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Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wikileaks Peru: US feared Indigenous power

US Ambassador in Peru obsessed with fears of Venezuela, radicalism and Indigenous rule
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Updated Feb. 28, 2011

Wikileaks releases from Peru once again reveal the pro-copper mining and anti-Indigenous sentiment of the US Embassy in Lima.

Former US Ambassador Curtis Struble in Peru expresses fear that Indigenous may once again govern Peru. Struble is again on the look-out for Venezuela's "meddling," and again is tracking Indigenous activists.
This time, on the US watch list, is Aymara activist Felipe Quispe of Bolivia, leader of Pachakuti Indigenous Movement, according to the June 19, 2007 cable.
In one of six cables released Friday, Feb. 25, from Lima, Ambassador Struble writes of the regions of Peru. He said the southern highland province of Puno has an "affinity for far-left radicalism." Struble fears Venezuela is involved here and fears the movement of Bolivarism.
"Evo Morales is widely popular, but he is admired for his poor, indigenous background, not for his political views," Struble wrote.
Continuing his obsession with the feared "radicalism" and Indigenous rule in Peru, Struble writes of the "ethnocacerism" of Antauro Humala. He calls this "a murky philosophy that seeks to return Peru to a past when only indigenous persons wielded political power."

Struble calls Apurimac, "a southern highlands region and former Humala stronghold." He fears that "Apurimac voters would again turn to radical, 'anti-system' candidates -- to the Humalas or 'someone just like them' -- in future elections."

The diplomatic cables from Peru reveal the US white imperialism backbone of the US Embassy in Lima. Further, the cables reveal the secretive global structure that promotes and protects mining operations, without regard to the environment. The US Embassy in Lima identified Indigenous activists and placed them on their watch lists. Mining companies around the world have been responsible for the assassinations of Indigenous community organizers.
In a previously released cable, Ambassador Struble exposed the fact that the diplomats of five countries -- US, Canada, Britain, Switzerland and South Africa -- organized in Peru to promote and protect mining. This was done in response to ongoing Indigenous protests of mining.

The US and Canadian Ambassadors met with these mining companies: Antamina, Newmont (Minera Yanacocha), Minera Quellaveco, Barrick, BHP Billiton (Tintaya mine). The diplomats were from the US, Canada, the Swiss Charge, the new Australian Consul General, and the British Embassy Trade and Investment. "A representative from the South African Embassy, which forms part of this diplomatic mining group, was unable to attend," the cable said.
In Friday’s release Ambassador Struble writes, "Many foreign mining firms are finding that the region is rich in mineral deposits, and will soon seek permission from the Ministry of Energy and Mines to develop these resources. The Ministry has few if any back-linkages to the highlands, Quechua-speaking communities that live in potential mining areas," according to the cable of May 7, 2007.
"Two mega-mining projects could transform this predominantly agricultural region with massive, multi-billion dollar investments. The Las Bambas copper project, operated by the Swiss company Xstrata Copper, is located on remote land in southeastern Apurimac, far from major population centers. Xstrata executives told Emboffs that the project is in the exploration phase and that they expect to earn some $200 million in revenue per year once they begin production in 2010 or 2011. The second project, controlled by the consortium Apurimac Ferrum, would focus on mining Andahuaylas province's vast iron ore deposits," according to the Sept. 8, 2008, cable.

Expressing the pro-mining and anti-Indigenous stance, Ambassador Struble said in another cable that the US had found a friend in Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2005.

Kuczynski is now a presidential hopeful in Peru in 2011.

"With the appointment of new Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, we have an influential government ally in a position that is willing to tackle the lawlessness issue in mining communities," Struble said in a cable on August 19, 2005.

Kuczynski has a long history with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and as president of Halco Mining Co. in Penn, responsible for mining in Africa. He is the son of a German scientist who relocated to Peru.

In another cable released Friday, Feb. 25, Former US Ambassador Michael McKinley discusses the protection of water resources in Peru. Once again, the Ambassador is on the lookout for Indigenous activists at a protest blocking a highway in Peru, where protesters were opposing taxes on water for farmers.

"The police also reported having spotted Bolivian and Ecuadorian activists among the Indigenous protesters," Ambassador McKinley wrote.

In previously released cables, the US Ambassadors in Lima name names, placing Indigenous activists opposed to mining on their watch list. Also on the watch list is one Indigenous newspaper, La Lucha Indigena.
Today's six Wikileaks cable releases from Lima:

Cable stating US found a friend in Kuczynski:

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La Lucha Indigena newspaper on the web (Spanish)
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