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Grupo Mexico

Protests against Peru’s Tia Maria Mine and International Solidarity

By James Jordan - People's World, June 11, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

What does it take to stop a transnational corporate giant in its tracks when it threatens workers, farmers and communities? The people of Arequipa, Peru have an answer.

Unionists, rural workers, popular movements, and environmentalists are coming together in this region of southern Peru to halt the proposed Tia Maria copper mine. The mine project belongs to Southern Copper Corporation, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico.

Mine opponents are demanding respect for workers rights, community democracy and involvement in development decisions and protection for the ecosystem and rural farmers. Tia Maria would be a large pit mine projected to have a 20 year life span. Protesters are concerned about the likelihood of contamination of the region's water supply.

The federal government has declared martial law and sent troops into the region. It has also called for a 60-day pause in mine development.

Police forces are under contract with Southern Copper to protect the mine, which places in question their commitment to public safety. So far three protesters have been killed in demonstrations against the mine, and more than 200 have been wounded.

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