Tag Archives: peru

Community Justice vs. Minas Conga Mine

30 Jun
Local indigenous farmers on horseback form part of a protest against the Minas Conga gold mine, June 17, 2013

Local indigenous farmers on horseback form part of a protest against the Minas Conga gold mine, June 17, 2013

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.

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Peru Spares Amazon Rainforest From Oil And Gas Push

16 May

Ashanika warriors occupy oil boat in the Peruvian Amazon, May 2009

Cross Posted From Root Force

This article from the Guardian shows why indigenous movements have fought so hard for Peru’s new law requiring extractive industry to consult with affected indigenous communities, why industrial interests have so consistently opposed, and why mining companies pushed so hard for the recent decision that excluded millions of indigenous Peruvians from that law’s protection. Note, of course, that the oil company is making it clear that they will still go ahead with exploiting indigenous lands whether the affected communities like it or not. We’ll see what the communities have to say about that.

Peru spares Amazon rainforest from oil and gas push

New hydrocarbon sites will all be offshore, but campaigners fear contentious oil and gas development in Amazon will still go ahead

Peru has announced a bidding round for new oil and gas concessions but, contrary to what was initially expected, none of them are in the Amazon rainforest.

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In Arizona and Peru: Why Reform Won’t Work

1 May

Cross Posted from Root Force:

Indigneous Quechua-speakers in Peru have been at the forefront of the battle against Newmont Mining Corp's Minas Conga gold mine.

Indigneous Quechua-speakers in Peru have been at the forefront of the battle against Newmont Mining Corp’s Minas Conga gold mine.

Two recent news stories highlight the fundamental problem with directing reformist efforts at a global economic system that is founded on colonialism, genocide and extinction. While of course it’s important to use a diversity of tactics to achieve our goals, and while it’s important to recognize and celebrate even partial victories, these stories remind us how the system reacts when we achieve victories that actually threaten its ongoing profits:

• Despite a 2012 ban on hard-rock mining in a one million acre area surrounding the Grand Canyon, the uranium mining firm Energy Fuels Resources has been given federal approval to reopen its Canyon Mine. The rationale? The company’s “rights” to extract a poisonous fuel by destroying the Grand Canyon, the surrounding watershed, and indigenous territory predate the ban.

• In Peru, the government is rolling back a landmark indigenous rights law at the behest of mining companies. Under the new policy, mining companies no longer need to even consult with the vast majority of Peru’s indigenous peoples before proceeding with plans to destroy their land.

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Protests, Lawsuits and Arson: South American Mine Resistance

12 Apr

 

 

Thousands of indigenous peoples led by CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) converge on Quito in March 2012 after a 15-day march demanding an end to open pit mining and new oil concessions. (Amazon Watch)

Thousands of indigenous peoples led by CONAIE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador) converge on Quito in March 2012 after a 15-day march demanding an end to open pit mining and new oil concessions. (Amazon Watch)Three stories of mines resistance from our southern neighbors:

• Four hundred protesters stormed the planned site of the Minas Conga mine in Yanacocha, Peru, and set fire to construction equipment yesterday. Minas Conga would be the biggest gold mine in Peru, and has been the target of sustained protests from local indigenous residents who say the mine would destroy their water supply. In July, police killed five protesters in anti-mine clashes; the deaths led to a pending complaint to the Inter-American Human Rights Court.

• On April 3, 30 protesters crashed the opening of the Expominas trade fair in Quito, Ecuador, where the government was seeking to coax new investments in mineral and oil mining. Protesters crashed the inaugural speech by singing a rewritten version of the popular hip-hop song “Latinoamérica” by Calle 13: “You cannot buy Intag, you cannot buy Mirador, you can’t buy Kimsacocha, you can’t buy my Ecuador.”

Ecuador is home to a powerful (largely indigenous) anti-mines movement. Leftist President Rafael Correa’s support for big mining has been a major factor costing him support from much of his former base.

• A Chilean court has suspended construction of Barrick Gold’s long- embattled Pascua Lama mine, based on complaints from local indigenous communities that the mine will destroy their water supply. Unfortunately, the injunction does not affect construction in the Argentinean portion of the project, including the process plant and tailings storage facility.

from Root Force

Anti-Mining Protests in Peru Surge, Mayor Arrested

30 May

Compiled & Composed by Britni

Peruvian riot police clad with helmets and plastic shields charged in to the municipal building in Espinar, Peru on Wednesday  to arrest mayor Oscar Mollohuanca in his office for leading a protest against Swiss-based global mining company Xstrata. This is President Ollanta Humala’s latest attempt to end conflicts over natural resources in favor of mining investments. The recent protests against expanding the mining projects in Peru are part of an ongoing struggle and the climate of unrest surges.

