Arequipa:6 miners have died and 50 others are kept in detention.
These facts are now confirmed by the authorities. 5 of the dead are men and one is a woman (one report was saying the 5 were attacking the police, the other that they refused to stop blocking the road).
The law in question, only concerns Madre de Dios but as unformal miners elsewhere fear they are next, they have joined the protest in Arequipa and Ica.
Madre de Dios, Arequipa and Ica were declared “under State of Emergency”, and the police are acting accordingly.
To every story there are many sides, and it seems like not many of the sides are very pretty… but that is not totally true. I met beautiful people on this journey, who shared their hearts and life stories with me.
And they are beautiful.
I would love to sit and print down interviews and makes some colourful entries about
The lives of the miners, how they come from afar to the mining towns, carrying their dreams in their hearts (35,000 miners, working 0600-2000, no rights, many die in collapsing mines, find 150-250 gram gold pr month but get only 1500-2000US per month, the rest is for the machine owner. They say they were never asked about the maps, minster Brack say the maps are a result of 8 months of work in cooperation with the miners)
The prostitutes (really rape trade, as they are brought there with false promises and are usually not paid for sex but are forced to get drank)
The children who are exploited (50,000 exploited children, at least 900 for sex. “Our children are without education”, said one of the speakers, “if you stop the mining there would be nothing else they could work in”)
The water (Minister Brack is talking of 24 liters of Mercury washed into the rivers each month. All water and fish in Puerto Maldonado are contaminated. Some workers only look for gold in the water.)
But as I am soon running out of Avocadoes my energy/time/computer level would just not enable me to materialize these projects. Surely you can find something online somewhere… (If there are any questions- Ask! I would answer)
Never have I seen Media so one sided. ALL newspapers and TV stations sound like one long quote of the environment minister. Not that I like deforestation, contamination and rape trade but there are people on the other side, and not a single one is telling their story. Behind close eyes I see flashback from another “free press” from another “holy land” in another desert in another time.
On TV, between a report from Arequipa and an interview with the minister, there was a commercial for a shaman. He had feathers, a rattle and a cushma, and would heal you from all illness and promises you luck and love.
(Brack was talking about the contamination of the rivers and the word Ecotourism slipped his tongue. Obviously there were not many ecotourist visiting Bagua or Andoas. He said there would be no talks with people who make illegal roads and use dunamite, and laughed)
So, just a few details from the city under curfew… It took time before I understood the obvious- Puerto Maldonado is under curfew! Some shops might open. Even the market would open tomorrow from 0400 to 0900, but nothing enters Puerto. Soon there would be no food to sell cheap. Soon there would be no money to buy expensive (80 % of the economy in town is based upon gold mines’ money… this number is now as confirmed, as anything can ever be in Peru) and soon after that there would neither be food nor money. And the miners have no intension to give up.
Streets are empty. Groups of miners are parading around town all day long (hot hot hot). Stopping, giving speeches, and going on. The Hostel ended up being in a very strategic spot, where they stop and give speeches in the sun (not too far from the river port, which is blocked by the police) while waiting for the water to arrive; a great spot to speak to the exhausted protesters.
Some groups are peaceful and some are not. They are accompanies by a few policemen, which, in case the temper gets hotter, has no way of stopping them apart from shooting them dead, and it seems like that is what they are intending to do. The massive police force that is supposed to be in town is not visible. A few big groups (the one I have seen was about 250 people) manage to run around town with neither police permission nor police escort, but with bats, and create allot of discomfort and unease (so far not much more than that… some burnt tires).
And massive amounts of garbage and pee everywhere. In some places children (and adults) are cleaning the orphaned empty bottles that are scattered everywhere (for the refund, of course).