Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Peruvian anti-logging activist Edwin Chota walks on a trail near the village of Saweto, Peru in 2011. Chota and three other Indigenous activists were killed in 2014, and on Thursday, five men in the logging industry were charged with their murders. (Photo by Scott Wallace/Getty Images)

In 'Glimmer of Accountability,' Executives, Loggers Charged in 2014 Murders of Four Indigenous Land Defenders in Peru

Environmental campaigners called the charges "unprecedented."

Julia Conley

Environmental defenders applauded Friday as prosecutors in Peru charged five men in the powerful logging industry with the murders of four Indigenous land protectors.

After a years-long investigation, "Peruvian justice did a 180," said the Rainforest Foundation.

After a years-long investigation, two executives and three loggers were formally accused on Wednesday of murdering Edwin Chota, Jorge Ríos Pérez, Leoncio Quinticima, and Francisco Pinedo in 2014. The four men had fought illegal logging in the Upper Tamaya-Saweto Asháninka territory in the Amazon of Peru, where they were found shot to death.

Charges for industry executives in the deaths of land defenders—164 of whom were killed around the world in 2018—are thought to be "unprecedented," according to the Associated Press.

"Five years after the murder of four Indigenous leaders who stood up to illegal loggers in the Peruvian Amazon, the family and community is finally getting some justice," tweeted the Rainforest Foundation.

The news was also praised by the nonprofit Indigenous rights group Amazon Watch and sustainability consultant Andrea Johnson, who applauded the "glimmer of accountability."

Chota, Pérez, Quinticima, and Pinedo were found dead after filing formal complaints with prosecutors in their territory about illegal logging.

A 2012 report by the World Bank revealed that about 80 percent of logging exports from Peru are obtained illegally by the timber industry.

The four men were among 10 land defenders from around the world who were killed in 2014 amid disputes with logging industries. According to Global Witness, which tracks the killings of environmental campaigners every year, 116 people were killed that year in struggles against agribusiness, mining companies, and other corporate interests. Forty percent of those killed were Indigenous people.

In the case of the four Indigenous men in Peru, Global Witness reported, "The loggers were able to take advantage of the Peruvian government's failure to fulfill [its] pledge to officially recognize the Indigenous land."

Illegal loggers were immediately suspected by the local community of being behind the killings, but supporters expressed doubt in 2014 that anyone would be held to account.

"There's so much corruption in the regional governments that these logging mafias can kill our brothers with impunity," Henderson Renfigo of the Peruvian Indigenous rights organization AIDESEP told The Guardian at the time.

Prosecutor Otoniel Jara charged the five suspects after authorities who had previously overseen the case abandoned it. The suspects each face up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

"This is good," Asháninka Diana Ríos, the daughter of Jorge Ríos, told the AP. "This is not going to be filed away and forgotten."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Lancet Report Warns Planetary Crisis Will Spur More Infectious Diseases, Climate Refugees

While raising alarm about an "increasingly extreme and unpredictable environment," experts emphasize that "the world is faced with an unprecedented opportunity to ensure a healthy future for all."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Hanging Your Constituents Out to Dry': 5 Sinema Advisers Quit in Protest

"You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people."

Brett Wilkins ·

Leaked Docs Reveal Fossil Fuel-Soaked Nations Lobbying to Sabotage Climate Action

"They are using every opportunity to protect their corporate interests and continue with business as usual while the planet burns."

Andrea Germanos ·

Big Pharma, Rich Nations Have Delivered Just 14% of Vaccine Doses Promised to Poor Nations

"It is painfully clear that the developing world cannot rely on the largesse and charity of rich nations and pharmaceutical companies, and hundreds of thousands of people are dying from Covid-19 as a result."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo