The people of the Peruvian city of Cajamarca have sent a cry for help. They say they only have water for two hours of each day. Some areas have no water for weeks. Protests are met with violence.
Rainforest Rescue (Rettet den Regenwald) received a desperate cry a few days ago from Cajamarca in Peru. “We only have water for two hours each day!”
The people in Cajamarca have been protesting against the extension of Latin America's largest gold mine. The gold mine is destroying their natural water resources and an important headwater stream of the Amazon is also at serious risk. The mining is depriving the people of their water and is contaminating it with cyanide and heavy metals.
However, Rainforest Rescue is stating that the mining company involved, Yanacocha, as well as the Peruvian government, is using brute force to suppress their peaceful protests.
“Today they launched very brutal attacks against the people. The military was firing gas bombs in the middle of the town centre, hitting children, women and passersby”, an eyewitness from Cajamarca told Rainforest Rescue.
The concerned eyewitness also said, “The protests here are not politically motivated. People are taking the streets, entire families with children, women, elders, especially the poorest because the situation here is unbearable. They only have water for two hours a day. In some districts there's no water for weeks.”
According to Democracy Now, 5 people have died in the protests, and a state of emergency has been declared in the country.
David Vollrath of Rainforest Rescue says, "I myself spent a year working for an environmental organization in Cajamarca and saw the problems with my own eyes. Taking water samples, we discovered huge amounts of highly toxic substances such as arsenic, cadmium and lead. This is why the people in northern Peru are protesting for their right to sufficient clean water – they need it to survive."
International protests late last year were able to stop the Conga project for the time being. Now Rainforest Rescue wants to support the people of Cajamarca in their need for water.
Concerned parties can support the people of Cajamarca by signing a petition, which will be sent to the Peruvian government and the World Bank (who is a shareholder in the Yanacocha mining company).