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Stop the silent genocide of the communities and the small-scale miners in Peru!

category bolivia / peru / ecuador / chile | workplace struggles | press release author Monday April 12, 2010 23:27author by Unión Socialista Libertaria - USLauthor email uslperu at yahoo dot es Report this post to the editors

Only through Direct Action, as seen in the case of the struggling small-scale farmers and the people of the South, who practise it intuitively and as an instinct of their oppressed class, can victory be achieved and the State be brought to its knees. We therefore call on all revolutionary and proletarian forces to exercise this class solidarity, to vigorously and actively support the struggles of the native and peasant communities, in order to prevent social activists from being killed with impunity and stop NAFTA's silent genocide. [Castellano]

The miners' strike
The miners' strike


Stop the silent genocide of the communities and the small-scale miners in Peru!


Following the recent popular strike by small-scale miners in the south of the country, in response to the coming into effect of the Urgent Decree D.U. 012-2010 which badly affects their activity, and in the face of widespread ignorance about the matter, the Unión Socialista Libertaria addresses national and international opinion with the following statement.

Small-scale miners are in reality poor peasants who have been reduced to poverty and who as a result of the lack of profitability of agriculture - almost completely destroyed thanks to neo-liberal policies and even more so to the implementation of the free trade agreement (NAFTA) with the USA - have come to see small-scale mining as their only alternative to survive.

Contrary to the false preaching of the government and the neo-liberal right, these small-scale miners want official recognition and have for the last 9 months or so therefore been calling for a statute to be passed giving them formal recognition. They are also arguing that idle concessions - the vast majority (nearly 99%) - should be handed over to them. The State's response was to pass an Urgent Decree (DU 012-2010) on 18 January 2010, with the stated sim of "reorganizing" mining in the Madre de Dios region. This decree establishes exclusion zones for small-scale gold mining of gold and suspends the issuing of new concessions.

In addition, small-scale miners are also demanding the repeal of the Executive Orders DL 1010 and DL 1040, passed by the government to implement NAFTA with the United States. These laws changed the general law on mining to promote investment in waste land and mineral resources, giving priority to large-scale mining, and imposing a series of difficulties for the legalization of small-scale mining.

It should be noted that another the miners' demands is a stop to the construction of the Inambari Hydroelectric station (already been the subject of intense protests in Puno and the south of the country), which will benefit only the Brazilian state at the cost of the disappearance of around 100 thousand acres of forest belonging to the indigenous communities.

Faced with protests by the miners, the State interrupted dialogue between May and June of 2009 in order to draft a new bill, coming up with Bill No. 2306, on the Extension of Formalization of Small-Scale Mining, approved by the Energy & Mines Committee of Congress and submitted to parliament in June 2009. However, once again the State's machinery is mocking the workers' expectations and the much hoped-for Law has still not been debated or voted on by Parliament.

Thus, in December last year, the National Federation of Small-Scale Miners of Peru (FENAMARPE) decided to call an indefinite nationwide strike, ratified on 3 March.

Big transnational and state mining capital has since unleashed a campaign of demonization of small-scale mining activity and of the protests. Even the incompetent Environment Minister, Antonio Brack, dared to "denounce" the Madre de Dios small-scale miners' plan to "seize" the airport.

In this context, on 4 April 2010, around 300,000 small-scale miners began an indefinite nationwide strike that has been felt with great force across the south of Peru, particularly in the departments of Arequipa, Ica and Madre de Dios, where the response from the State through its forces of repression has been the bloody slaughter of around 10 miners, with about 20 missing, dozens more injured and 28 arrests, as well as 27 protesters who were released on Monday.

Now, the miners have added other demands to their list, such as the immediate removal from power of Brack, the liberation of all small-scale miners unjustly charged and detained, and a stop to the persecution of FENAMARPE leaders.

Given this, our organization hereby declares its solidarity with the struggles of the peasants, small-scale miners and indigenous communities, against this new onslaught of the repressive forces of the Peruvian State, acting as the faithful guardian of the interests of big capital and Imperialism.

We denounce the government's despotic attitude of repeating the same mechanisms of repression and authoritarianism in every social upheaval that occurs in this country. We recall the tragic events of Bagua, where Amazonians were killed, and now these deaths from police bullets in the ranks of the miners.

Various analysts agree on the harmfulness of the APRA's policy of issuing executive orders without prior consultation or agreement, to then suppress protest with blood and fire. History repeats itself again and again as the criminalization of protest intensifies.

The government has cleverly managed to use arguments such as the interference of international mafias operating in areas such as Madre de Dios, where there is widespread small-scale mining, in order to justify this Urgent Decree, as it has to respond to pressure from the large transnational mining companies that have contracts with the Peruvian State and who will not allow competition from other minor sectors.

Together with the people of the South who, with their strong support for the protest of the small-scale miners, have shown what Active Solidarity is, we know that solidarity is currently the only alternative to the onslaught of State and imperialist capital, who continue their feast of concessions that have cut up more than 80% of the country, turning the Peruvians of deepest Peru into "strangers" in their ancestral lands.

As libertarians, we note that only through Direct Action, as seen in the case of the struggling small-scale farmers and the people of the South, who practise it intuitively and as an instinct of their oppressed class, can victory be achieved and the State be brought to its knees.

We therefore call on all revolutionary and proletarian forces to exercise this class solidarity, to vigorously and actively support the struggles of the native and peasant communities, in order to prevent social activists from being killed with impunity and stop NAFTA's silent genocide.

No to the criminalization of protest!

Long live those who struggle!

Unión Socialista Libertaria


8 April 2010

Translation by FdCA - International Relations Office

Related Link: http://www.uslperu.blogspot.com

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Bolivia / Peru / Ecuador / Chile | Workplace struggles | Press Release | en

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