Wednesday, June 2, 2010

White House Protest Commemorates Bagua

Q’orianka Kilcher, the actress who is known for her portrayal of Pocahontas in "The New World" for which she received a Critics Choice Award and, more recently, the Hawaiian "Princess Ka'iulani", "wanted to draw the world's attention to the crisis that is being experienced in Peru" when she chained herself to the White House fence yesterday to protest the visit of President Alan Garcia, said Carlos Quiroz, author of the Peruanista blog.

He said that the Tuesday protest was to denounce human rights abuses committed by the Peruvian government and to remember the one year anniversary of Bagua, where a confrontation between police and indigenous people left dozens dead.

"She and her mother Siska Kilcher were arrested after Q’Orianka, draped in the Peruvian flag, chained herself to the White House fence and her mother doused her with black paint, symbolizing the oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon, and the abuses against native Amazonians", he added. Q'orianka is being charged with disorderly conduct. Her mother is charged with defacing U.S. government property.

Quiroz explained that the actress, whose father is Quechua, might have stayed at home in Los Angeles, but she came to Washington to join the activists who, together with human rights and environmental organizations, were opposing Garcia's presence. Q’Orianka has been a long-time supporter of Amazon Watch and AIDESEP and recently made the news when she accompanied AIDESEP leader Alberto Pizango on his return to Peru from Nicaragua where he had been living in exile after Bagua. Pizango was arrested at the airport, held overnight and then released on personal recognizance.

"She protested personally and privately. She wanted to call the world's attention to the crisis in Peru. Q’orianka is of Peruvian origin and she knows Peru better than some people who have never left Lima. Therefore she has the right to participate in Peruvian affairs", Quiroz concluded.

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