Peru: Peasants Set Fire to Imperialist Mining Facilities

Cover photo: Apumayo mine in Ayacucho set ablaze by peasants (Source: Apumayo)

By Joan Hoch

On October 29, over 500 Peruvian peasants invaded and set fire to the facilities of the Apumayo gold mine in Ayacucho, expropriating what they could. The same day, peasants also invaded the Breampampa mine, setting fire to and destroying a mechanical maintenance facility. In response to these and other similar actions at oil production and sugarcane facilities around the country, the fascist Peruvian State headed by opportunist and phony socialist Pedro Castillo has mobilized the armed forces to bolster the police force.

The Apumayo gold mine in Ayacucho was set on fire by peasants on October 29

The peasants are demanding the closure of the Apumayo and Breampampa mines, as well as the Inmaculada (Ares) and Pallancata mines, all of which are located in Ayacucho. The peasants are fighting back against the mining operations because they contaminate the waters of the Ayacucho river basin, killing livestock and fish. The mines also displace poor peasants from their land, taking the only resource they have to make a living and poisoning the surrounding environment.

Over the past year, peasants have fought against the mining monopolies using various tactics, including strikes, expropriation of mining equipment, and now the seizure of and destruction of the mines with fire. These actions have been taking place across the regions of Ayacucho, Lima, Ancash, Loreto, and Piura, and are spreading around the country.

Peru is one of the world’s largest producers of silver, copper, and gold, and these mining operations are a key asset of the monopoly capitalists, who work directly with the large landlords that control the countryside through massive landholdings, often obtained through illegal means.

Indigenous peasants seize oil production site in Peru

The action taken at the Apumayo mine was heavily repressed, with police firing rubber bullets and injuring at least ten people. Twelve were arrested the day after the destruction of the mines, after being accused of selling tires that were taken from the mine.

Although the management of the Apumayo mine is demanding that those responsible “be punished, and that the full weight of the law falls on them,” the local government was forced to release the twelve people detained due to pressure from the peasants, a lack of evidence and fear of retaliation.

“The risk was that maybe they were going to burn down the police station and steal the weapons and that is why they were released. There is no detainee, they are all free,” said Migna Isabel Salcedo Vila, regional prefect of Ayacucho.

The fascist State led by the opportunist Castillo has issued a 30 day authorization for military intervention in Ayacucho as well as Lima and Callao, using “organized crime” as the justification for the military to be deployed against its own citizens. The stated objective for the military intervention is supposedly to guarantee “the control and maintenance of internal order,” while in reality the old Peruvian State seeks to extinguish the fires of peasant rebellion across the countryside as the Communist Party of Peru (PCP) continues its reorganization through leading the People’s War in this same area.

The Castillo government is supported by the traitors to the People’s War known as the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef, Movimiento por la Amnistía y los Derechos Fundamentales). These rats are also referred to as the ‘Right Opportunist Line’ (ROL) by the PCP for their role in capitulating to the State after the arrest of the Party’s leader, Chairman Gonzalo, by supporting peace talks in an attempt to liquidate the People’s War. The ROL has renounced Chairman Gonzalo’s leadership and his guiding thought which lead the People’s War in Peru, and have continued to support the very government, under the direction of US imperialism, which killed him after 29 years of torture and imprisonment.

In his death, however, Gonzalo delivered a defeat to the reactionary State and opportunists. With all the manipulations and lies of the ROL, Chairman Gonzalo died without denouncing the People’s War and gave his life for the World Proletarian Revolution. In addition, his revolutionary ideas are only being upheld and applied more and more, not only to the Peruvian Revolution, but to revolutionary movements across the globe.

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