Lawmakers Resign From Official Party Amid Mine Protests

Three lawmakers from President Ollanta Humala’s ruling Gana Peru party resigned on Monday over the government’s handling of protests against a copper mine in southern Peru.

Prominent legislators Rosa Mavila and Javier Diez-Canseco, a key figure in left-wing politics, resigned, and  in a letter addressed to Humala, said the government had taken a “confrontational” stance against mining protesters, and rejected dialogue. “Those who were defeated in the elections have become co-governors,” the legislators said, referring to Humala’s change in policy since taking office.

Shortly before, Cusco region congresswoman Veronika Mendoza resigned after she heavily criticized the executive’s enactment of a state of emergency in Cusco’s province of Espinar. The decision to suspend civil liberties was made after the death of two people during clashes between protesters and police. Mendoza and two other congressmen from Cusco had called on Premier Oscar Valdes to resign.

Residents were protesting against Xstrata’s Tintaya operation. Protesters say the mine has polluted the Salado and Cañipía rivers and want the company to increase its contribution to a local development fund to 30 percent of its operating profit from the current contribution of 3 percent.

Critics of Mendoza said that she helped incite the protests by presenting a report saying that Tintaya had contaminated rivers. But the report is said to be a review of another area of Cusco and related to a different mine project.

Mendoza is the leftist of Humala’s Gana Peru party to distance herself from the government. In December, a number of prominent leftists that had supported Humala during the 2011 presidential campaign, as well as his unsuccessful 2006 run for office, left their government positions over the administration’s handling of anti-mining protests against a Newmont Mining project.

Gana Peru said in a statement that Mendoza had supported “extreme” positions. It said it would continue to support Humala and other government officials.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *