Peru: one dead as strike paralyzes Puno
At least one is reported dead in Peru's southern region of Puno after the National Police fired on protesters April 26, the second day of a 48-hour civil strike or paro called by campesino groups to demand a halt to local mining and petroleum leases. The deceased, identified as María Choque Limache, 61, died after inhaling tear gas as police broke up a protest at the village of Yohoroco, in Huacullani district of Chucuito province, according to Walter Aduviri Calisaya, president of the Puno Front for the Defense of Natural Resources. National Police commander Jaime Cordero Ayala denied this version of events, insisting she had not been at the protest and had died of natural causes. (Peru21, April 27)
Following a dialogue with the paro coordinating body, the Puno Southern Zone Defense Front, regional president Manuel Rodríguez called upon the national Ministry of Energy and Mines to suspend the local mineral and hydrocarbon concessions. Especially at issue is the planned Santa Ana silver mine in Huacullani district, under concession by Vancouver Bear Creek Mining of Canada, which protesters fear will pollute their lands and waters. The paro also demanded a halt to the planned Inambari hydro-electric complex in neighboring Madre de Dios region. (Invergroups, April 28; La Republica, Lima, Pachamama Radio, Puno, April 27; Biznews.pe, March 21)
Director of the campesino alliance National Agro Convention (CONVEAGRO), Efraín Gómez, pledged to launch a permanent protest vigil or plantón outside the Puno offices of the Regional Agrarian Directorate to press demands that the national Agriculture Ministry revoke the recent Supreme Decree 003, allowing the importation of transgenic seeds into Peru. (Pachamama Radio, April 28)
See our last post on the anti-mining struggle in Peru.