From Root Force:
A recent Reuters article examines the role that community justice institutions have played in the struggle against the Minas Conga mine in Peru, which would be the country’s largest gold mine. The indigenous- and peasant-led resistance movement has already led to the project being placed on hold once and the President’s cabinet being reshuffled twice.
Although the article quotes several people who are obviously deeply uncomfortable with the traditional, indigenous-influenced rondero justice model due to its failure to place all authority in the hands of the state, it obviously strives to paint a fair picture. The article seems relevant not just for its relation to the Minas Conga struggle in particular, but also for expanding our frame of reference in regard to models of community justice and organizing.
For those of you who are skimmers, don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of the article’s concluding quote:
Ronderos in Cajamarca say they stopped carrying guns years ago. Punishments they mete out draw on traditional Andean practices, ranging from push-ups to lashings with cow whips. [NOTE: Peruvian cow whips are thick, not thin like the “Indiana Jones”-style whip that is designed to draw blood. Not that it necessarily feels good to be hit with one. —Root Force]
One of the most severe sentences is the “rondero chain” that requires offenders to toil in fields by day and parade barefoot through frigid villages by night, some ronderos said. It can go on for days or weeks as people are handed off from one village squad to another.
Referring to Mines and Energy Minister Jorge Merino, a laughing Ponce said: “We would make Merino carry out a rondero chain for three or four months. [Peruvian President Ollanta] Humala would get six months.”
Peru peasant squads rally against U.S. firm’s $5 billion gold mine
(Reuters) – Forty years ago, peasants in rural Peru banded together as “ronderos” – Spanish for “people who make the rounds” – to curb cattle rustling.
Today, squads of these ronderos are working toward a different aim – thwarting an American mining company’s planned $5 billion gold mining project that they contend would spoil lakes vital to the local population high in the Andes.