Peru’s Indigenous communities evicted from Las Bambas mine (April 29, 2022)
The Indigenous Huancuire and Fuerabamba communities have been evicted from the Chinese-owned Las Bambas copper mine for a second day, following evictions that began on Wednesday, reports Reuters. The communities, claiming the corporation MMG had not fulfilled its previous agreements under its 2011 sale of the land and demanding just compensation for environmental and social impacts, were expelled from the property under the Peruvian law allowing property owners to forcibly remove trespassers.
Tensions between the two have been high in recent months, with violent attempts to evict indigenous communities involving local police becoming a recurring pattern. The country’s National Police were involved in supporting the company’s most recent evictions, though the government itself was not a participant.
As the world’s 2nd largest copper producer, Peru’s mining industry is a critical source of tax revenue. Las Bambas itself supplies 2% of the world’s copper. With the suspension of the mine’s operations on April 20 following the settlement of the indigenous communities, the country has lost an estimated loss of $1.4 million per day, according to local media.
Castillo, a political outsider and former union leader, was originally seen as a beacon of hope for the country’s rural and indigenous communities. His discussions of nationalizing the country’s gas industry and promising greater state intervention in mining practices has lowered business confidence in Peru, but was seen as a win for the indigenous communities who had been harmed by private companies taking over indigenous land, reported Voice of America. Now, Castillo’s lack of support for indigenous communities and his enactment of a state of emergency in Las Bambas mine (among others) signal a shift in policy that only increases his national disapproval (Reuters).
Pedro Castillo faces yet another political setback, this time from within his own political party, from a proposed bill to have the presidential and congressional terms end in July 2023, rather than the scheduled July 2026, reports Reuters. With a disapproval rate of 63%, according to Bloomberg, Castillo has survived two impeachment attempts in his only nine months in office, and has faced a cabinet rotation four different times.
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British Virgin Islands
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Jordi Amaral is a freelance researcher and writer currently working as a Research Analyst at Hxagon and as an independent consultant with the Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative at the Migration Policy Institute.
Arianna Kohan is a Research Analyst at Hxagon and a current M.A. student in International Relations at the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She previously worked as a Program Coordinator with the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).