MAC: Mines and Communities


Published by MAC on 2006-03-14
Source: FactorTierra


by Nelson Peñaherrera Castillo, Senior Editor - FactorTierra – Perú

14th Matrch 2006

If Tambogrande gave us a lesson as part of history, it was that was mining companies promote violence to divide, to assault and, with the help of supporting media, show themselves as victims.

That was felt on Sunday March 12th at Huancabamba City when farmers and organizations opposed to the Rio Blanco project made a forum about mining and development, scheduled two weeks ago.

Two days before that meeting, London-based Monterrico Metals’ locfrom Huancabamba Bus Terminal, where the original event was to take place.

Local representatives from the Peruvian Government and Police recently denied the authorized Majaz’s peoples' forum. They said they requested people to shut down the demonstration.

Rio Blanco’s supporters also registered at the Farmers’ forum but when they entered, started to chant mining slogans to impede the presentations and people's questions.

What followed was a "whip-fight" in the Bus Terminal esplanade between supporters and non-supporters that finished when the miners moved back to El Altillo hill, just behind and above the building. Then the miners threw eggs.

The Trap

Inside the facility, other people decided to protect the orators. To faciliate their escape, they located trucks to Piura in the Ramón Castilla area, on the Huancabamba River's west bank. They looked for a motortaxi and Piura Vida, Agro’s Fidel Torres, and Trópico Seco’s Vicente Zapata, boarded it.

One account says that the vehicle diverted, carrying the men directly to a mob waiting for them at a Huancabamba downtown little street. The radio-host, Dúber Mauriola, penalized by the Farmers’ Patrol at the end of 2005, egged on the miners on to hit them.

A lady living at zone rescued Torres and shut him in a room to avoid more wounds. Police rescued Zapata, wounded seriously in the face and other parts of his body.

Just a few minutes later, the mob magically disappeared. Majaz’s Social Issues Manager, Raúl Urbina, arrived at the house and tried to take Torres alive, but he started to scream for help. After that, he and the anti-mining forum organizers went to local Police Station to denounce the Majaz officials because they promoted aggressions.

Previously, Police demanded that Majaz's Duber Mauriola turn off sound equipment in the street, installed to urge a boycott of the Farmers’ forum. He didn’t obey and ran to another location.

Other assaulted were Grupo Andes’ Juan Aste and CooperAcción’s Cisese Toro, as well as some Farmer women.


The mob attack was designed to provoke the Farmers into a more violent reaction, but that didn’t happen at all. A video camera strategically located inside the Bus Terminal was ready to record the fight.

Possibly this footage was intended to accuse Farmers as violence agitators. The company's mistake was to assault Torres; everything then went downhill for Monterrico/Majaz. On Monday, March 13th, Monterrico top managers arrived to Piura City, leaded by national manager Ray Angus. Additionally, Monterrico Metals’ shares are falling in London.

Objective: Fidel Torres

A book by Fidel Torres is really hurting the miners, because it proves Rio Blanco is out of order. The aggression against Fidel Torres was no coincidence.

As factortierra2 reported last February 26th, Torres has published his second book on environment/mining issues, with lots of data to invalidate the Rio Blanco project. He based his studies on the irreversible [prospective] damage to biodiversity and the water that the Piura region and Northern Cajamarca use.

Torres’ close friends believe everything he knows converts him into a mobile target that miners want to eliminate at any price, as happened in Huancabamba last Sunday.

Any invidual or collective activity by opponents to mining operations make at that city needs the Majaz company's authorization. If you don't agree, you can die murdered with support from the British government. Remember UK Ambassador to Peru supports the project.

The Moral of the Story

This confirms the company is desperate, that it has no more arguments, only Dúber Mauriola promoting collective murders and punishments.

Anti-mining people did not report any other reactions but made a denuncation in the Huancabamba Police Station. The National Coordinator of Human Rights is monitoring and studying facts, factortierra learned.

In Spanish we say: nurse ravens and they will take out your eyes.

Correspondents Liliana Alzamora and Jaime Gallo contributed to this story, with reports from El Tiempo.

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