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News > Peru

Huge Peruvian Strike Ongoing Against Mining Multinational

  • Strike actions in the region of Puno

    Strike actions in the region of Puno | Photo: teleSUR / Rael Mora

  • Strike actions in the region of Puno

    Strike actions in the region of Puno | Photo: teleSUR / Rael Mora

  • Historian Antonio Zapata

    Historian Antonio Zapata | Photo: teleSUR / Rael Mora

Published 28 May 2015

The regional strike in the south of the country has entered its second day as state of emergency remains in place.

Thursday marked the second day of a widespread strike underway in almost a third of the regions of Peru.

The strike is in support of protests against the Tía María mining project in the province of Islay. Most businesses and schools were closed and roads were blocked in the region of Puno, especially in the city of Juliaca.

One of the participants in the strike in Puno, Adolfo Choque, explains that the action “was spontaneously convened. Here we don't have leaders, but all the organizations have emerged so that we go on strike this time. In this manner [we] support all our brothers in the province of Islay that are defending their rights and their natural resources and whose products might be the source of food for the whole region of Puno."

For historian Antonio Zapata, the country has a long record of contradictions between agriculture and export-oriented mining. Peru has the largest mineral reserves in South America and, beginning in the 16th century, the country’s focus has primarily been on mining for export. However, Peru also has a long tradition as an agricultural country and a significant number of people work in farming.

The recent boom in the prices of minerals has intensified the extraction of copper, zinc, gold, and silver, leading to an increase in social conflicts. The conflict between mining and agriculture in particular has caused countless clashes as anger against the State and large corporations continues to mount and people feel as though their rights as citizens are being trampled.

Zapata argues that while there are important social movements active in Peru, they are not reflected in the country’s political institutions.

According to him, while the current state of social conflict may subside after State intervention and repression, the issues at hand will be far from resolved. “It simply is like a pressure cooker in which you place the conflicts” he states, “after a while other circumstances will make them explode again".

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