On-Q Initiative – Youth for Truth – Peru
Youth 4 Truth – Amazon Initiative
“Voices of the Amazon”
Video cameras are such a powerful weapon of truth against human rights abuse and government oppression.
Youth for Truth media
empowering indigenous youth living on the frontlines of climate change, environmental destruction and globalizations expansion with video cameras as strong defense against human rights abuses, environmental destruction, and corporate and government oppression and Lies. .
We support a network of alternative media projects throughout the US and internationally and provide Video Cameras to primarily young Indigenous youth activists and environmental justice advocates as well as community leaders and communities living in conflict areas where Oil, Gas, Lumber and Mining projects threaten their people’s health, lands and survival.
We currently have 56 Y4T video cameras rolling in Alaska, Peru , Brazil and Borneo and work to support an international network of youth driven independent media, using websites like Youtube , Blogger, Face book, MySpace and Twitter
Through Y4T media campaigns we work to amplify the voices of the voiceless and engage in innovative and alternative ways to bring environmental and social justice stories to the attention of the international community while informing the public about news and information, often missing from the corporate media.
Youth 4 Truth- Young Voices of the Amazon
Youth 4 Truth- Amazonis all about bringing Video Cameras, Independant Media Training and Editing Computers to Indigenous Amazon Communities involved in the current mobilizations against their governments attempts to sell out their community lands to the multinational extractive industries.
Cameras are distributed to primarely YOUNG Indigenous Youth activists as well as Community Leaders and Communities living in conflict areas where Oil, Gas, Lumber and Mining projects threaten their peoples health ,lands and survival.
As our video blog/ incident tracking Website is being build we have 56 Video Cameras collecting interviews , investigative footage and all the history in the making … And once the new website is up , you will be able to view some of the great work our young Video activists are doing !
Having used my own resources to buy and bring 56 videocameras to Peru in June, I now count on all my friends to help support the cause, by making a small donation.
Your donations of even just $10 or $20 bucks can really ad up !
In this time and age of film, technology and independant media -using websites like Blogger, Facebook,Youtube ,Twitter and Myspace etc. Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon embrace not only the opportunity to share their stories and messages with the world, but have learned to use the power of film in their quest for Justice and Truth ,using cameras as strong defense against human rights abuses, environmental destruction, and oppression and Lies.
Right now there are 56 youth4truth Video Cameras rolling and I am looking for donations to support Indigenous youth to attend one of two Video and Editing Workshops planned for the next couple moths.
Workshops will be facilitated by volunteer independant media journalists , professional videographers and are free to all youth accepted into our program.
Why Peru … whats going on in Peru?
While most of us know what importance the Amazon rainforest has for all of us as humanity and the survival all unborn generations… most people don’t know that more than 75% of the Peruvian Amazon has been allocated for oil and gas extraction.
Most People also don’t know very much about how the Free Trade Agreement between Peru and the US is affecting Peru’s Indigenous Peoples.
Also, it is shocking that many people also don’t know that in the early morning hours on June 6th special police forces followed orders and fired live ammunition and tear gas on Indigenous woman, children and man, who were participating in peaceful protests against a series of new laws , passed by Peru’s Garcia regime.
Under the pretext of implementing the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, and using special FTA ‘fast track” powers, Garcia passing these new laws without having these laws go through Congress and without consulting indigenous peoples, even thought these new laws directly undermine indigenous peoples rights and violate rights recognized in the national constitution as well as in international treaties, including the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169.
Implementing these new legal decrees, result in a government backed land-grab by large international corporations and the extractive industries and set the stage for water privatization. , In spite of the fact that the consequences of such laws directly affecting indigenous peoples life’s, wellbeing and in some cases even their survival, the new laws allow for Indigenous peoples to be excluded from the decision making process .
Since April 2009 more than 50,000 indigenous man woman and children have been holding peaceful protests and blockading roads and river traffic throughout the Amazon, demanding the repeal of 10 of these new laws.
And while indigenous peoples were protesting, Garcia had signed 15 more contracts for oil concessions in the Amazon….
