EMERGENCY IN JUNIN

By , May 21, 2004
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We’ve been without a phone since right after sending the last news update – the only bad line in our neighborhood.

Some bad news: this morning I found out the miners went back to Junin without asking permission or holding a regional forum on mining; the Brigadier General, we are told, has come back with armed “bodyguards”, and the company is offering $20 a day wages; about 4 times the

agricultural wages. Technically, if this is true, they would be in violation of national legislation, for they cannot (in theory) explore without a Environmental Impact Statement. We will be confirming this, and other news in the next few days and sharing with all.

What can you do? Lots, for first we have to work out a clear strategy, but in any case, we’ll be needing help with political pressures (letter writing, etc), but also with fundraising in North America to try and confront this new development, plus try and pay for Junin’s case in Washington (Interamerican Human Rights Commission).

Right now I personally would like to try using the corrupt court system to try and stall them until we get on our feet. But it’s hard to be optimistic knowing how the courts work here.

As a background, there is a major strike in Pichincha province with hundreds of people blocking the highway and threats of violence to close down mines that are contaminating community water sources (Decoin sent a delegation yesterday to support their initiative; and

it is still going on right now).

Carlos

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