Tag Archive | "peru"

Peru: One Dead and Two Injured in Anti-Mining Protest

Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe (photo: Wikipedia)

Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe (photo: Wikipedia)

A 35-year-old man was shot dead as protesters clashed with police during a manifestation against a mining project in the Arequipa region, in south-western Peru.

Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe confirmed the death of construction worker Henry Checya Chura and said that two other people were injured, apparently by gunshots, and taken to the hospital in Arequipa.

The National Police informed today the results of the autopsy, which revealed that Checya Chura’s death was caused by two lead bullets that entered his body through his back, destroying his lungs.

Residents of the city of Mollendo have been protesting against the Tía María copper mining project for weeks. The clashes occurred at midnight on Tuesday, as the National Police attempted to evict the protesters who were blocking a road.

The conflict over the mining project began in 2009, when the mining company, Southern Peru, launched an information campaign about Tía María. Local farmers complained their livelihood would be threatened as they would lose access to underground water reservoirs, necessary for watering their crops, as they would be used to satisfy the mine’s massive water needs.

In April 2011, three protesters died in clashes with the police and then-president Alan García cancelled the project. However, the company presented a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 2013, which was approved the following year by the Energy and Mining Ministry, and the project was re-launched.

Protests began again this year as farmers demanded that the EIA be audited by an international organisation —despite Southern Peru changing their plans to use seawater, residents are concerned about the pollution a project of that size would cause in the area.

Two people have died this year as a result of the conflict —farmer Victoriano Huayna on 22nd April and Checya Chura last night.


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Peru: New Prime Minister to Seek Parliamentary Support

New Peruvian Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano (photo: Wikipedia)

New Peruvian Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano (photo: Wikipedia)

The newly appointed Peruvian Prime Minister, Pedro Cateriano, will begin today a round of talks with opposition parties in order to garner parliamentary support.

President Ollanta Humala appointed Cateriano last Thursday, after former prime minister Ana Jara lost a confidence vote in Congress amid a scandal over alleged espionage on political opponents.

Cateriano’s first talk today will be with the founder of the Partido Popular Cristiano (PPC), Luis Bedoya Reyes, and on Wednesday he will speak with former President and founder of Perú Posible, Alejandro Toledo. According to Diario Correo, he also hopes to engage in dialogue with Keiko Fujimori and the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA), but has not given specific dates.

When discussing his upcoming meetings, Cateriano, a former Defence Minister, expressed the need for efficient communication.

“We must use dialogue which is a democratic mechanism and I have argued that my obligation as president of the Council of Ministers is to establish a communication mechanism, not just with political parties, but also with unions and society in general,” he said in a televised interview with Cuarto Poder.

Lawmaker Julia Teves (Gana Perú) has stated that she believes Cateriano will receive the vote of confidence in Congress -which he needs to be ratified in his position- because he has demonstrated “a fairly tolerant attitude [about] initiating a dialogue with democratic leaders who are committed to the country”. However, although supportive, legislator Rosa Mavila (Acción Popular – Frente Amplio) pointed out that the vote of confidence will also depend on Cateriano’s performance in his new role.

According to Diario Correo, however, some opposition legislators have voiced that it will be difficult for Cateriano to get the vote of confidence because of his “confrontational temperament”. Cateriano has responded assuring that he will change.

“I am constitutionally obliged to change because I am the spokesman of the government, I will have to temper my political and personal opinions, but that does not mean I have put on a face mask; my principles and convictions remain the same as always,” he said.

The new Council of Ministers has 30 days after taking office to request a vote of confidence by Congress. They will need a simple majority of 66 legislators to obtain it.

Former Primer Minister Jara was found to be politically responsible for more than 100,000 cases of spying allegedly conducted by the National Intelligence Office (DINI) on politicians, journalists, and business leaders. Cateriano has pledged to introduce a bill to prevent cases like this one from occurring again.


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Peru: Prime Minister Ousted Amid Spying Scandal

Prime Minsiter Ana Jara was ousted by Congress amid a spying scandal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Prime Minsiter Ana Jara was ousted by Congress amid a spying scandal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Peruvian Prime Minister Ana Jara was forced to resign yesterday after losing a confidence vote in Congress amid a scandal over alleged espionage on political opponents.

The National Congress held Jara politically responsible for more than 100,000 cases of spying allegedly conducted by the National Intelligence Office (DINI) on politicians – including vice-president Marisol Espinoza – journalists, and business leaders.

The vote of no confidence was passed with 72 votes in support, 42 against, and two abstentions.

President Ollanta Humala, who must accept Jara’s resignation, must now appoint a new prime minister, his seventh since taking office in 2011. The ousting of Jara, the first such deposition since 1963, is considered a blow to the president’s support with elections due next year.

