Behind judicial verdicts lie political interests, or so the supporters of Puno Governor Walter Aduviri believe. With a judicial verdict in his case likely to come up next month, Aduviri’s backers are threatening to mobilise their not inconsiderable political weight in the region to ensure that he is acquitted.
Aduviri was the leader of the so-called aymarazo in Puno in 2011, a protest against the Santa Ana mining project located close to the frontier with Bolivia. The then García administration, fearing a social explosion, decided to withdraw the concession it had awarded to the Canadian company Bear Creek.
Although the charges against the leaders of the aymarazo were eventually dropped, those against Aduviri remain. Hugely popular in Puno, in part because of his willingness to stand up against foreign mining firms, Aduviri was elected governor on the first round in the October 2018 local elections. Until the elections, he had been in hiding.
His supporters fear that the case against him could be influenced by political lobbies, not least from influential regional actors concerned to remove him from the scene and place behind bars.
The criminalisation of protest is a growing concern in Peru as governments seek to deal with those persons and groups who stand in the way of mining investments. See here the background to the case.