Tensions are mounting once again in Espinar in the Cuzco region around Glencore’s operations and with respect to the Framework Agreement (Convenio Marco) which embodies the company’s commitments to the communities affected by its mining operations.
On 14 July, a meeting of the people’s organisations involved called for the activation of a solidarity payment of 1,000 soles to individuals under the Convenio, which provides for a special payment under conditions of a humanitarian emergency. The company’s answer was to say this was not an appropriate use of the provision and to point out that they had distributed 10,000 food parcels and had proposed a reactivation plan for Espinar.
This led the Comite de Lucha de Espinar on 15 July to declare an indefinite strike. It has broadened the list of complaints to take on board the many contested points that have accumulated over time. These include the rejection of the go-ahead for the Antapaccay project as long as there is no prior consultation (consulta previa), recriminations about the criminalisation of some protesters, and issues around contamination especially the need for attention for those suffering heavy metal poisoning. The Comité now demands a high-level commission from Lima to mediate.
Tensions and the level of violence have since risen further and, on 22 July, all further dialogue was suspended.
On 23 July, a huge multisectoral meeting was held with a strong Church presence but with the company absent. It resolved that once a high-level commission was set up, social peace would be guaranteed in order to allow dialogue to take place.
Of particular concern for a number of the organisations supporting the protest is the level of violence in the treatment of women. On 24 July, an open letter was presented to the authorities protesting this aspect of the situation, signed by 19 grassroots associations and Peruvian NGOs.