Old and New Conflict Between Tribes and Energy Companies
This week the Harakmbuts in Inambari find themselves threatened by Hunt Oil who plans on infiltrating their Amarakaeri communal reservation. They have also expressed concern over the construction of Inambari Hydroelectric Central, fearing damage to local biodiversity and to the Bahuaja Sonene National Park. This new conflict brings to light two similar situations in the Amazon which have been continuing for four years. The Awajun-Wampis people in the Cenepa have been fighting to reclaim the 88,774 hectares for the National Park Ichigkat Muja. This land was taken by the state four years ago to grant use to Afrodita Mining. The Putumayo Secolla-Boras in Loreto have also been asking for the the Güeppi area to be declared a national park. These groups have been fighting against mining activities and oil exploration in their ancestral land for many years.
To read more about what these groups have been doing, click here
In related news, 150 San Gabán residents (of Puno) started their march toward Lima in protest of the Inambari Hydroelectric Central (aka the Inambari Dam). One of the protestors, Rosario Linares, claims that no one has provided or completed an environmental study of what could result from this dam. The leader of this group reports that they had a meeting last week with congressmen from Puno and with officials from Energy and Mines ministry. 95% of local residents from Lechemayo, Loromayo and Puerto Manoa disagree with the construction of the Inambari Hydroelectric Central, fearing that it will destroy their towns.
To read the full article, click here
Striking Miners Return to Work
On February 13th, workers walked out of mines owned by Beunaventura, Peru’s largest precious metal miner. They returned to work early on Saturday, but a union leader says they are likely to strike again on March 3. The Labor Ministry had declared the strike illegal, saying the union had failed to meet formal requirements. The 4,380 miners returned to work to avoid losing their jobs, but unfortunately the Ministry almost always declares strikes illegal. Mining companies in Peru must share 8% of their profits with employees and the strikers claim that Buenaventura has been underreporting. The workers are currently trying to obtain financial records for their company for their planned strike on March 3.
To read the full article, click here.
Open-Air Merchants Defend Market
From 10 am to 4:30pm on Tuesday, local merchants protested outside of City Hall in Piura. 3,000 open-air merchants had been told of their forced relocation and blamed mayor, Monica Zapata, for not preventing it. While they have known for several months, these merchants have been trying to negotiate with the mayor, to no avail. Tuesday the 16th was supposed to be the day of relocation, but instead the shop owners spent their day outside City Hall, shouting slogans and insults at Zapata. They were trying to speak with the mayor herself, but were ultimately unsuccessful.
To read the full article in Spanish, click here.
Baby Abandoned at Church
On Friday, a young woman walked into the Blessed Sacrament parish and asked the pastor to hold her baby for her. The pastor, Guillermo Uhen, reports that this young woman said she would return shortly. After waiting for four hours, he notified the family services office. The baby was assumed to be about two days old and the church was able to find a breast-feeding voluntary mother to feed the baby. The pastor reports that about a year and a half ago a mother abandoned her child at the same church. Luckily, a family has been found for the baby.
To read the article in Spanish, click here.
El Niño Precautions
The Ministry of Agriculture reported on Monday that the next 20 days will be spent on more than 40 measures of protection taken by three regions of northern Peru. These measures will hopefully prevent damage to agricultural crops by El Niño. Adolfo De Cordova, minister of agriculture, estimates that these measures will take 15 millions soles to implement (over 5 million USD). While the cost is high, these measures are quite necessary considering the 1998 El Niño, which was one of the most terrifying ever witnessed by Peru.
Read the full article here.
Mob Storms Police Station, Demanding Justice
On Monday a 53 year old man named Francisco Escobar Santin was stabbed in the chest and killed. Afterwards, a mob of residents attempted to lynch Erazo Mauricio Saavedra, who they claimed had killed Santin. The police ushered Saavedra to safety inside their station and the mob continued to protest outside, demanding justice. The mob began throwing stones at the station and attempting to get in. Saavedra was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with head and bodily trauma. The court system must proceed with it’s normal procedures before the fate of Saavedra is decided.
To read to article in Spanish, click here.
Police Report: Woman Found in Canal
Eight o’ clock on Friday morning a group of residents in the village Casagrande saw a body floating in the local canal. Minutes after the police retrieved the body from the canal, the family of the woman came forth to identify her. The family identified her as Elsa Guardado after looking at the pictures of her dressed in black with a blue rosary in her hand. Based on her looks, the family determined that she jumped in the canal. According to her brother, she was widowed and has long suffered from problems with mental illness.
To read the article in Spanish click here.