Action Alert: Peru
“As Dot Stang said, the destruction of the rain forest is the destruction of life. It isn’t just a problem for Peru or Brasil but for the whole world.” Therese Hartley, SND
Many recent messages in Justice and Peace concerning Peru tell of the conflict in the Amazon region and the killing of the indigenous people for the purpose of extracting lumber, oil and minerals from ancestral lands of the people. This recent spur of conflict, exploitation and environmental damage has occurred because of the Peru Free Trade Agreement, signed by President Bush on December 14, 2007 and which went into effect on February 1, 2009.
What You Can Do
1. Encourage President Obama to re-negotiate the Peru Free Trade Agreement. (see link below)
2. Pray for all the people involved in the conflict – especially the families of the indigenous people and the police who have been killed, and for the government which doesn’t seem to understand that what it sees as progress is really a way of destroying the planet.
3. Join Witness for Peace on Thursday, June 11 from 3:30 to 4:30 PM at the Peruvian Embassy (1700 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington DC) to show your support for human rights and help us demand an end to U.S. free trade policies that are destroying the livelihood of millions in Peru.
For US & Peru:
Letter from Therese Hartley
Thank you for your letter. I have consulted a few of the Sisters here and we all think that that it is an excellent idea to organize an action alert to get the Obama administration to look at and re-negotiate the Peru Free Trade Agreement. Sisters of Notre Dame can help by supporting the action alert and by praying for all the people involved in the conflict – especially the families of the indigenous people and the police who have been killed, and for the government which doesn’t seem to understand that what it sees as progress is really a way of destroying the planet. As Dot Stang said, the destruction of the rain forest is the destruction of life. It isn’t just a problem for Peru or Brasil but for the whole world.
In Lima the Conference of Religious has organised a Prayer Vigil for tomorrow evening to pray about the whole situation. I suppose that you know about the declarations of the Bishops who live and work in Amazonia, and more recently of the President of the Bishops’ Conference – as well as the dabate in congress here.
Thank you again,
Statement from CAFOD Partner Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos and president of the Peruvian Bishops Conference
CAFOD partner Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, who is president of the Peruvian Bishops Conference, said: “This was a disaster waiting to happen. The indigenous peoples have been forgotten. We must listen to them. I also think we need to be aware of the worldview of these peoples. We are forgetting that. The indigenous, the natives, think in a very different way from us. What is good for us is lethal for them. They defend the water and the earth because it is life. There’s a problem of understanding. This has been a tremendous problem.
Background on the Peru Free Trade Agreement
U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement to Take Effect on February 1, 2009
The U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (officially known as the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement) will go into effect on February 1, 2009.
In Washington, DC, President Bush yesterday issued a proclamation to implement the free trade agreement and in Lima, Peruvian President Alan Garcia and Mercedes Aráoz Fernandez, Peru’s Minister of Trade and Tourism, also signed the required proclamation to formally implement the free trade agreement.
In order to receive preferential treatment under the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, U.S. and Peruvian goods must qualify as originating as prescribed under the Rules of Origin section of the Agreement (Annex 4.1). The Rules of Origin for the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement are similar, but not identical, to rules of origin found in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement and the Central American-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
The Rules of Origin for the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement can be found here (pdf) and will soon be published in the General Notes of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated and the appropriate changes will be made to the HTSUS in order to reflect the preferential duty rates for qualifying Peruvian products.
The U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement was signed on April 12, 2006. It was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on November 8, 2007 and by the U.S. Senate on December 4, 2007. President Bush signed the legislation implementing the Agreement on December 14, 2007.
Peru’s Congress passed this week modifications to earlier legislation on trade, health and the environment, in order to conform to and implement the terms of the free trade agreement.