Peruvian national police in riot gear,. (Image: Miguel Vera León, CC BY SA 2.0)
Andes, Peru, Today in Latin America

Peru Declares State of Emergency Over Anti-Mining Protest Deaths

September 30, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — The Peruvian government on Tuesday called a 30-day state of emergency following a clash between anti-mining protesters and police that left four people dead and 22 injured. The announcement marks the second time this year that a state of emergency has been declared following fatalities in an anti-mining protest.

The government suspended civil liberties and deployed military personnel to the country’s central highlands, where the Chinese-owned Las Bambas copper mining project is under way. The deadly confrontation occurred on Monday when police opened fire on protesters who had reportedly trespassed on property owned by the Chinese consortium spearheading the project.

Four farmers died after being hit by gunfire; Fourteen other farmers and eight police officers were wounded. Two of the injured police officers suffered skull fractures, according to a police general who spoke to RPP radio.

Tensions between mining interests and anti-mining protesters in Peru have escalated in recent months, most notably at the site of the Tía María copper mine project in the country’s southern region, where seven people have died during clashes between police and protesters since 2011, according to The Guardian.

Peru is the 3rd-largest copper exporter in the world. The nearly complete, $7.4 billion Las Bambas project is slated to become one of the biggest copper mines in the world once production begins in 2016, according to the Financial Times.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • U.S. smuggler Nicholas George Zakov was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday for the 2014 deaths of two Mexican men who died in the trunk of his car after crying out for help as he waited to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Mexican immigration officials arrested alleged U.S. kidnapper Paul Erven Jackson, 45, in a Guadalajara hotel on Monday after more than 24 years on the run.
  • Latinos are enrolling in historically black colleges at increasing rates in the wake of admissions recruitment campaigns to attract more diverse student bodies, The Atlantic reports.

Caribbean

  • Prime Minister David Cameron will announce a deal Wednesday to transfer about 300 Jamaican prisoners in UK custody back to their home country to serve out their sentences in a new prison to be constructed with aid money from the United Kingdom.
  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro shook hands cordially on Tuesday before a private U.N. meeting to discuss ending the nearly 55-year U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, despite Republican opposition in Congress.
  • Cuban immigration to the United States rose 60 percent in the 2015 fiscal year, with a majority of the 36,000 arrivals crossing the Mexican border or flying into Miami International Airport, according to Customs and Border Protection.

Central America

  • In the wake of Brazil’s currency devaluation, Panama hopes for improvements in U.S.-Cuba relations that could bring more Cuban tourism to the region, making up for the expected decline of Brazilian visitors.
  • Advocates for LGBT rights from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean will meet this Friday and Saturday at a conference in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to discuss strategies for increasing LGBT representation in public office.

Andes

  • FARC commander Rodrigo “Timochenko” Londoño backed away from the previously negotiated six-month timetable to sign peace accords in an interview with Venezuelan TV network Telesur, which aired Tuesday.
  • Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa issued a warning that current low oil prices could cause a surge in pricing in the near future and called for a “common strategy to protect oil prices” in a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday.

Southern Cone

  • A Greenpeace study released Tuesday was highly critical of an environmental-impact report from Brazilian state-run electric company Electrobras, citing the major environmental and cultural impacts of the company’s proposed São Luiz do Tapajós dam project on the region’s indigenous population.
  • Volkswagen announced plans to investigate 84,000 vehicles sold in Brazil for the devices that were used to cheat emissions standards tests in the United States.
  • The student-led occupation of Paraguay’s National University of Asunción enters its second week with students and faculty establishing around-the-clock surveillance of documents related to an embezzlement scandal that has seen the university’s president and vice-president resign.

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