Peru: Police invade Máxima Acuña Chaupe’s home

By Hillary Ojeda

The anti-mining family was assaulted to prevent farming and restoration work on their property.

Police invade Máxima Acuña Chaupe's home <!–

(Photo: Máxima Acuña de Chaupe/Facebook)

Police and security officials invaded the home of Peruvian farmer Máxima Acuña yesterday, trying to prevent her from farming and restoring recent damage to her home.

The police officers, sent by US mining company Yanacocha, entered her land where she and her family live, attempting to deter them from planting and fixing damage from rainfall on her property.

Yanacocha is a branch of Newmont Mining Corporation that recently lost the long legal battle for Acuña’s land. The corporation fought for years to take away her rights of her land and they finally lost last Dec. 17, granting Acuña a final judicial decision that affirmed ownership of land she has owned for years.

But the battle continues to be fought. According to Telesur English, 20 police officers sent from Yanacocha entered Acuña’s property to prevent her from carrying out planting and restoring work on her land.

“In the area of ‘Tragadero Grande’ where the property of Máxima Acuña and her family is, a contingent of 20 police officers came in to prevent her from planting and fixing up her house which has been damaged by the rain and the environment of the highlands. This is something that they have done previously, and this year are doing it again,” said Teresa Arana from the Women’s Coordination for Water, Life, and Peace.

Marisa Glave, a political analyst for the Center for the Study and Promotion of Development told Telesur these incidents are common in the area and come from years of neoliberal policies.

“Practically everything that blocks a mining project is seen as an enemy of development or is seen as a sign of something that needs to be eliminated. Therefore, the government eliminates environmental protections and impact studies, reduces the number of studies required for a project and the capabilities of institutions to oversee whether there are environmental impacts, and also reduces the protections of citizens, like in the case of Maxima,” Glave told Telesur.

Farm people from these areas are often defenseless, not knowing how to negotiate or prevent these large corporations from illegally taking their land.