Peru: more protests over mining, water

More than 500 residents in the campesino community of Tumpa in Yungay province of Peru's central Andean region of Áncash, began blocking roads leading to the local operations of the Mina California company Aug. 6, declaring an open-ended paro (civil strike) to demand a halt to the mine's pollution of local waters. The mine is located near Nevado Huascarán, Peru's highest mountain, and the national park of the same name, which forms the headwaters of several of Peru's major rivers. (Servindi, Aug. 6) That same day, Aymara indigenous residents of Acora community in Puno region announced that a 72-hour paro will begin Aug. 13, to protest President Ollanta Humala's plans to move ahead with the Pasto Grande II irrigation project. The Pasto Grande II project would divert waters from the Lake Titicaca basin for agribusiness tracts on the coast in Moquegua region. The strike, called by the South Puno Natural Resources Defense Front, will also protest contamination of local waters by mining and other extractive industries. (Pachamama Radio, Aug. 10; Los Andes via La Mula, Aug. 6)

  1. Legal battles over Peru water conflicts
    Eugenio Bravo, president of the irrigation district (Junta de Usuarios de Riego) in Huaura, outisde Lima, known locally as the Water Thief (robaagua), has been charged with receiving a “donation” of 60 hectares of land in exchange for which he favored the donors with permits to build irrigation canals at the expense of other farmers in the Huaura watershed. Together the lands were managed as a predio, or partnership, of which Bravo became a member. He is also charged with remaining in office for 12 years, far in excess of legal limits, through patronage. He is named as an “intimate friend” of fujimorista congressman Elard Melgar Valdez. (La Primera, May 11)

    In Huaraz, a case is pending against local officials of the formerly ruling Perú Posible party for the diversion of construction materials intended for the Chinecas irrigation project to build their office. (Prensa Regional, Huaraz, May 21; Poder Publico, Huaraz, May 19)

    See our last post on water conflicts in Peru.