Friday, April 29, 2022

Peru’s Indigenous communities evicted from Las Bambas mine (April 29, 2022)

The Indigenous Huancuire and Fuerabamba communities have been evicted from the Chinese-owned Las Bambas copper mine for a second day, following evictions that began on Wednesday, reports Reuters. The communities, claiming the corporation MMG had not fulfilled its previous agreements under its 2011 sale of the land and demanding just compensation for environmental and social impacts, were expelled from the property under the Peruvian law allowing property owners to forcibly remove trespassers. 

Tensions between the two have been high in recent months, with violent attempts to evict indigenous communities involving local police becoming a recurring pattern. The country’s National Police were involved in supporting the company’s most recent evictions, though the government itself was not a participant.

As the world’s 2nd largest copper producer, Peru’s mining industry is a critical source of tax revenue. Las Bambas itself supplies 2% of the world’s copper. With the suspension of the mine’s operations on April 20 following the settlement of the indigenous communities, the country has lost an estimated loss of $1.4 million per day, according to local media

Castillo, a political outsider and former union leader, was originally seen as a beacon of hope for the country’s rural and indigenous communities. His discussions of nationalizing the country’s gas industry and promising greater state intervention in mining practices has lowered business confidence in Peru, but was seen as a win for the indigenous communities who had been harmed by private companies taking over indigenous land, reported Voice of America. Now, Castillo’s lack of support for indigenous communities and his enactment of a state of emergency in Las Bambas mine (among others) signal a shift in policy that only increases his national disapproval (Reuters). 

More Peru

Pedro Castillo faces yet another political setback, this time from within his own political party, from a proposed bill to have the presidential and congressional terms end in July 2023, rather than the scheduled July 2026, reports Reuters. With a disapproval rate of 63%, according to Bloomberg, Castillo has survived two impeachment attempts in his only nine months in office, and has faced a cabinet rotation four different times. 

News Briefs 


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  • A Publica has created a new “Map of Conflict” platform, detailing statistics and cases of violence and injustice in the Amazon over the last decade. The site is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and includes an interactive map.


  • Brazil was the country with the greatest destruction of tropical forest in the world in 2021, says Folha de São Paulo. The country was responsible for 40% of global tropical deforestation, according to data from Global Forest Watch. 


  • Folha de São Paulo reports on increasing use of opioids in Brazil. A 2019 study found that 2.9% of the country’s population have used opioids illegally, in comparison to less than 1% in the cases of crack or cocaine. Methadone and oxycodone use was 29% higher in the first half of 2021 than the entirety of 2020. 

US-Mexico Border

  • WOLA has created a new “Border Oversight” platform, compiling research on human rights issues along the US-Mexico border and including a database of alleged abuses and troubling events that have occurred in the region since 2020, highlighting the lack of oversight and accountability for Border Patrol. 


  • Refugees International has published a new report on the experiences of Haitian migrants in Mexico. They find that Mexico’s immigration policy changes have failed to consider the differentiated needs of Haitians, while the country also accepts a disproportionately low number of asylum applications from Haitians. 

  • The Bahamas has become a key transit country for migrants seeking to get to the US. Smugglers use rudimentary, often unsafe boats to transport migrants to Florida, says Reuters


  • Oil and gas production in Argentina’s Vaca Muerta from Mexican energy firm Vista has increased 29% in the first quarter of 2022, as compared to 2021, reports Reuters. The country exported 33% of its petroleum volume. (Más Energía

  • Argentina’s food prices have risen 20% in just over three months, hurting the wallets of the country’s over 5.5 million people who are food insecure. The government, whose recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requires it to cut public spending, will have to make a difficult decision with regards to its large social assistance network aimed at putting food on the tables of Argentines. (France24)

  • Following a statement from the political party Juntos Por el Cambio that specifically opposed future collaboration with current legislator and opposition leader Javier Milei, PRO president Patricia Bullrich lamented the targeted exclusion of the popular libertarian political outsider, reports Clarin. Bullrich claimed Milei’s exclusion was a “total error.” 

El Salvador

  • The government of El Salvador has begun to turn to local financial institutions to help pay off its debt through Letras del Tesoro (LETES) and Certificados del Tesoro (CETES). The Treasury Ministry auctioned $84.5 million in CETES, of which only $67.7 million were bought among seven buyers. Placing the country’s debt on the public market further highlights foreign institutions’ understanding of the ever-increasing risk of investing in El Salvador. (El Economista)


  • Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency (DPA) reported that rival gangs Chen Mechan and 400 Mawozo killed at least 20 people and forced thousands more to leave their homes to flee from the violence in part of the capital. The fights, caused by the power void left in the country following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July, have left families camping in parks in dire need of food, water, and supplies. (Infobae, Miami Herald

British Virgin Islands

  • Andrew Fahie, Premier of the British Virgin Islands, was arrested Thursday on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Authorities report that the elected head of government conspired to allow cocaine slip through the country en route to the US with an upfront payment of $500,000. (New York Times)


  • President Guillermo Lasso has begun a cabinet shuffle as he moves towards his second year in office. The Secretary of Human Rights and Ministers of Energy, Agriculture, and Defense have all resigned, says Reuters


  • Evan Ellis dives into the strategic importance and geopolitics of the Caribbean in a new report for CSIS. He writes that the region is key to US security interests but China plays an increasingly important role, particularly with investments in infrastructure and tourism projects. The Caribbean faces increased economic strains due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, with several elections coming up over the course of the next year. 


  • Here is an update on where Chile’s Constitutional Convention stands. It notes that polls look increasingly negative for the constitutional rewrite, although they may improve once the final draft is complete. 


  • Chevron and Suriname's state oil firm Staatsolie “have signed a production sharing contract for exploring and producing oil at an offshore block,” reports Reuters.

Regional Relations

  • The Colombian guerrilla group the ELN has become increasingly co-dependent with Maduro, with the group “​​now committed not only to undermining the Colombian state, but also to supporting Maduro,” according to a former ELN commander interviewed by Americas Quarterly. The group’s forces have doubled since 2016 and their increasing role in Colombia and Venezuela may pose a threat to US-Venezuela talks. 

Jordi Amaral is a freelance researcher and writer currently working as a Research Analyst at Hxagon and as an independent consultant with the Latin America and the Caribbean Initiative at the Migration Policy Institute

Arianna Kohan is a Research Analyst at Hxagon and a current M.A. student in International Relations at the Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She previously worked as a Program Coordinator with the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

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