Welcome to the Jungle
With the economy disintegrating faster than a sandcastle at high tide and Afghanistan finally getting the attention due to it, perhaps even a news maven may be forgiven for not knowing about the massacre taking place all over Peru.
The US-Peru FTA was one of the last major evils ratified into law by George W. Bush, who on January 16th signed the bill first approved by Congress in 2007. Democrats at the time warned the administration that the FTA would not address worker's rights and Peru, for its own part, did barely what was required of them to qualify for the trade agreement's implementation. Labor rights were certainly not among them.
To date, at least 100 peaceful protesters have been murdered by police and government forces by automatic weapons fire and even heavy equipment. Bodies and even the wounded have been "disappeared" according to credible sources. The Peruvian government led by Alan Garcia has already begun a massive propaganda campaign to demonize the protesters who were armed literally with nothing but sticks and stones and mowed down by machine guns. "They attacked us first and were terrorists", we're hearing.
We heard the same thing in the wake of Kent State in 1970. If you defy the state and stand in the way of corporate profits or even defend your homeland, your property and your culture, you're a terrorist. It's a cynical usage of a word that's supposed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of anyone who hears it but it's overused so much it's long since lost its shock value. It's merely another familiar word like Wii or iPod.
Yet since the Senate passed the law by a wide 77-18 margin, they had no business carping about a Free Trade Agreement that they must have known was nothing more than one nation giving permission to a smaller nation to co-opt and steal land and other resources that rightfully belongs to their indigenous people. Congress must have known what would've been involved. It's not as if this kind of thing has never happened since HW's New World Order began horribly blooming. They must have known as did Bush that the indigenous peoples' labor rights and property would've been the first casualties at the altar of corporate profits. Unfortunately, workers' rights and parcels of land weren't the last.
They also must have known what Alan Garcia would do when he was first elected president and ordered massacres that perhaps took the lives of over 1600 people. His first presidency was like the Bush administration on steroids. Under Garcia, inflation reached 2,200,200% and nearly half the nation was living in poverty. His two reelections were merely the product of voters choosing the lesser of two evils. No wonder George W. Bush thought he'd be the ideal man with whom we could do business in Peru.
It's now 145 days since Bush ratified the FTA. This is what lawmakers ranging from Rep. John Boehner to Sen. Charles Schumer had also wrought because no one devoted a thought past the US gaining greater access to Peru's natural resources and not much thought as to what would inevitably happen when the indigenous people of the Amazonian rain forest would protest having their land and rights stripped from them.