"I think the biggest threat that exists in the Amazon is man." Fatima is from Lugo and has been living in the Peruvian Amazon for four years. His statement sums up well the spirit of the RTVE program that has revealed one of those threats. Almudena Ariza hosts Spaniards in Conflict, a format created by La Cometa TV that seeks to discover, through the eyes of Spaniards, how people live in the most complex regions of the world.
Minerals, gold, oil, wood... There are many Amazonian resources that attract mafias. "The most coveted and isolated treasure in the world," describes Ariza. The result is worrying deforestation, leading to the disappearance of entire indigenous peoples. From Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon, the largest city in the world with no access by road, only by air and water and which is called "the Venice of the Amazon", the veteran RTVE reporter has revealed an integrated local arms trafficking network by police with great repercussion in Peru, where more than 7,000 Spaniards live.
At one point in the episode broadcast last week, Almudena Ariza interviews two drug traffickers who appear anonymously with their faces covered. Peluche and scorpion are their nicknames and they have just been released from prison, where they have served a sentence for belonging to a criminal gang. Their main business has been illegal logging, and for that they need weapons. It is her conversation with the Spanish journalist that has revealed a network of police corruption.
-Who supplies them with weapons?
-The same police. They rent them to you.
The two men explain in great detail that thanks to complicity with the Peruvian National Police, the mafias illegally traffic 200 million logs a year, and that this production allows them to finance drug trafficking, their other big business. Always with direct involvement of the corrupt police. Several written media have taken the investigation of Spaniards in conflicts to their front pages, and it has been widely disseminated on radio and national television channels.
Following the denunciation of the RTVE program, Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has ordered an investigation. "Have no doubt that events like these, if proven, will be drastically sanctioned," said Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.
The general of the Peruvian National Police himself, Jorge Angulo, has confirmed that these cases happen and that "it is not a new issue," reports El Comercio. "Responsibilities are individual, but when that offender belongs to an institution it becomes an institutional problem," declared the police chief, who confirmed that an investigation will be launched, "we warned a long time ago: it is not all, it has there have been agents, and I have to admit that".
"My question is: if they knew, then why didn't they investigate before?" Almudena Ariza wonders in conversation with EL MUNDO. "I have received messages from Peruvians thanking me for the report and regretting that this type of denunciation is not made in the media of their country," he says, "it seems that something is going to move and that the documentary, at least, is going to have the connections between the police and criminal gangs in the Amazon region investigated".
"Peru, according to the latest report from Transparency International, is among the countries with the highest corruption rate in Latin America. And the population knows it," explains Ariza, "in Iquitos many recognize that there is collusion between the authorities and criminal networks. It seems that it is an open secret, but not everyone dares to denounce it." And he concludes: "What has happened is one of those things that give meaning to our trade."
According to the criteria of The Trust Project