Peru: Aymara protest leaders in dialogue with mining ministry

Rufino Machaca Quinto, a representative of the Natural Resources Defense Front protest organization, announced after a meeting with leaders of the Mines and Energy Ministry (MINEM) in Lima June 23 that the government has agreed in principle to overturn Supreme Decree 083–2007, which gave approval to a controversial mining project in the southern Peruvian region of Puno. Overturning the decree has been a key demand of the Aymara protest movement in Puno. However, more meetings with MINEM chief Pedro Sánchez Gamarra and other cabinet ministers are planned, and the decision is not official yet. The Front’s director, Walter Aduviri, emphasized that the movement has other demands—including a halt to oil exploitation in Puno and the planned Inambari hydro-electric project—and that the protests will continue until these are met as well. (Radio Onda Azul, Puno, June 23; Mariátegui blog, Lima, June 21)

Cabinet chief Rosario Fernández assured that dialogue will continue until a solution to the Puno crisis has been found. Agriculture Secretary Jorge Villasante said that while 480 applications for mineral exploitation in Puno are outstanding, only six have been granted—two still in exploration, and four that have been exploiting minerals for up to 10 years. (El Comercio, June 22)

See our last post on struggle in Puno.

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