Fernando Santos Granero

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12. March by FEDECANAL, the peasant/Indian organization, Iquitos, circa 1980.

By the early 1960s, Loreto’s agroextractive economy was exhausted. Decreasing demand for tropical products, new sources of credit, better communication with the capital, and competition by a new generation of entrepreneurs caused the closure of most traditional merchant houses. Better education, democratization of the fluvial transport, and greater economic opportunities provided the means for fundo peons to become emancipated from their bosses. The number of fundos decreased from 637 in 1940 to 15 in 1981, while independent peasant and native communities increased from 440 to 1,865. Previously disenfranchised population sectors began to organize and fight for their rights with the support of liberation theology missionaries, the military government of Gral. Velasco Alvarado, and the leftist parties.

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