Deaths result from potato price conflict

03 February 2018

Two, possibly three peasant farmers have lost their lives in violent conflicts in the central highlands over the last week. Celestino Flores was killed in a clash in Pasco region, while Irineo Curiñaaupa Campos lost his life in demonstrations in Huancavelica. A third fatality has yet to be officially named.

The problem of potato prices first emerged last year, although the conflict has only recently received recognition as such by the Defensoría del Pueblo. As Porfirio Barrenechea, the person in charge of the Defensoría’s unit for preventing conflict, has noted “governments don’t include prevention, they only respond to conflicts when they become a crisis”. 

The protests led to the blocking of numerous roads throughout the central highlands, including the Carretera Central at La Oroya. An agreement was eventually reached with the Ministry of Agriculture on 2 February, although a number of peasant organisations have now refused to accept it, notably those from Pasco and Huánuco. The agreement involved government purchases of potatoes at a guaranteed price.

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