The government has designated Paola Bustamante, the former minister in charge of development and social inclusion, as the ‘alta comisionada’ for dialogue and development in the southern mining corridor, an area that stretches between Apurímac, Cusco and Arequipa and which is partially under a state of emergency, introduced to bring an end to the blockages along the road between Las Bambas and the port of Matarani.

Bustamante is mandated specifically to develop a multifaceted approach, coordinating the various different levels of the state, the private sector and the rest of civil society. She is required to monitor compliance with any agreements made and to report back to the Council of Ministers. She has experience of the issues involved since she was involved in the dialogue last April between the local community in Fuerabambas, MMG (the Chinese owner of Las Bambas) and the executive.

The monitoring role is important. Failure to follow up on agreements made has been a key point of criticism of many dialogue tables. However, a similar role was included in the agreements reached in the Quellaveco dialogue table and it has not prevented subsequent protest.

As of this week, communities in Moquegua have announced their withdrawal from the monitoring group, angry at the lack of compliance on previous commitments. Even the arrival of three ministers to meet with farmers and discuss the issues met a boycott by the local representatives given “the discrediting of processes of dialogue through the failure of results from eight previous meetings”.