Government supporters said the move by opposition parties Congress was designed to destabilise the country.

First lady and head of the Partido Nacionalista (PN) Nadine Heredia said on Twitter that the no-confidence vote was a “sorry demonstration of political blackmail and electoral opportunism with no thought of the consequences for the country.”


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Peru: One Dead in Pluspetrol Protests

Pichina is locaed in Peru's Junín department (map: Wikipedia)

Pichanqui is located in Peru’s Junín department (map: Wikipedia)

One person has died after violent clashes between the police and protestors opposed to natural gas exploration by Argentina’s Pluspetrol in Pichanaqui, Junín, 270km east of Lima in the Peruvian rainforest. At least eight others were reported injured in the confrontation.

Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said that police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protestors on Tuesday, but according to Peru’s ombudsman, 25-year-old Ever Pérez Huamán died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Urresti said that the incident began when protesters blocked a stretch of highway and tried to gain entry into a site where Pluspetrol stores explosives and machinery.

Reinforcements are being sent for the 1,700 police officers in the area and ministers are traveling from Lima to start talks with the local population.

Pluspetrol, the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, received permits to begin exploration of the Camisea fields in Junín last year.

Earlier today, Peru’s mines and energy minister, Eleodoro Mayorga, said that he would request Pluspetrol withdraw from the project in Pichanqui.

Mayorga said: “I know you’re calling for Pluspetrol to leave. I’ll ask it to do so within three days.” He later confirmed in an interview with state television station TVPeru that the Argentine company will withdraw its equipment from the area.

Pluspetrol, for its part, expressed surprise at the protests and said it has merely been conducting exploration work and caused no damage to the environment or the provinces of Oxapampa, Satipo or Chanchamayo, where Pichanqui is located. The company began operating in the area in March 2014 and has already completed 90% of its planned exploration, which was to be concluded within a month.



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Peru to Take Legal Action over Greenpeace Stunt at Nazca Lines

Peru’s vice-minister for culture Luis Jaime Castillo has accused Greenpeace of “extreme environmentalism” and ignoring what Peruvian people consider to be sacred after a protest at the Nazca lines, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Activists entered a prohibited area next to the figure of a hummingbird and laid down big yellow cloth letters reading ‘Time for Change! The Future is Renewable’ as part of a stunt to highlight climate change as world leaders gathered at the COP20 UN climate summit in Lima.

The hummingbird is one of the most well-known of Peru's Nazca lines (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The hummingbird is one of the most well-known of Peru’s Nazca lines (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Castillo said the government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country while it asked prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

Peruvian authorities are also seeking the identity of the archaeologist who led the activists to the site and the plane from which the photos of the stunt were taken, he said. “It was thoughtless, insensitive, illegal, irresponsible, and absolutely pre-meditated. Greenpeace has said it was planning this action for months.”

However, Castillo added that “Peru has nothing against the message of Greenpeace. We are all concerned about climate change. But the means don’t justify the ends.”

Greenpeace has responded saying that those involved were “absolutely careful to protect the Nazca lines”, adding that the group was taking the incident very seriously. The organisation also issued a public apology, saying: “Without reservation Greenpeace apologises to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca lines. We are deeply sorry for this.

“Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.”

A week earlier, Greenpeace projected a message promoting solar energy on to Huayna Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the ancient city of Machu Picchu, another protected ancient site in Peru.

The Nazca lines are a series of geoglyphs drawn into the Nazca Desert, an arid plateau located around 400km south of Lima. The lines, which depict dozens of animals and motifs, as well as hundreds of simple lines and shapes, are believed to have been created between 1500 and 2000 years ago.


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Peru: Report Condemns Activist Killings Ahead of UN Climate Talks

Edwin Chota was one of four Ashaninka leaders killed in September 2014

Edwin Chota was one of four Ashaninka leaders killed in September 2014

A new report from Global Witness has condemned the killing of environmental activists in Peru, just two weeks before the country hosts the 2014 UN Climate Conference.

The report, called ‘Peru’s Deadly Environment‘ highlights how at least 57 activists had been killed defending land or the environment since 2002. 60% of these killings occurred in the last four years, with the majority caused by conflicts over mining projects and with police suspected of being the perpetrators.

This makes Peru the fourth most dangerous country to be an environmental or land defender, according to the report.

The report was released two months after four tribal leaders were shot dead as they travelled to a meeting to discuss how to combat illegal logging on their territories.

It also comes six months after another report by Global Witness revealed how 80% of environmental activist killings occur in Latin America, with Brazil topping the world rankings of the most dangerous states.

The latest report concluded that in Peru, “the government’s recent legislative measures aimed at kick-starting investment in the extractives sector have weakened key environmental safeguards and threaten to stoke the fires of discontent yet further.”

