Peru: Conflict Over Conga Mining Project Continues
The Christmas and New Year holidays, as well as other political news in the country, have taken a bit of the media spotlight from the Conga Mine Project in Cajamarca but that doesn't mean the conflict hasn't continued to develop. The controversy arose over the damage the project could cause to a group of lagoons in the highlands of Cajamarca, which the locals in this area use for personal consumption and for crops. In November, there were two protest strikes, (1 [es] and 2,) against this mining project. The second of those lasted into December as a regional strike [es] that lasted several days, forcing negotiations to try to find a solution. However, these meetings were not fruitful and a state of emergency was declared, abruptly closing down the strike. The government also took other steps to pressure the Regional Government of Cajamarca, leading the strike, as well as against other leaders who spent 10 hours in jail while “their identities were confirmed”. Tony Alvarado gathered opinions from some Cajamarca locals about the conflict in the following video [es]:
An unexpected low in this confrontation was the resignation of Prime Minister Salomón Lerner and the naming of Oscar Valdez, formerly Minister of the Interior, as the new Prime Minister. This move signaled some political maneuvering by the government and a consolidating of the change in strategy by the government towards this particular conflict. So, while Cajamarca was requesting an end to the state of emergency [es], the government started an information campaign about government investing in the area, and at the same time seeking to establish a negotiating table and announcing international expert assessment to evaluate potential environmental damages that Conga might produce. After a few days the state of emergency was lifted, as well as other repressive measures that had been taken. When negotiations were restarted [es] in Cajamarca, they were...
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