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By Dr. Miguel Ibáñez
Peru and Australia have the same horrendous history in relation to the lives of indigenous peoples. On the contrary, the Peruvian state intends to continue with the policy of 1550, and to continue reducing the lands, forests, and natural resources of ancestral property of indigenous peoples.
The installation of the government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Australia was framed by two important aspects: first, the end of the controversial 12-year period of Minister John Howard, and second, the request for forgiveness for the years of hardship and crime committed by the state to indigenous peoples and for the indignity and degradation perpetrated on a people and culture full of pride, and to mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, for breaking families and communities.
Howard during his administration (1996 to 2008) had the feats of supporting the war in Iraq and Afghanistan by sending military forces, encouraging agricultural development and the extraction of uranium in indigenous territories despite the fact that a Supreme Court Resolution recognized their ancestral rights. On the other hand, the Howard government led with the United States, New Zealand and Canada a strong campaign of confusion between the states to derail the approval of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, on September 13, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly approved the Declaration with the vote against these four states.
The new Minister Kevin Rudd has said that he will ask the United Nations that Australia's vote be incorporated into the historic and just declaration, and also allocated 50 million dollars for a program that prevents alcohol and other harmful substances from damaging health of indigenous peoples.
The Stolen Generations period in Australia ran from roughly 1910 to 1970 and consisted of separating families and sending them to different state agencies, estates and residences in order to "civilize" them. More than one hundred thousand indigenous children and youth were victims of this unspeakable policy.
Peter Smith, director of the Ecumenical Commission of the Indigenous Peoples of Australia, told us in a conference at the United Nations, that when he was a child he was separated from his family, after a few years he was invited to a mansion where he met an indigenous woman to who asked her her origin and found out that they belonged to the same town, and also that it was her legitimate aunt who was separated from the family when she was a child.
The indigenous peoples of Australia reach a population of 450 thousand that represent 2.4% of a total of 20 million, who inhabit mainland and insular Australia. They speak about 250 languages and occupied these territories 50 thousand years ago.
In 1787, about 200 thousand Europeans arrived from England, including Irish sailors, thieves, criminals and opponents. In a short time the indigenous people lost 80% of their population victims of the incursions of the colonists to their territories.
Forced displacement and genocide have the same historical setting in both Australia and America except for natural differences.
Waldemar Espinoza tells us that the Tallanes de Tangará from the Chira valley claimed theft and excess of Pizarro's soldiers. On June 19, 1532, the Spaniards seized them all and after torturing them burned them alive on the bank of the Chira River. Later, Sebastián de Benalcázar in search of gold and silver found only women and children in Quinche because the men were fighting alongside Rumiñahui. Benalcázar massacred defenseless children and women in order to force the return of the combatants. Valdemar also says that in 1539 Francisco Chávez was commissioned to subdue the indigenous movement of the Conchucos, Chávez, finding only children, women and the elderly, cut their throats without first forcing them to utter two words: Jesus and Chávez!
The central thesis of Juan Ginés Sepúlveda - Rodrigo Montoya explains - was to justify that the war against the Indians was just, and he said that it is the duty of Christians to use any means, including threats and terror, to separate them from clumsiness and idol worship.
This doctrine of terror from the colonial state passed without amendment but with updates to the republican state. The dispossession of land by landowners, the contamination of bodies of water and natural pastures by mining, the rubber rush, and the practice of hook-ups and levies turned indigenous people into cannon fodder in wars, as servants and slaves.
The best example of the doctrine of Juan Ginés Sepúlveda continues to prevail for the "barbarians", "impíos", "imperfectos", "fools" is found in the statements of Second Lieutenant EP Telmo Hurtado, executor of the Accomarca massacre (1985): " I made the decision to eliminate them because there were an excessive number of them ... we verified that only ashes and charred bones remained ". He also said that the massacre was in this way because it was the "work system in the emergency zone", he was referring to Operative Huancayocc.
This testimony is the same that Francisco Chávez made in 1539 when he slaughtered and burned indigenous women and children. On August 14, 1985, the patrols of Second Lieutenant EP Telmo Hurtado with 25 soldiers entered Accomarca, there, called an assembly in the town square, and then killed and burned 69 community members including 23 children.
The participation of the state in the cover-up of this crime against humanity was not accidental but solid and well planned, and clearly it was the same extended and improved colonial policy because to kill off the wounded Telmo Hurtado used a war grenade, a weapon that in 1539 did not have Francisco Chávez. None of the material and intellectual authors of such a heinous crime has been prosecuted to date, and all of them have continued in the army with regular and advantageous promotions, in addition to decorations, facilities to go abroad and one of them, to top it all, represents the Peru before the Inter-American Defense Board in Washington.
Peru and Australia have the same horrendous history in relation to the life of indigenous peoples, if it is true that the new Minister Kevin Hudd, as a first step at the beginning of his government, shocked the world by recognizing the policy of barbarism against the soul of the nation, it is also true that the details of the execution of projects and programs to alleviate the poverty of more than 250 indigenous peoples, the recovery of their lands and territories, and respect for their identity and cultural rights is yet to be realized.
On the contrary, the Peruvian state proposes to continue with the policy of Juan Gines Sepúlveda in 1550, and to continue reducing the lands, forests, and natural resources of ancestral property of indigenous peoples, and as if that were not enough, criminalizing their protests and killing protesters. In the last 50 years, the state has facilitated the disappearance of indigenous languages more than in all of colonial and republican history combined. But the problem of the decline of indigenous languages has other extremely serious implications, other customs are also disappearing, such as communal care for the elderly and disabled and collective work or ayni, the democratic participation of women and care for the environment. In addition, alcoholism, abuse of women and children were non-existent in indigenous peoples.
The aggressive model of the breakdown of the social and economic bases and the deterioration of the terms of trade have generated extreme poverty in the countryside and in the city.
The Peruvian state has consolidated its dominance in the educational field, it has stereotyped discrimination as something natural, the disappearance of nationalities.
Practically the indigenous peoples no longer have sanctuaries, sacred centers, territories, they have all been taken away or cremated as the extirpators of idolatries did. The so-called Law of the Jungle is not an exception, all the laws that will come now will be related to the lands of indigenous peoples to sell or transfer them to external private investment.
UNESCO and UNICEF have recognized that learning the indigenous mother tongue increases children's abilities, allowing them to respond with greater advantage in society and if we add to this that in every indigenous language, words become universal categories linked to the protection of the environment. , and their worldview. This means that the state committed a crime throughout the republican period by continuing with the colonial educational policy that sought the disappearance of nationalities.
If we look at the figures a bit, we can see that according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission CVR, there are 70 thousand cases of violation of human rights of which 75% refer to indigenous peoples who remain in poverty levels and extreme poverty. Of these violations only 2% are being aired in the judiciary.
If Australian arrogance acquiesced in the face of the misdeeds committed against its indigenous peoples, I believe that the Peruvian state must also apologize for all the crimes, plunder and other atrocities committed during the Republican period, and the state bodies must prepare for a policy of reconciliation and peace with concrete bases of justice, return of lands and territories, natural and historical sanctuaries and the recovery of nations and languages to indigenous peoples.
* The Dr. Miguel Ibáñez He is Senior Lecturer at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and a member of the Committee for the Decade of Indigenous Peoples. United Nations.