Tia Maria: State of Emergency suspended, but conflict far from resolved
26 July 2015
On July 22, Pedro Cateriano, the President of the Council of Ministers, announced that the cabinet had taken the decision not to renew the state of emergency in the province of Islay in Arequipa. However, he made clear that the presence of the army would continue, backing up the police in the area, in particular in the Tambo valley, the scene of violent protests against the project to install a huge open-cast mine at nearby Tía María.
Cateriano also announced upcoming visits by a number of ministers to the communities of the Tambo valley. A few days previously, Labor, a long-established NGO in this part of Peru, published a report in which it said that the vast majority of the population in Islay (87%) were in favour of third party involvement in clarifying doubts arising from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Tía María.
On July 21, the sixty days for which the state of emergency had been introduced had passed. The protests, which began in March, have so far produced four deaths and dozens of injuries as well as arrests.
The mayor of Islay province, Richard Ale Cruz, endorsed the findings of the Labor report, hoping that these would be taken into account by central government. The regional governor of Arequipa, Yamila Osorio, appears to have sent the report to Cateriano’s office. Labor asked a total of 20 questions to 385 individuals in Islay, as well as organising focus groups and workshops among the communities. Of those interviewed 72% said they thought the project should be suspended.
For more information on Labor, which counts the European Union as one of its partners, see http://www.labor.org.pe/