Peru, Trade and the Amazon: An open letter to Nancy Pelosi

I’m in a hotel room in Cuzco, Peru right now. Fighting off altitude sickness, finding myself on wi-fi reading about the country I’m visiting. Articles like this one, Protestors Gird for Long Fight Over Opening Peru’s Amazon.

For what it’s worth, I just drafted this letter and sent it to the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at her website.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,

I am writing you concerning trade and justice in Peru. The recent violent clashes in the Peruvian Amazon between police and indigenous protestors have brought to the forefront the human rights and environmental issues that exist in this sensitive and resource-rich region.

In the wake of the recent controversy in Peru, the Peruvian Congress has suspended land decrees that are the cause of so much concern to the indigenous protestors. I urge you to examine the connection of these decrees by the Peruvian Government with the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement of 2007.

At the time of the approval of this trade agreement, a press release from your office stated:

“Today, the House built upon President John F. Kennedy’s legacy of free trade by passing an agreement that promotes both free and fair trade.

“The Peru Free Trade Agreement represents a remarkable breakthrough because Democrats were able to secure enforceable, basic labor rights and environmental standards in the core text of a free trade agreement.”

If there is, as you said, a foundation for ‘both free and fair trade’ in this agreement, then surely you will be concerned with the current political crisis in the Peruvian Amazon. The people who live there are not convinced that ‘labor rights and environmental standards’ are sufficiently ensured by this trade agreement, as recent events have demonstrated.

I urge you to make the language of your statement on the US-Peru FTA a reality, and to push for negotiations with the Peruvian Government and amendments to the US-Peru FTA that will ensure the environmental integrity of the Amazon and the human rights of its indigenous inhabitants.


Justin Allen
A San Francisco voter, currently traveling in Peru

Last edited: September 17, 2016

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