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Andean indigenous reject FTA with Europe

Andean Indigenous Reject FTA with Europe

Lima, Nov 23 2008 (Prensa Latina) — Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI) ratified rejection of a free trade agreement that governments of Colombia and Peru want to sign with the European Union.

This reiteration is contained in a letter CAOI representative Miguel Palacin addressed to Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde, referring to the latter’s threats to expel Bolivian social leaders allegedly in Peru to take part in protests against the agreement.

The letter makes clear that the presence of Bolivian indigenous leaders in Lima last week stemmed from a CAOI meeting with the Consultative Council of Indigenous Peoples of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

The meeting discussed the crisis within CAN triggered by the attitude of governments in Colombia and Peru, committed to break up the over thirty-year old Andean integration by refusing to negotiate in bloc with the EU, the text adds.

Palacin warns that indigenous organizations have the right to meet to discuss the issue and maintains that the said negotiation "is being held behind the Peruvians’ backs, without participation of or even broad, timely information to the civil society."

It wonders why the minister is so worried about the presence of Andean indigenous in the Can headquarters and warns that they will remain on the alert to defend their rights and national sovereignty.

Bolivian Ambassador to Peru, Frank Solano, rejected local government and press insinuations about the alleged participation of Bolivian social leaders in protests against the FTA with Europe in Peru, and made clear that his government has nothing to do with this.

CAOI leader Janios Gora said that the meeting attended by Bolivian indigenous leaders agreed to stage national protests against the FTA without indigenous intervention in other countries.

 source: Prensa Latina