domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2008

Panic in Choropampa

The Peruvian Times goes over Choropampa:
Death of local mayor causes panic in Choropampa, 8 years after mercury spill

The death of the mayor of Choropampa, Vicente Zarate Minchán, has triggered widespread panic in the town in the Cajamarca highlands, eight years after the June 2, 2000 mercury spill that contaminated Choropampa and two neighboring towns.

Zarate, 34, died of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.

These symptoms, for Choropampa residents, are frightenly similar to those experienced by patients suffering from mercury poisoning.
According to Juana Martínez Sáenz, President of Choropampa’s Defense Front, 90 percent of residents have similar symptoms.

“(Zarate) is not the only person who has died,” said Martínez. “Ten other people have already died.”
Comentary: These news are not popular in the Peruvian press. Anybody who says something about these hidden realities is immediately accused of being "anti-minero" (against mining activities), against progress, terrorist, chavista, communist, nativist, etc.

That is why very few mainstream media have been informing about the environmental and human damage in Choropampa. Most of the information comes from less known grassroot and regional sources, such as local radios (see here). Peruvian citizens in large cities are worried about other issues, as if mining contamination were not that important...

The Peruvian Times, certainly with more vision than the Peruvian mainstream press, highlights this important issue. Things are not OK with mining in Peru. It is time to take action.

Mayor of Choropampa, now dead.

Eight years after the mercury spill of Yanacocha.

Image taken from the Peruvian Times.

Update: An exception: today in La República.

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