Venezuala’s Yukpa attacked by armed “aggressors”
Posted: 25 Aug 2008 07:37 AM CDT
The Yukpa, an indigenous community in the northwestern region of Venezuela, were attacked last week by hundreds of armed aggressors. “According to the Yukpa, the aggressors were hired by elite landowners to evict the indigenous population from the vast, largely idle pastures in the region known as the Sierra de Perijá near Venezuela’s northwestern border with Colombia,” writes James Suggett of Venezuela Analysis. “The attacks were the latest and largest in a string of attempts to intimidate and terrorize a Yukpa community since they intensified their land recuperation efforts over the past year by occupying 14 privately owned estates known as Haciendas,” he continues. There have also been repeated attempts to assassinate the Yukpa Cacique (chief) Sabino Romero, who is leading the recuperation efforts. Last month, an attempt resulted in the death of Cacique Romero’s father. The aggressors once again sought him out during last week’s attack. “They arrived quietly and hit me over the neck with their guns and hit me in the back. They grabbed me by the hair and dragged me and asked for Sabino, yelling dirty words and saying they are going to kill me,” testified Guillermina Romero, Sabino’s daughter (pictured above). The Chavez government, unfortunately, has not come to the defense of the Yukpa. Nor have they taken any steps in the way of demarcating their land, as they are supposed to do under the constitution, and a 2005 Indigenous Peoples law. According to government figures, the Yukpa are among 59 other cases, out of 67, that the government has been stalling on. ...
Police in Ecuador evict 300 Indigenous families
Posted: 24 Aug 2008 10:15 AM CDT
Anywhere up to 1,000 police officers in Ecuador were sent last week to evict 300 Kichwa, Shuar and Huaorani families from a 70-hectare lot of land which the Indigenous People had reclaimed early last year. The officers used force to remove the families after they refused to leave on their own. At least one person was wounded by a gunshot during the eviction. Members of the alleged owners of the land, a group of seven (non-indigenous) families, were present as well. According to some reports, they decided to take an active role in the eviction and ‘help out,’ by setting fire to the homes that the indigenous peoples built while waiting for government recognition of their ancestral title to the land. Following the eviction, The National Indigenous Confederation of Ecuador (CONAIE), expressed its protest against the eviction, calling it an invasion, and saying, “[they] did not even give a space of 15 minutes for the owners to retrieve their things.” Explained further in a press statement, CONAIE says the families had no foreknowledge of the eviction, but that it was in any case illegal because the land historically belonged to, and was occupied by the Indigenous Peoples. Here’s a short video of the eviction, from Confirmado.net