Why on earth was she set on fire?
Peru (deceleration) – In an open letter to the Peruvian authorities, Survival International, Rainforest Foundation Norway, and Peruvian indigenous organization ORPIO have denounced the Peruvian government’s failure to protect uncontacted tribes. The organizations are calling for the government to create an…
Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.
In mid-November, I attended a RedTraSex meeting to review “Advances, challenges and strategies of the RedTraSex: strengthening sustainability and advancing the recognition of our rights.” RedTraSex is the Red de Mujeres Trabajadoras Sexuales de Latinamérica y el Caribe (Network of Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean.) RedTraSex, on the cusp of celebrating its 20th anniversary, is made up of organizations from fifteen countries – Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Dominican Republic.
A worker from Peru’s state-run oil company tries to hammer a piece of wood into a gaping hole in the country’s northern pipeline. He fails. Repeatedly. The oil continues to gush with alarming speed and force. Dead fish float belly-up in the black slime.
By the time the spills were stopped this August, over 4,000 barrels of oil had poured into a tributary of the Peruvian Amazon – source of a fifth of our planet’s fresh water. Dozens of indigenous villages were left without drinking water and children were covered in angry rashes.
Leonardo Tello, director of a local radio station, produced a report illustrating these horrific images. He is angry, frustrated and heart-broken. Over the past 19 years the government has registered 190 spills, most affecting the Amazon rainforest.
Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK), has proposed a new alternative development plan for the country’s main coca-growing region in the hope of reducing cultivation of the illicit crop. Is success possible in this historically impoverished area?
Just four years ago, Peru had the ignominy of being the world’s largest cultivator of coca, the raw ingredient used in the production of cocaine. However, cultivation levels have dropped sharply from a recent peak of 62,500 hectares in 2011 to 40,300 hectares in 2015, the lowest in 15 years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM) region – one of Peru’s most isolated and impoverished – has consistently been the highest coca-producing region since 2011 and is the only area where the Shining Path guerrilla group remain active. The region currently accounts for about 45 per cent of all coca cultivated in Peru.
In April 2016, Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her environmental advocacy and courageous stand against the Newmont Mining Corporation, the world’s second-largest goldmining company. This is her story.
Before the mine came with lies about jobs and economic development, I lived here without any problems. I have been poor all my life, but I always lived in peace.
I was born and raised in the mountains of Cajamarca. When I was a child I never had any toys, never went to school. So I never learned how to read or write. I worked in the fields, helped around the house and took care of my deaf younger brother. In my spare time, I would make hats and clothes for other children’s dolls.
Twenty years ago, the Peruvian government forcibly sterilized hundreds of thousands of indigenous women. Roxana Olivera talks to some of those still waiting for justice.
It was meant to be another competitive match for Hilaria Supa, then-leader of the Women’s Federation of Anta, in the south-eastern Andean highlands of Peru. Her team showed up on the field in their traditional colourful polleras – multi-layered embroidered skirts – to play, Supa assumed, their usual fast and explosive game.
But something was wrong.
‘The women didn’t want to play football that day,’ recalls Supa, now a member of Congress, in her office in downtown Lima almost 18 years later. ‘That had never happened before. Those women loved the game!’
Máxima Acuña, a farmer from Peru’s northern highlands, recently won the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize for her resistance against the mining consortium Yanacocha in Cajamarca, Peru.
At the prize acceptance ceremony in San Francisco on 18 April, in lieu of a speech Máxima sang her story: ‘Because I defend my lakes, they want to take my life.’
Yanacocha is the largest gold mine in Latin America and fourth largest in the world, operating since 1993. The mine is now owned by the US Newmont Mining Corporation, a Peruvian mining company, and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.