Santos apologizes to indigenous community

Oct. 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM
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BOGOTA, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- The president of Colombia has issued an apology to indigenous communities in the Amazon for deaths and destruction caused by the rubber boom.

From 1912 to 1929, a Peruvian company tapped rubber trees near La Chorrera in the south, committing human rights abuses including forced labor, slavery, torture and mutilation -- resulting in the death of as many as 100,000 people and devastating communities in the process, the BBC reported.

President Juan Manuel Santos apologized Friday "in the name of a company, a government" and asked for forgiveness "for all the dead and their orphans."

Santos said at the time of the rubber boom, the government of the day "failed to understand the importance of safeguarding each indigenous person and culture as an essential part of a society we now understand as multiethnic and multicultural."

"It is essential to contribute towards healing the wounds inflicted on your lives and in the memory of our nation," Santos said.

Santos vowed such abuses would never happen again.

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