from thefreeonline 21st July 2022
Under the new constitution approved in 1999 when the Chavez led Revolution came to power in Venezuela the hundreds of small surviving indigenous groups and their Commune culture were granted a special place and dignity.
However the landowning oligarchy, in power since the Spanish conquest disagreed and many wished they had completely exterminated the indigenous peoples.
So either support or opposition to indigenous rights and culture became one theme in the media, street and military battle between the mass popular revolution and the ex rulers and upper middle class.
The opposition, backed as always by the USA, CIA and military, corporations, some ONG’s and the western mass media, succeeded in closing down the key oil industry, blockading trade and branding Chavez and the revolution as execrable totalitarians.
Despite various military coup attempts from the USA the state run revolution survived, due to key army support, strong social programs, and mass popular and nationalist approval, including from the Communes Movement, which dated back to Indigenous times.
With the blockage of the National Parliament, hunger, bankruptcy and intense sanctions and international pressure the State became more repressive, jailing opponents and protestors.
The popular Constituent Assembly was also organised, in parallel to the bourgeois parliament. It works with quotas of seats for various social and ethnic groups, like indigenous, women, the communes, unions, etc.
Special elections were also recently organised in Indigenous areas, in the spirit of reparations, with guaranteed number of seats…
All in all both the Venezuelan state and hundreds of civil society and indigenous groups are making an effort to repair centuries of terror and extermination.
However hatred, racism and killings continue, often by far right mercenaries linked to the much greater state and US sponsored killings across the border in Colombia, where thousands of indigenous, community and ex FARC members have been murdered with impunity.
(Although we now at last have a progressive President in Colombia, Petro still only has minority power against the entrenched oligarchy).
The killings, devastation and severe repression of Indigenous folks in the southern Amazonas State stems mainly from a plague of artesanal gold miners organised in militarised mafias , and extending their operations from Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, etc.
Venezuela is falsely accused by some western media of racist collaboration with the gold mining mafia in destroying the indigenous nations, as well as their culture, and poisoning the unique and irreplaceable ecosystems and cultures of the last Jungle mountains.
The MSM media accusations stem from Venezuela’s legalisation of gold mining, in the face of bankruptcy from the US blockade. But this permission applies to areas outside the Amazonas province, see map.
Murder of indigenous leader in Amazonas was denounced before international bodies
The special rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples of the United Nations Organization, Francisco Calle, denounced before international authorities the murder of indigenous leader Virgilio Trujillo, which occurred on June 30 in Puerto Ayacucho.
This was announced by the lawyer Olnar Ortiz during an interview for the program Punto y Seguimos of Radio Fe y Alegría Noticias, where he revealed some information about the case.
Ortiz confirmed that the member of the Indigenous Territorial Guard of the Uwottüja people in the Sipapo region, Amazonas, was actively denouncing the presence of armed groups in the area.
He pointed out that several groups, including the Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon (Orpia) to which Trujillo belonged, had requested protection measures from the Public Ministry after being victims of threats, however, they were never agreed upon.
The Foro Penal activist also pointed out that despite the inaction of the authorities, “in this case the Public Ministry appointed special prosecutors for the investigations.”
The homicide of the indigenous leader occurred in the Escondido 3 sector of Puerto Ayacucho. According to witnesses at the scene, the victim got out of a vehicle with other people, who shot him and fled the scene.
Trujillo was part of the territorial guard that located a clandestine track in San Pedro del Orinoco, Amazonas. This information was documented in an investigative work on illegal mining by Armando.Info and El País of Spain, which won the XII Edition of the IPYS Venezuela National Journalism Contest.
The Kapé Kapé organization pointed out that the 38-year-old man “made a strong opposition to the presence of foreign groups and illegal mining exploitation in indigenous territories of the Uwottuja people, in the Alto Guayapo area, where there are groups that are in favor and others against environmental depredation.
(Press Release ..Nota de Prensa ..Kapé Kapé)
This Thursday, June 30, 2022, Virgilio Trujillo Arana, 38, an indigenous person from the Uwottüja people, who was the coordinator and one of the founders of the indigenous guard, which is in charge of protecting the territory, was murdered in Puerto Ayacucho. ancestral uwottüja from the Autana municipality in Amazonas state.
According to some witnesses, Trujillo Arana was thrown from a vehicle, where he was apparently tied up, and then received several shots that took his life. According to information obtained from police sources, the investigation is treating the murder as done by hit men.
Trujillo Arana was a resident of the Sardinita community, Alto Autana, where from an early age he strongly opposed the presence of irregular groups and the practice of illegal mining in Uwottüja indigenous territories, specifically towards the Alto Guayapo area.
He even accompanied members of the Bolivarian Venezuela National Armed Forces, in the latest operations to evict the so-called “Tancol”, (Colombian Armed Drug Trafficking Terrorists) out of Venezuelan territory.
These operations have destroyed clandestine landing strips, sites used for drug processing, and even seized planes.
This accompaniment and the consequent action to defend the Uwottüja ancestral territory cost Virgilio Trujillo his life, according to some of his Uwottüja brothers who spoke with Kapé Kapé.
The murder of this indigenous territorial guardian has provoked the rejection of indigenous leaders and organizations in the state of Amazonas.
Such is the case of the Regional Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Amazonas, ORPIA, who in a statement denounced the incident and demanded justice from the civil and military authorities for the murder of their comrade in struggle and defender of territory.
For his part, Hortimio Ochoa, from the Piaroa Indigenous Organization for the Protection of the Cataniapo Basin, in a post on his Facebook account lamented the murder of Trujillo Arana and added that “we will continue to demand and denounce all actions that endanger our existence.” …our indigenous life is as important as that of any citizen of the world”.
On the morning of this Friday, July 1, the body of Virgilio Trujillo
Arana underwent a legal autopsy, despite the opposition of the Uwottüja indigenous people. After the procedure, the body of the indigenous leader was handed over to his family and friends.
Virgilio is the second murder against a uwottüja leader that occurs in Puerto Ayacucho.
In May 2017, Freddy Menare, founder and leader of the Sipapo Uwottüja People’s Indigenous Organization, OIPUS, was murdered while walking down a street in the Amazonian capital, in a crime that went unpunished.
It is up to the authorities to give an energetic response to this fact, as a way to prevent the Amazonas state from replicating situations like those that occur in Colombia, where indigenous, social and environmental leaders are frequently assassinated for their defense of human rights. –
(Kapé Kapé Press Release)
Kapé Kapé Civil Association
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Asociación Civil Kapé Kapé
Virgilio Trujillo Arana, who led community defense from criminal groups and illegal mining, was gunned down in broad daylight
The activist would also denounce in this forum the violence of which indigenous women throughout the country are also victims, including some femicides.
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