More than 500 indigenous leaders from across the Amazon, meeting in Lima Sept. 7, issued an urgent call for the world to act against the destruction of the planet's largest rainforest. The statement, "Amazonia Against the Clock," was approved by the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), at a summit of representatives from nine countries. (EFE) The statement invokes the Emergency Motion 129 issued in September 2021 in Marseille by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), calling for "permanent protection" of the remaining 80% of intact rainforest by 2025. (InfoRegion)
Governments around the world are scrambling to shore up economies hard hit by rising oil and wheat prices as a resut of the Ukraine war. Ghana has opened talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency relief after angry protesters flooded the streets of the capital Accra last week. Clashes with police left several wounded and some 30 arrested on June 29. Protests were called under the slogan "Arise Ghana" to pressure President Nana Akufo-Ad to address a dramatic spike in the cost of food and fuel. (Reuters, Al Jazeera, AfricaNews)
Protests broke out in Lima, Cuzco and other cities in Peru after the country's Constitutional Tribunal on March 17 overruled a lower court annulment of a pardon for former dictator Alberto Fujimori. Further protests were ignited on March 28, when the Tribunal ordered his release from prison. On March 31, however, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the Peruvian state must refrain from executing the release order while the IACHR weighs provisional measures requested by representatives of the victims of the 1991 Barrios Altos and 1992 Cantuta massacres, for which Fujimori was convicted and sentenced in 2009. Fujimori has also been facing a judicial process over accusations of mass forced sterilizations under his government. (Jurist)
Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a nationwide state of emergency April 2, as angry protests over fuel shortages and power cuts erupted in the capital Colombo. When police repression failed to quell the protests, Rajapaksa sought to appease demands for his resignation with a purge of his cabinet. The emergency order was lifted April 5—the same day Peru's President Pedro Castillo imposed a curfew in Lima and its port of Callao in response to an eruption of protests over dramatic fuel price hikes. As street clashes broke out in the cities, farmers outraged at a jump in fertilizer costs blocked highways at several points around the country—including Ica, where a toll-booth was set on fire. The world has seen an oil price surge to $100 a barrel in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (The Hindu, PTI, NYT, Jurist, Al Jazeera, DW, BBC News, AFP, El Popular)
Chinese-owned MMG Ltd on March 24 announced that it has secured approval from Peru's Ministry of Energy & Mines (MINEM) to expand its copper mine at Las Bambas, despite ongoing outrage from local campesino communities. The country's fourth-largest copper mine and the world's ninth-largest, Las Bambas has been repeatedly shut down by peasant protests since it opened in 2016. The most recent blockades were launched in February by residents of Chumbivilcas, Paruro and Espinar provinces, Cuzco region, to oppose excavation of a second open pit at the facility, at a locale called Chalcobamba. Ahead of approval of the expansion, MINEM secured a pledge by some 20 communities to lift their blockades and refrain from further protest actions in exchange for agricultural aid, including two new tractors for pueblos in Coporaque district, Espinar province. However, the pueblo closest to the Chalcobamba pit rejected the deal. Huancuire pueblo, in the district of Cuyllurqui, Cotabambas province, Apurímac region, said the community had agreed to take all necessary "legal and social" measures to prevent excavation of the Chalcobamba pit. (Reuters, EFE, Gestión, El Comercio, Mining.com)
On Feb. 14, special anti-corruption prosecutors backed up by National Police troops raided 15 properties around Peru's capital Lima—including the presidential palace. The raids came as part of Megaoperation Resplandor 2022, an investigation into alleged irregularities in tenders for the purchase of biodiesel between parastatal PetroPerú and the private firm Heaven Petroleum Operators. Also raided were the homes of PetroPerú director Hugo Ángel Cháves Arévalo, HPO manager Samir Abudayeh, and prominent entrepreneur Karelim López. (TeleSur, CNN, InfoBae, Biofuel Digest, El Linea) The administration of President Pedro Castillo, a populist political outsider who was elected last year, has been wracked by repeated crises and scandals since he took office in July.
Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Feb. 9 called for a "pause" in relations with Spain, in a speech that explicitly invoked the legacy of colonialism going back to the Conquest. But the speech was clearly aimed principally at Spanish oil company Repsol, which had been favored during the presidential term of Felipe Calderón. Specifically, López Obrador questioned the granting of gas contracts in the Burgos Basin, in Mexico's northeast. He charged that Repsol operated the fields less productively than the state company Pemex had. "In the end, less gas was extracted than Pemex extracted" before the contracts, he charged.
Peru's authorities declared an environmental emergency on Jan. 20 after announcing that 21 beaches around the Lima area were contaminated by an oil spill at a refinery run by Spanish multinational Repsol, calling it the "worst ecological disaster" in the city's history. The Environmental Evaluation & Control Organism (OEFA) estimated some 6,000 barrels of crude had spilled—dramatically above the mere seven gallons that Repsol had initially reported to authorities when the disaster occurred five days earlier. Some 1,740,000 square meters of coastline and 1,1187,000 square meters of sea have been covered in sludge that has blackened beaches and killed marine life. Peru is demanding compensation from Repsol, accusing the company of trying to cover up the scale of the disaster and not having a contingency plan in place.