Illegal Miners in Peru Protest Against Government Controls

Edited by Ivan Martínez
2015-11-25 12:24:47

Lima, November 25 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Hundreds of miners and loggers took to the streets in Peru's eastern province of Madre de Dios, kick-starting an indefinite strike in the region, demanding the government repeal the harsh industry regulations created to control the illegal exploitation of resources.

The protests took place Monday morning as demonstrators closed shops, blocked major roads and slowed public transit in the provincial city of Puerto Maldonado.

The protesters were specifically speaking out against a decree that established harsher controls for hydrocarbons in the region, amending a previous law.

According to government officials, the law was created in order to crack down on illegal mining and logging in the region, what has long been a major issue for local communities and the environment. The new regulations include controlling the supply of oil or gasoline for the illicit activities.
Minister of Energy and Mining Rosa Maria Ortiz said the government will not respond to any pressure from these illegal industries who form the protests.

“With this decree, the government has reduced the share of hydrocarbons to the La Pampa and Huepetuhe regions, where there is informal mining, and will expand to include the taps of those areas where this activity is not yet developed,” said the minister.

According to protesters, these regulations will punish those who work in the dangerous industries and who depend on the local illicit mining and logging sector for employment.

Tensions in the region with the illegal mining industry have long been a problem not only with the provincial and federal governments, but also local activists and environmentalists.

Last week, a prominent Peruvian environmentalist Alfredo Ernesto Vracko was killed after being gunned down in his own home in La Pampa, Madre de Dios.

According to media reports, illegal gold miners are suspected of being behind the attacks since Vracko had been a vocal opponent against illegal mining and in defense of forest concessions.

Vracko is only the latest casualty of environmentalists fighting against the illegal exploitation of resources in Peru. According to a report by Global Witness published in 2014, at least 57 activists in the country have been killed since 2002.


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