The Dublin based human rights and solidarity organisation Grupo Raices (Grúpa Fréamhacha) in collaboration with the Ireland Institute invite you to discuss the legacy of Roger Casement in his struggle for the rights of the Putumayo Indians, in the Colombian-Peruvian Amazon, and the situation there 100 years on.
The event will take place in the Pearse Centre (27 Pearse, Dublin 2), Tuesday 28th of April 2015 at 18:00
Speakers: Angus Mitchell (Historian and activist) & Andrés Sacanambuy (Human Rights Defender of Putumayo)
A little over a century ago, the Irish nationalist revolutionary Roger Casement denounced the abuses against the Putumayo Indians happening in the Amazon borderlands between Peru, Colombia and Brazil. His investigation resulted in the most detailed official investigation ever undertaken into the human cost of ‘Red Rubber’.
Today, a century on, the borders may have changed, but the situation has not improved. The extractive economy, deforestation, ethnocide, displacement, disappearance and resistance persist as overused words in the daily communication of the Putumayo communities in the Amazon.
In order to help us to understand how the past impacts on the present and how the present reflects the past, Grupo Raices (Grúpa Fréamhacha) and the Ireland institute will provide an evening of discussion and debate from two leading activists:
Dr Angus Mitchell is an authority on Roger Casement’s human rights work in South America. He is the author of a recent biography of Roger Casement (part of the 16 Lives series, published by O’Brien Press) and editor of The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement (Lilliput Press, 1997) and Sir Roger Casement’s Heart of Darkness: the 1911 Documents (Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2003).
From the Amazon, the Putumayo community leader, Andrés Sacanambuy will relate the current issues that are shaping regional development. He is the spokesperson for a network of some fifty associations representing peasant movements, indigenous voices, workers, women and youth associations from throughout the Putumayo.
A century on from Casement’s denunciations of the abuses perpetrated by Peruvian rubber barons, and the role of international venture capital in the untrammeled destruction of both environment and community, we might validly ask: how much has changed? What is the situation of the indigenous world today? What new challenges are faced by the environment and by local communities in the name of progress? What is the legacy of Casement and his work building international solidarity in both Ireland and South America?