Government apologizes to indigenous people of the Amazon for rubber genocide

Government apologizes to indigenous people of the Amazon for rubber genocide
Government apologizes to indigenous people of the Amazon for rubber genocide

Today we must look them in the eyes and ask for forgiveness. Western society, the settlers, the businessmen (…) were cruel against you, against your people,” said the Minister of Culture, Juan David Correa, in the symbolic Casa Arana, one of the main rubber collection centers. at the time.

Indigenous people from the Uitoto, Bora, Ocaira and Muinane peoples received the government spokesperson with songs and traditional costumes in a field next to this hacienda on the triple border between Colombia, Brazil and Peru.

Correa denounced “the horror of the rubber produced in these territories“, where nine indigenous peoples live, to whom in 1988 the Colombian State restored their lands.

The regime of terror lasted until the beginning of the 20th century, according to the government, and was immortalized in the award-winning film “Embrace of the Serpent” by the Colombian Ciro Guerra.

The government assures that a “genocide” was committed in the Amazonwhen thousands of indigenous people died amid forced labor, torture, famine and plagues caused by the precarious conditions in which they lived.

The visit coincides with the centenary of the publication of the novel The Maelstrom, by the Colombian writer José Eustasio Rivera. Considered a classic of Colombian literature and Latin American social realism, The book exposes the inhuman treatment that the indigenous people received during the so-called “rubber fever”which had its peak between 1879 and 1912.

“There are still many things that have not been written about what happened within the framework of Casa Arana,” Ángel Cerayitoga, leader of the indigenous peoples of the area, said at the event.

Julio César Arana was a Peruvian businessman and politician who at the end of the 19th century formed a rubber empire in South America through the Peruvian Amazon Company, financed with English capital and which operated in what are now the territories of Peru, Colombia and Ecuador.

The Crimes committed for the expansion of his lands led Arana to appear before the British Parliament in 1913., after a verification mission carried out in the area by the British consul in Rio de Janeiro, Roger Casament. Asked by a House of Commons committee about the “atrocities” committed, Arana partially admitted responsibility.

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