Death In The Peru Rainforest - Mahogany And The Huni Kuin
Publisher: Donald R Houser
Maria, who was born in Peru but grew up in the United States, has come to Peru to write environmental stories for the Guardian newspaper and escape her brutal ex-husband and chauvinist boss. She and her friend, Huapu, leader of the Huni Kuin in the Alto Purus Rainforest, meet Michael on the train to Machu Picchu. Michael, a former police detective and susequent journalist, has come to Peru to see Machu Picchu and attempt to restart his life after the debilitating death of his wife and child. Maria invites Michael to accompany her to Huapu's village in the rainforest. She is helping Huapu expose the illegal logging in the Alto Purus and protect the Huni Kuin's indigenous rights. Maria and Michael fly into Puerto Esperanza where they are met by Sami and Santo, Huni Kuin natives, who take them up the Purus and Caranja Rivers to Huapu's village. When they travel upriver to the Alto Purus Reserve, they encounter gun shots as Maria is taking photographs for her new article on the illegal mahogany logging. Michael is not sure what he has got himself involved in, but feels he should help Maria and Huapu. He is mesmerized by Maria's alluring beauty, and, finally overcoming his reticence, he initiates physical contact. Thier romance burgeons as they immerse themselves in village life and participate in tribal ceremonies.
As the violence escalates, they seek help from the Puerto Esperanza Mayor, who Huapu is convinced is corrupt, and then the Minister of Environment in Lima to no success. When the violence turns from scaring them to attempts to kill them in the Reserve and in Cusco, they turn to Captain Garcia, head of police in Cusco, even though Garcia was testy and unsympatheic to Maria when they first met during Garcia's investigation of Maria'a office burgulary. Garcia reluctanly agrees to help. After he consults with his police friend in Lima, Comandante Vasquez, he suggests that Maria contact the Minister of Culture, who is know to be supportive of indigenous rights. At the meeting with the Minister of Culture in Lima, Maria shows the Minister photographs of the assasins shooting at them, the loggers hiding the illegal cut mahogany in their raft, the loggers visiting the East Peru Lumber Company, and the Mayor visiting the loggers' house.
The Minister is appalled by the violence perpetuated against Maria and the apparent impunity that the loggers enjoy. He orders Comandante Vasquez to raid Puerto Esperanza, arrest the loggers and the Mayor, and confiscate the records of the East Peru Lumber Company. The story comes to a gripping and deadly conclusion when Comandate Vasquez and Captain Garcia fly into Puerto Esperanza to execute their early morning raid.