Unfortunately, as usual, these exploitive policies are promoted by and only benefit a handful of people, and impact the lives of many.
Sadly, Peruse government chose to take a big step backwards by selling out to the oil , mining and logging companies and even resorting to using military force and violence against a people who’s only arm is their simple present and their voice, to do so.
On May 9, 2009,the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the regions of Loreto, Amazonas, Cusco, and Ucayali in an attempt to criminalize and intimidate whatever protests occured on indigenous territory. This action was a license for the government to violently repress Indigenous by subjecting indigenous areas to military occupation in order to silence indigenous community opponents of extractive industries.
Under the emergency decree, all constitutional rights had been suspended — including the right to hold meetings and freedom of movement. The measure also permitted the use of armed forces against the civil population, criminalizing the legitimate rights and demands of the Peruvian indigenous nations, as well as endangering normal democratic rights.
At that time accurate news reports out of Peru were extremely scarce,.
However there was some Video and photo evidence which showed police beating peaceful protesters and firing rubber bullets in order to break up demonstrations blocking roads and bridges.
Furthermore, In an aggressive harassment campaign, the Garcia government filed criminal charges of treason and sedition against 6 indigenous leaders including Alberto Pizango, president of AIDESEP, Peru’s national indigenous organization.
Also, it became clear that the government was carrying out a strategy to control press coverage of both the mobilization and the response.
In an attempt to criminalize the protesters, Garcia publicly, on television denounced Indigenous peoples to be enemies of the state and terrorists… Calling Indigenous peoples barbaric savages and third class citizen who stand in the way of progress for a better economy for Peru.
June 5th – In the early morning at 2 am Peruvian Special Forces began to approach over 2500 peaceful demonstrators near Bagua , as they were sleeping. Following orders to crack down on they fired teargas and live ammunition from Helicopters and machine guns. Eyewitness reports tell us that this was not a clash, but a coordinated police raid with police firing on protesters from both sides of their blockade, firing live rounds into the crowd as people fled or got down on their knees and held their hands up, with police firing straight into their bodies as they asked for them not to shoot.
As the unarmed demonstrators were being killed and injured some wrestled with police, fighting back in self-defense, which resulted in the reported deaths of police officers.
Understandably, Peru’s Garcia Regime controls the media with the economic pressure, through favors and investments in advertising and access to government contracts… So for a while , all the media coverage coming out of Peru was only talking about how Savage Barbarian Indians had killed police officers.
Sadly there are still many manny people missing…. reports range from 40 to 900 missing indigenous bodies.
And sadly investigations continue to be tainted and manipulated by the power players… completely ignoring the voices of thousands of Peruvians…
The situation continues to be a big challenge… Even thought that the government is trying to present a more friendly image in public, many indigenous community leaders are still being denounces as terrorists and enemies of the state, serving as scape goats for the massacre… And several Indigenous leaders had to flee, seeking asylum in the Nicaraguan embassy… While Garcia seems to be determined to continue ‘business as usual’… he just signed another oil contract giving the green light to an Anglo-French company Perenco to drill 14 wells in Block 67…. Perenco’s chairman, Francois Perrodo, met Peru’s President Alan García in Lima and pledged to invest $2 billion in the project.
Perenco admits that contamination of soil and water due to drilling are possible consequences of its work…These impacts have grave implications for the survival of the “uncontacted” indigenous peoples believed to inhabit the area. More seriously, the indigenous inhabitants face the threat of contagion from diseases to which they have no immunity… something which very well may resulted in the genocide of an entire peoples. Seems like history might repeat itself … if we cant learned from the past…
We can not continue to exploit and rape mother earth in the name of Politics Greed. We can NOT eat , drink, or breath money or profits… and pressing environmental issues facing our planet today are NOT confined within borders.
We all have one comon need as inhabitants of this planet… a clean healthy environment is important for all humanities survival Some things don’t have a Price, they have Value !
