The Human Rights NGO DHUMA, based in Puno, is drawing attention this week to the six years since the cancellation of Bear Creek’s concession to develop the Santa Ana open-pit silver mine in Chucuito province, Puno. The cancellation was a response to widespread community protests that centred on the likely contamination of surrounding waterways and Lake Titicaca. The death of a protester wounded by a police tear-gas canister led to a mobilisation that lasted through May 2011, and was resumed in June. The Garcia government cancelled the licence shortly before its term ended in July 2011.
Eighteen community leaders still face criminal charges, accused of obstruction to public services, disturbing the peace and aggravated extortion. This is but one of many pieces in the jigsaw of criminalisation of social protest, says DHUMA.
The report is written in collaboration with the Democracy Center in Boston.