Anti-mining protests against the Peruvian government’s latest plan to expand the profits from Xstrata has highlighted Peru’s class divide. In a conflict of interest, thousands of city-dwelling Peruvians who have profited from the violent extraction of resources resulting in a commodities boom in the past decade marched in support of the country’s largest-ever $50 billion mining project on Tuesday. Meanwhile, 60 percent of rural Peruvians are poverty-stricken, and many involved in similar mining projects are injured or dead. Continue reading

One Indigenous Among Three Killed in Peru’s March 14 Protests

18 Mar

Police officers and miners clash during a protest in Puerto Maldonado, Peru, Wednesday, March 14, 2012. Thousands of illegal gold miners battled police for control of a regional capital in the Amazon basin on Wednesday and at least three people were killed by gunfire. The miners are fighting government efforts to regulate small-scale gold extraction, which is ravaging the rain forest, contaminating it with tons of mercury.

[EF! Newswire note: The politics behind this story are tricky. We suggest reading more background on recent mining struggles to get a clearer picture of the context in which these protests have occurred.]

A Shipibo man was one of three people killed March 14 in Puerto Maldonado, in Peru’s southeastern Amazon region, during a protest against new laws designed to control wildcat gold mining in the country’s Madre de Dios region.

Francisco Areque, 38, of the San José de Karene community in the Manú province, died shortly after 1 p.m. on March 14. Reports said he was shot, but his brother, Marco Areque, said that the official autopsy report was inconclusive.

Marco Areque said his brother’s widow, Natalia Omnia, a Harakmbut, told him she and her husband were sitting with a group of demonstrators in a town square when about 20 police approached. The group scattered, and when Francisco turned around, he was struck in the face and collapsed.

He was to be buried March 15.

Ten communities belonging to the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and its Tributaries (Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes, FENAMAD) are participating in the protests. The demonstrations began March 5, shutting down commerce in Puerto Maldonado, and became violent after talks with government officials broke down on March 12.

Officials estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 miners had joined the protests in Puerto Maldonado by March 14, when protesters tried to take over the airport and the main market. Eyewitnesses reported hearing gunfire.

The miners oppose a series of new laws designed to crack down on “informal” mining – claims where the miners lack authorization from environmental authorities and generally fail to comply with labor, occupational safety and health, and environmental standards. The new decrees make mining without proper authorization a criminal offense punishable by a prison term.

They also define an area, generally along the Madre de Dios River, where mining would be permitted, and prohibit it in other areas, especially the buffer zone of the Tambopata Natural Reserve, where thousands of miners began working last year.

FENAMAD representatives participating in talks with miners’ associations and government officials on March 12 stayed at the table even after the miners walked out, but then rejoined the protest. The group is seeking a special exemption that would allow communities to mine gold on their own lands.

To read full article go to source as cross-posted from here

Most Biodiverse Place on Earth Could Open for Oil Exploration

23 Sep

A new map highlights the importance of conserving Yasuni National Park as the most biodiverse ecosystem in the Western Hemisphere, and maybe even on Earth. Scientists released the map to coincide with the United National General Assembly in support of a first-of-its-kind initiative to save the park from oil exploration through international donations. Known as the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, the plan, if successful, would protect a 200,000 hectare bloc in Yasuni National Park from oil drilling in return for a trust fund of over $3 billion.

“The map indicates that Yasuni National Park is part of a small, unique zone with the maximum biological diversity in the Western Hemisphere,” explained Clinton Jenkins, lead designer of the map and Research Scholar at North Carolina State University, in a press release.

The map shows that eastern Ecuador (the location of Yasuni) and northeastern Peru have the highest number of species in the hemisphere based on data on birds, mammals, amphibians, and plants. To highlight this point, researchers have found more tree species (655 to be exact) in a single hectare in Yasuni than in all of the US and Canada combined. Yasuni also contains the highest biodiversity of reptiles and amphibians in the world with 271 species. But bugs may win the day yet: according to entomologist Terry Erwin, a single hectare of rainforest in Yasuni may contain as many as 100,000 unique insect species. This estimate, if proven true, is the highest per unit area in the world for any taxa, plant or animal.

Oil is currently Ecuador’s biggest exporter and the nation’s economy remains largely dependent on the fossil fuel. But oil has also brought the nation trouble with pollution, disease, forest destruction, and conflict with indigenous people.

Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, has said that if the fund does not receive its first $100 million by this December, he will cancel the initiative and oil drilling will proceed.

To see the map and read the full article click here