My recent Trip to Peru :
Links to some of the Video and press:
Trip To Peru…
My main objective for me going to peru was to try to speak out against the recent killings of peaceful indigenous protesters ordered by Peru’s Garcia Regime … and to call on the media to start investigating and reporting the Truth instead selling out by printing and reporting a onesided stoty of government propaganda Lies. Given that the current regime of Alan Garcia has been manipulating the press , criminalizing indigenous peoples in the public eye and covering up the massacre in Bagua , I hoped that I could bring media attention and a Voice to my Amazonian brothers and sisters and their quest for Justice and Truth…
On June 10th at 2am I decided to grab a plane and fly to Peru … I just could not sit here in Hollywood anymore and do nothing ! It was definitely a last minute emergency trip…. But I just had to go and stand in solidarity and try to give voice to my amazon brothers and sisters who were being criminalized by their government and whos voices are ignored by Peru’s propaganda media . I went to speak out against President Garcias plans to exploit and rape the Amazon in the name of development and greed , speak out against the criminalization of indigenous protesters and to try to investigate the truth about what had happened in Bagua in the early morning of June 5th.
My arrival resulted in a big media circus , and since I spoke out against the government and media lies in press conference and interviews , the media attacked me… As I expected.
I even had people speculating that I must be financed by some foreign power to tumble the Garcia Regime…So it was quiet scary …
I brought 50 cameras, so people could tell their stories ,videotape the truth and let their voices bee heared through youtube, facebook,myspace and blogs.
Video cameras are such a powerful weapon of truth against human rights abuse and government oppression.
If it would not be for videos, Peru’s Garcia regime would have gotten away with lying about the violent massacre in Bagua.
The 50 cameras are strategically placed with indigenous youth who have either lost a loved one or participated in the protest . These young Video Warriors are currently collecting interviews and evidence as part on-Q initiatives “Youth for Truth” Campaign … and they are not going to stop until we know what happened to the many still missing bodies.
I also have two professional independent journalists covering and continuing for me the current events and investigations in Peru.
Quick roundup on my activities… I arrived June 11th, and hoped to participate in the big Demonstrations in Lima that afternoon, but when I got there( late) Police with masks and shields had already ‘cleaned up’ the peaceful demonstrators…. as usually with teargass. There were several smaller groups of demonstrators who were still going on, so I joined them and when several cameras and media people started to focus on my presents, the police suddenly marched away…
I spend the next 2 days in lima and was invited to visit Alberto Pizango at the Nicaraguan Embassy, were he was waiting for asylum , having to flee an arrest order by Garcia, who used him as scape Goat for the massacres. When I got there , there was so much press there that we decided we just could not go in… also there was alot of peruvian special forces outside standing around, waiting for ???? I was a bit sad not to see Alberto, since he was the one who named me “The Voice of AIDESEP” in 2006 , when I was visiting the Achuar in the Rio Corrientes regions in support and effort to bring media attention and awareness to the horrible contaminations caused by los angeles based oil company occidental petroleum . It was when I got to know everyone at AIDESEP, and now, I was glad to see at least everyone else…. so I spend many hours just at the AIDESEP offices , talking and learning about all these complex issues and planning our trip to Chiclayo , “Curva de diable” (the place where the Bagua massacres had happened) and Bagua.
On my trip to Bagua I was accompanied by a delegation from AIDESEP and Jose, my independant media buddy who agreed to stay in Bagua and visit all the affected communities conducting interviews with one of our cameras for the next 20 days.
Arriving in Curva de Diiable, we filmed several interviews with the local people who live in the area and we walked across the hillside where we saw big burned away circles, with burned shoes and clothes. Rumor has it that the police might have thrown fire bombs out of helicopters onto fleeing demonstrators as the tried to escape into the hills. Othes say that they saw police burning bodies and baging bodies up into black plastic bags and throwing them into the Marinion River….The fact is that there are many many people who have not seen their loved ones since the massacres on June 6th… and until today have no information if their loved ones are alive or dead or where all the missing bodies of their brothers and sisters are….
