Bosques que matan

NUEVA YORK – Edwin Chota encontró la muerte en la selva que luchaba por proteger. Este activista ambiental peruano había solicitado ayuda a su gobierno tras recibir amenazas de muerte por parte de los taladores ilegales que pululan por la zona vecina a su aldea, situada en la profundidad de la selva amazónica. Pese a su solicitud, en septiembre, él y otros tres prominentes miembros de la comunidad asháninka de Perú, fueron emboscados y baleados a muerte en un sendero de la jungla cuando se dirigían a un encuentro con activistas de Brasil, su país vecino. La viuda de Chota viajó durante seis días por vía fluvial para llegar a la capital regional e informar de los asesinatos.

La muerte de Chota es un recordatorio del precio que los activistas locales en algunas de las zonas más remotas del mundo están pagando por defender sus comunidades de la explotación y la industrialización. La demanda mundial de recursos naturales está en aumento, y a las comunidades indígenas no se les brinda mayor protección frente a quienes quisieran destruir sus territorios, selvas y ríos. De hecho, se las está asesinando impunemente a un ritmo alarmante, a veces con la complicidad de las propias autoridades gubernamentales.

Perú es uno de los principales ejemplos. Según revela un informe recientemente dado a conocer por el grupo activista Global Witness, Perú ocupa el cuarto lugar del mundo en cuanto a asesinatos de activistas ambientales (después de Brasil, Honduras y las Filipinas), con 58 de ellos asesinados entre 2002 y 2013. Más de la mitad del país está cubierto por selvas, pero se las está destruyendo de manera cada vez más rápida para satisfacer el voraz apetito internacional por madera y productos afines.

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