It called on the government and international community to take urgent action to protect those on the front line of environmental defence.

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Peru: Eight Dead after Cusco Earthquake

Many of the adobe houses collapsed or were left uninhabitable after Saturday's earthquake (photo courtesy of Presidencia Peru)

Many of the adobe houses collapsed or were left uninhabitable after Saturday’s earthquake (photo courtesy of Presidencia Perú)

Peru’s government has declared a state of emergency in the Cusco region after an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale killed eight people and injured around a dozen on Saturday night.

A further 500 have been affected after more than a hundred houses collapsed or were rendered uninhabitable.

The worst hit area was the Quechua community of Misca around two hours south of the city of Cusco, the country’s biggest tourism centre. Residents were also affected in the nearby community of Cusi Bamba Bajo due to building collapses, but there were no reports of fatalities or injuries.

After visiting the affected area on Sunday, President Ollanta Humala said that the national government would help the rebuilding of the region, with aid promised for 90 days. Around ten tonnes of aid have already been sent by the National Civil Defence offices in Cusco and Lima.

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Peru: Four Indigenous Anti-Logging Activists Killed

Edwin Chota was one of the four xxx

Edwin Chota was one of the four Ashaninka men killed

Four Peruvian tribal leaders have been shot dead on their way to a meeting to discuss ways to stop illegal logging. The group, who were from the Amazonian Ashaninka community, were killed near the border with Brazil, and included outspoken anti-logging campaigner Edwin Chota.

Chota was the leader of the Alto Tamaya-Saweto community, and had received several death threats from illegal loggers, who are thought to have been behind the killings.

“He threatened to upset the status quo,” said David Salisbury, a professor at the University of Richmond who was advising Chota on his community’s quest for land titles and had known him for a decade. “The illegal loggers are on record for wanting Edwin dead.”

The group were killed on 1st September, but news has only just filtered out of the killings due to the remoteness of the location.

The president of the Ashaninka organisation Aconamac, Reyder Sebastián Quinticuari, said: “Our people have always defended our resources and have faced illegal loggers who see our reserves as places to exploit.”

Peru’s main indigenous federation, AIDESEP, expressed outrage at police and the judiciary in a statement for “doing absolutely nothing despite repeated complaints” to protect the slain men, who it said had joined “the long list of martyrs who fell in defence of their ancestral lands”.

According to a 2012 World Bank report, an estimated 80% of Peruvian timber exports stem from illegal logging.

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Peru: Police Stop Demonstrators from Entering Disputed Territory

The disputed 38 hectares (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The disputed 38 hectares (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Peruvian police have blocked demonstrators from entering a triangle of land that is at the centre of a sovereignty dispute with neighbouring Chile. The land dispute erupted just months after a similar diplomatic spat over the maritime border was resolved by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague.

The ICJ ruling granted Peru some 50,000km2 of additional territorial waters previously considered Chilean, but allowed Chile to maintain rich fishing grounds in the disputed area. 

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala set off the latest squabble with Chile earlier this month by presenting a new map that shows Peruvian ownership of a 38-hectare triangle of desert bordering the Pacific Ocean.

Peru considers the land border to be marked by Punto Concordia, on the shore, whereas Chile views it to be at Hito no. 1, some 300 metres inland. The border Chile is claiming follows the line of the new maritime border directly inland.

Chile’s foreign-affairs ministry contested that Peru had overstepped its bounds by claiming the land territory, saying that the ICJ never ruled on their land border, just on the ocean territory.

“We need to safeguard our rights,” Chile’s Foreign Affairs Minister Harold Muñoz said at a news conference last week, going on to accuse Peruvian nationalists of committing acts of provocation.


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Ecuador Signs Free Trade Agreement with European Union

Ecuador's bananas are excluded from the deal

Ecuador’s bananas are excluded from the deal

After four years of negotiations, Ecuador has joined the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union, Colombia, and Peru. The accord means that Ecuadorian exports will enter the EU without duties, providing the Andean nation with a new market of 500m inhabitants.

Ecuador’s foreign trade minister, Francisco Rivadeneira, called the agreement “ambitious”.

He said: “After nearly four years of work, today we finally closed a balanced accord with the European Union, which maximises opportunities, minimises costs, respects the country’s development model, and protects our sensitive sectors.”

President Rafael Correa announced on Monday that an agreement could be signed this week, underscoring that the country had negotiated “higher thresholds” than its neighbours, and adding that the most difficult negotiations had been over agricultural produce. Bananas, one of the country’s biggest exports, are excluded from the deal.

The latest deal means Ecuador now enjoys free trade with 28 more nations, adding to the country’s previous agreements with China, India, Russia, and most of its South American neighbours.

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