Peru: new mobilization against Conga project

Jan. 12 saw a new mobilization in the northern Peruvian city of Cajamarca against the pending Conga mining project, with some 1,000 local campesinos and their supporters filling the Plaza de Armas with music, banners and slogans. Participants accused the Yanacocha mining company of “intending to privatize” the region’s water resources, and of being complicit in the “criminalization of protest.” Residents of the community of Baños del Inca proclaimed their readiness to occupy La Shacsa, a nearby mountain within Yanacocha’s active concession area, if the Conga project moves ahead. The march was convened by Wilfredo Saavedra, leader of the Cajamarca Environmental Defense Front. (Servindi, Jan. 15)

In neighboring Lambayeque region on Jan. 25, hundreds of comuneros (communal peasants) from the villages of Incahuasi and Cañaris clashed with police when they attempted to march on the local conession area of Candente Copper to protest mining operations they say are moving ahead without the communities’ approval. Segundo Narva, president of the Cañaris Natural Resources Defense Front, said National Police troops fired tear gas on the marchers as they peacefully approached the concession area.Two protesters were seriously wounded by blows to the head. (Perú21, Jan. 25)

The New York Times’ Dot Earth blog on Jan. 23 made note of further evidence of a growing climate crisis in the Andes, citing a new paper published in The Cyrosphere journal (PDF), which found that glaciers throughout the tropical Andes have been melting in the last 30 years at a faster rate than at any time since the peak of the “Little Ice Age” 300 years ago.