04 febrero, 2013

Violence in Conga (Perú): Invasion, Physical Detention and Destruction of Property of the Chaupe Family by National Police

Today, 30th January 2013 at 10am, 60 DINOES (Special Operations Unit of the National Police of Peru) forcibly entered the property of the Chaupe family and physically detained Señora Maxima Chaupe, her husband Jaime and 21 year old son Daniel. They then proceeded to destroy the camp of the Guardians of the Lagoons which is based on the private property of the family.

Foto: Mamágrande Films / Milton Sánchez

Señora Maxima Chaupe had been attending to her sheep when approximately 60 DINOES entered her property without invitation. They were armed and equipped with riot gear, and their dogs began to attack the sheep. When Señora Chaupe attempted to defend her animals 8 DINOES tried to grab her -‘Entre 8 me han querido agarrar pero no me dejado, he corridor, he gritado’ (Between 8 of them they wanted to grab me and they wouldn’t leave me alone, I ran, I screamed). Shortly after this two DINOES did manage to physically detain her, along with her husband and son.

When asked the reason for this invasion the police questioned the whereabouts of the Guardians of the Lagoons – who have been camped on the private property of the Chaupe family since 8th October 2012 and who have been watching for illegal activity by Minas Conga (the mining project of Yanacocha which has been officially suspended after intense public opposition). The Chaupes informed the DINOES that the Guardians had left the camp at 6am to attend a conference in Celendin. The DINOES then proceeded to destroy the camp of the Guardians. They pulled down the shelter and burned the food and firewood. They left nothing of the camp intact. After two hours of forcible physical detention they left the property but are still present directly outside in police vehicles.

The DINOES regularly enter the property of the Chaupe family without invitation and have on two previous occasions destroyed property and forcible detained the family. On 9th August 2011 more than 100 DINOES entered, again with representatives from Minas Conga, destroyed the family home, killed several of their animals, held the family at gunpoint and physically assaulted Señora Chaupe, her daughter and son. Her son was so severely injured that he had to spent several months in hospital and until recently has needed continuous medical attention.

Minas Conga – majority owned by Colorado based Newmont Mining Corporation, and partly owned by Peru's Compañía Buenaventure and the World Bank, want to obtain the land of the Chaupe’s as it is one of the few properties they have not been able to buy in the area where they wish to carry out Project Conga. In order to extract the gold and copper from below the lagoons, this project is projected to extract 92 thousand tons of rock every day for 17 years, and to dump 80 thousand tons of waste into the water supply of Celendin, Bambamarca and Cajamarca. The vast majority of inhabitants of this region are opposed to this project. In July 2012 five protesters were shot dead by the national police and military in the cities of Celendin and Bambamarca and many more injured. There have also been reports of torture of protesters and activists in police captivity.

For more information please contact Lynda Sullivan on 955885946 or by email at sullivanlynda@hotmail.com (in English). Or visit www.lyndainlatinamerica.wordpress.com

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