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How the mafias of the multi-million dollar illegal timber business operate in Peru


Feb 4, 2023
  • Alejandra Martin
  • BBC World

image source, Emory Richey


Edwin Chota «was not afraid of illegal loggers and had registered their presence with GPS.» Chota and three other Ashaninka community leaders were killed.

In a store in the United States, China or Europe, someone buys a beautiful parquet made of fine wood. In the Peruvian jungle, four widows with their children sail downriver for days to denounce the murder of their husbands.

Thousands of kilometers away, both events are faces of a deadly conflict that occurred behind the back of the world in the Peruvian Amazon.

Edwin Chota and three other leaders of the Ashaninka indigenous community were assassinated this month. No one knew of his death until his widows arrived in the city of Pucalpa to alert the authorities.


Cedar and mahogany, precious woods for fine packages in international markets.

«The most tragic thing about this case is that it could have been prevented. It was known that Edwin Chota was threatened by illegal loggers and had asked the authorities for protection,» Julia Urrunaga, director in Peru of the Environmental Investigation Agency, told BBC Mundo , a US-based NGO.