The price of gold and water

The price of gold and water

By Andrés A. Caballero H.

Jail or death is the price of water that peasants in Cajamarca have to pay who dare to defend their water sources and fight against the looters of natural resources, in collusion with the government of the day that dictatorially issued norms that criminalize the protest Social.

For some, the price of gold is measured by its high price, which has been rising gradually since 2005. In January 1980 it obtained a price of US $ 850 an ounce due to a high level of world inflation and high oil prices, in addition of other aspects. In 1999 it fell to a low of $ 251 as a result of the decline in gold demand by central banks and the sale of the metal by mining companies who wanted to protect themselves from falling prices. At the end of 2005, gold reached the value of $ 500 for the first time since December 1987, and the following year it surpassed $ 700 in the face of a weak dollar and a rise in the price of oil.

This trend continued in 2007, and in that year it reached a record level above $ 1,000 an ounce, as a result of the mortgage loan crisis in the US, the devaluation of the dollar worldwide, the increase in international prices. of food and fuel, all of which caused investors to take refuge in gold.

The price of gold could be around $ 1,500 from September this year due to the pressure of speculative factors, said the director of Gold Markets and Precious Metals of Scotia Capital (Canada), Trevor Turnbull.

For others, the price of gold is the cost of lives in exchange for the precious metal, and it reminds us of the documentary film "Choropampa, the price of gold", based on the story of a small town in the Peruvian Andes guided by his young Mayor, Lot Saavedra, in the fight for health care and justice after being poisoned with mercury by Minera Yanacocha, a company owned by Newmont Mining Corporation of the United States, the largest gold company in the world, Minas Buenaventura, the largest mining company Peruvian, and with 5% of World Bank shares. In the end, Saavedra ended up being sentenced for claiming his right to health and life.

The price of water

Now let's look at the price of water in Cajamarca, not because of its cost, which is the highest in Peru, but because of the price that its leaders have to pay for defending its quality and quantity, protecting springs, lagoons, rivers and irrigation canals. .

Pulán case

On November 17, 2004, Juan Montenegro Lingán died during a confrontation with the Police and security members of Minera La Zanja in the district of Pulán, Santa Cruz province, for defending the water sources that are within the mining project and that supply the Chancay Baños valley and the population of Santa Cruz.

As it was known, a security member of the mining company (Venicio Mendoza Paredes, who also had a criminal record for crime) was the one who fired the shot in the back that ended the life of Montenegro Lingán, the first martyr of the environmental struggle in Cajamarca .

Combayo case

Isidro Llanos Chavarría is the peasant from Combayo who died in clashes with Minera Yanacocha on August 2, 2006, in Cajamarca. To date, the police or security agents of the company who ended their lives have not been punished.

That day the conflict broke out between Minera Yanacocha and the residents of the town of Combayo; the peasants defended the rivers, irrigation canals and the Patos and Corazón lagoons that would be affected by the mining activity.

Meanwhile, the denounced peasants believed Yanacocha's lies, they raised a measure of struggle that paralyzed the mining company for more than 10 days in exchange for it lifting the complaints against the leaders, but two and a half years have passed and now they are ad gates of the jail.

Samuel Sánchez Ñontol and Abelino Cercado Flores are accused of the crime of kidnapping members of the Forza security company, which occurred on August 2, 2006, a crime for which both defendants can be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

In addition, Germán Sangay Llanos, Ántero Fulón Huamán and Hipólito Ñontol, residents of the area, face the charge of disturbing public order and blocking roads, crimes for which they can be sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.

Saint Cyril Case

On November 1, 2006, Esmundo Becerra Cotrina, a veterinarian, milk collector, rancher and one of the leaders of the protests in San Cirilo against Minera Yanacocha, died.

Becerra Cotrina was killed by 17 bullets in Yanacanchilla Alta, supposedly by the Rodríguez Chuquimango brothers, who were hoarding land in that area to sell to the mine.

Porcón Case

On September 11, 2007, at kilometer 13 of the Cajamarca-Bambamarca highway, in Porcón Bajo, users of the Quilish-Chilincaga canal met to claim Minera Yanacocha for having left them without water. This fact occurred given that the mining company had built a tubular well at kilometer 24 in order to extract water for the personnel who work in its offices, which would have caused the drought of the springs that are very close to where the tube well was drilled. With this, the mining company de-supplied the vital element to the residents of the smaller town of Porcón Bajo, so the peasants came out to protest in despair of not being heard by either the company or the authorities.

Far from solving their problem, Yanacocha sent a police contingent from the Directorate of Special Operations, DINOES-Lima, which is stationed at its facilities, which proceeded to brutally beat the peasants and attack them with tear gas. Even though the peasants were the most affected in this attack, they ended up being denounced for crimes of disturbances, road blockade and violence against the authorities. Twelve leaders are about to be sentenced for defending their water: former mayor Juan Calua Castrejón, José Santos Ayay Huatay, María Isidoro Ramos Chilón, Orfelinda Ramos Chilón, María Catalina Chuquimango, Augusto Donato Ruitón, José Rosario Ishpilco Ayay, Paulino Zambrano Infante , Agustín Zambrano de la Cruz, José Palermo Zambrano García, Florinda Chilón and María Concepción Terán Ishpilco, among others.

Michiquillay case

On October 17, 2007, the police arrested and imprisoned Mercedes Saucedo Ríos, the environmental leader and president of the Michiquillay Indigenous Community Special Defense Committee, released 40 days later, who was accused of riots and drug trafficking, when the reality is that He has always opposed the contamination and destruction of its water sources and main tributaries of the La Encañada valley, which contributes more than 3% of milk to dairy companies.

Yanacanchilla case

On March 13, 2008, Genaro López Celis, a peasant leader who also participated in several protests against the abuses of Minera Yanacocha, was arrested, who is accused of coercion and disturbances to the detriment of the State. The curious thing is that López Celis was not at the place where the massive protest took place (December 2005), but at an hour from the place. On April 23 of the same year, he was again arrested and interned in the Huacariz maximum security prison, where he was imprisoned for 8 days, to be later released.

This is the price of water that peasants in Cajamarca have to pay who dare to defend their water sources and fight against the looters of natural resources, in collusion with the government of the day that dictatorially issued norms that criminalize social protest.

Andrés A. Caballero H. - Cajamarca, Peru.

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