Arriving in Bagua, It was very clear that all people , non indigenous Villagers, were terrified of the police forces, not the indigenous peoples. The villagers of Bagua have been supporting the indigenous protesters and their families with food and water for 2 months. I talked with many people and was given CDs and Tapes of footage they had filmed during the course of the protests… Then we went to visit the Bagua Hospital, to interview the 3 indigenous man who were still in care there. One had both his legs destroyed by bullet wounds, the other,had a head injury and a bullet into his side… and then there was this sweet 23 year old guy , who reminded me of my little brother… He he told us how he was shot at , cuz he tried to talk to one of the young police approaching him…after the bullet hit his arm, he fell but tried to stand up and plead with the officer to not shoot ,citing that they all are Peruvians and brothers! The Police gave him one more bullet , which entered his Lungs… and here this young guy was hanging on to fis Life, no medicines available in the hospital, coughting up blood as he told me his story. I asked him if he hated the police and he told me that he does NOY. he told me that he had spend time as a soldier in the peruvian military, and that he knows that these young police officers who massacred his people were just following orders from Garcia. He was sweet, humble, honest and compassionate… but firm in his resolve to stand firm to protect his beloved Amazon… I also heared some amazing testimonies from 2 young girls who studied traditional medicine in bagua…they both had lost family . But their spirits were strong and determined to stand up against their governments plans to sell out their homelands to international and private interrests.
Iquitos. The youth of OEPIAP (indigenous student organization) is always an inspiration. They organized a huge concert to educate people and so when I arrived I immediately joined them on stage , together with the many other amazing young leaders…We spend until late at night talking about all the issues and I cant wait to return and support all of their amazing efforts.
One day before I left Peru, the government dropped two of the controversial Laws and admitted to having handled things poorly…Garcia even agreed to finally meet indigenous leaders at the negotiation table…!
However, I personally see this as a tactic by the government to calm things down… and escape the pressure of the international community….
Especially since the government is still actively pursuing all arrest warrants of all indigenous Leaders….
When I returned from Peru after a week of press conferences and a visit to Bagua and Iquitos, I was emotionally exhausted .
I must say that this effort has cost me a lot, in terms of my job and personal life as I had to sacrifice my own time and resources, but it has also thought me great lessons, and I’m now convinced that everyone can help the Indigenous struggle in Peru.
I have dedicated days and hours of work, researching and trying my best to expose news and data, all of which proves that the Indigenous peoples of Peru were massacred by police forces sent by president Garcia.
Thanks to some courageous videographers , photographers and the work of solidarity throughout independent media -using websites like Blogger, Facebook, Twitter , Youtube, MySpace and others- People in Peru and around the world were able to learn more about what really was happening in Bagua, in times when most international media remained silent with few exceptions.
Thanks to this collective work, we created awareness in the world and I Humbly feel that I -along with hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world- was part of what the Garcia’s government has called “an international conspiracy” against his abusive rule !!!
Together we pressured the Garcia administration to stop violence and avoid more police and military actions. Together we pressured the Garcia administration to repeal two of the controversial presidential decrees that motivated the social uprising. And Together I hope to ensure that Indigenous Peoples voices are being heard ,while standing in solidarity with them , protecting our mother earth for all of us and all unborn generations.
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“A Freezing cold reality”
Cold of indifference is true reason why perus children are freezing to death!
Every year hundreds of children are freezing to death in the andean mountains… It happens every year… and with the recent crazy weather and climate change, extreme coldspells have set in way earlier than usual!
in 2009 more than 433 kids Frozen to Death!
Its an embarrassment how Perus children are freezing to death, when there are things you and I can do! Please get involved and contact me directly at info@QonQ.org to coordinate your involvement or support! I hope that for once bureaucracy can stay out of the equation …. Things need to be taken care of NOW , before the cold season starts again !
its not the cold… but the cold of indifference which is the true killer …. it is so totaly preventable…. so lets get prepared… because it will be winter again soon … PERU WINTER = JUNE !
This is NOT a yearly emergency ! ITS PREVENTABLE !!!
together we can contribute to a global warming of hearts!