [es] [14] also notifies readers of various events:

Pueblos Indígenas anuncian semana de conmemoración por los hermanos caídos el 5 de junio de 2009 [15]. en Bagua, las actividades comenzarán el viernes 4, con un foro que busca discutir e instruir a la población indígena amazónica sobre la Ley de Criminalización de las Protestas y el 5 de junio se realizará un homenaje a los caídos y una romería a la Curva del Diablo donde ocurrieron los sangrientos hechos.

Indigenous people announce a week of commemoration for the brothers fallen on June 5, 2009 [es]. [15]In Bagua, the activities will begin Friday 4, with a forum that seeks to discuss and instruct the indigenous population from the Amazon about the Layw of Criminalization of Protests and on June 5 a homage to the fallen and a pilgrimage to the Curva del Diablo, where the bloody events ocurred, will take place.

In another post they report on some of the problems related to the conmemoration events: Gobernación de Yurimaguas niega permiso a hermanos indígenas para conmemorar lamentables hechos de Bagua [es] [16] (Government of Yurimaguas denies indigenous brothers permission to commemorate the unfortunate events in Bagua).

On Facebook there are a series of events and groups, where various users commented on the anniversary. In the Facebook event  TODOS SOMOS BAGUA: A un año del BAGUAZO ¿Tú qué tienes que decir? [es] [17] (WE ARE ALL BAGUA: A year from the BAGUAZO. What do you have to say?), Betzi Rodriguez Ramos [es] [18] wrote remembering the policemen that died:

Ohhh!!!!! siiii hagamos que se escuche neustra vozz es INJUSTOO QUE ya es un añooo y apesar que todo el mundoo sabe quienes son los culpableesss no hacen nada !!! Vamosss a unirnoss ….!! Nuestros Policias que en vida fueron Leales a su patriaa… hombres que dieron hasta la vida pOr ella NO PUEDEN SER ABANDONADOSS…!!

Ohhh!!! yes let's make sure our voice is heard it is NOT FAIR THAT it has been a year and even though everyone knows who is guilty they don't do anything!!! Let's unite …!! Our policemen were loyal to their country… men who gave even their life for their country CAN'T BE ABANDONED…!!

Falto Jesús Zeballos Leguía [es] [19] also commented, saying:

excelente inciiativa para no olvidar, gracias por el apoyo por poner la voz alta en la memoria de neustro pueblo para que no se vuelva a repetir masacres como está ocurrida en Bagua, fuerza hermanos, luchemos por la verdad y la vida!

excellent initiative to not forget, thank you for the support and for raising your voices in memory of our people so that massacres like the one in Bagua are not repeated, have strength brothers, let's fight for the truth and for life!

In the group Este 05 de junio NO celebro el día del ron; YO RECUERDO EL BAGUAZO!!! [20] (This June 5 I'm not celebrating the day of rum: I REMEMBER THE BAGUAZO!!!) Gabriela Adrianzen G-B [es] [21] said:

Este sabado en Lima recordaremos en Baguazo, en la plaza francia, con reflexion, proyeccion de docuementales y musica

This Saturday in Lima we remember the Baguazo, in plaza francia, with reflexion, documentary screenings and music.

Hector de la Fuente [es] [22] commented showing his discontent with the indigenous leader Pizango [23] and with the government declaring June 5 as the day of rum:

Creo que todos recordamos el baguazo pero peor que poner el dia del ron es que Pizango este libre. Esto es una cachetada a la víctimas de tan vil ataque

I think we all remember the baguazo but worse than creating the day of rum is that Pizango is still free. This is a slap in the face of the victims of such a vile attack.

There are other groups and events on Facebook related to the anniversary:

Event: Jornada por la memoria colectiva “Todos somos indígenas, BAGUA NO SE OLVIDA [es] [24] (Day for the collective memory “We are all indigenous, BAGUA DOESN'T FORGET) to take place in Cusco.
Event: A un año de Bagua: Reunión-PUCP para organizar las acciones [es] [25] (A year after Bagua: Meeting-PUCP to organize actions)
Group: No a la Impunidad del Genocidio en Bagua – Perú [es] [26] (No impunity for the Genocide in Bagua- Peru)
Group: No olvidamos lo acontecido en Bagua el 05.06.09 [es] [27] (We don't forget what happened in Bagua on 06.05.09)

To conclude, this video [es] [28]shows an event held in Paris in support of the people of Bagua (vía @thereisawayjose [29]).

This post is part of our special coverage Forest Focus: Amazon [1].