(UR) Peru — A world-renowned environmentalist, Máxima Acuña, a 2016 recipient of the famed Goldman Environmental Prize, has been attacked in her home by thugs from the mining industry she stands against in her native Peru.
Acuña is known internationally for standing up for her right to peacefully live on her own property and to work it as a subsistence farmer in Peru’s northern highlands. The only problem was that her land was desired by the Newmont Mining Corporation and the Buenaventura Mining Company, which violently intimidated her for years while she stood stalwart in her own sovereignty to protect her livelihood.
It has now been reported that Acuña and her husband were just attacked again in her home by mercenaries sent from the mining company who still wants her off her land.
Acuña and her partner were seriously hurt, according to her daughter. She also says that around 9:30 a.m., local time, people from the mining firm Yanacocha (a subsidiary of U.S.-based mining giant Newmont) broke into their home and also began damaging multiple lots on the property. When Acuña and her husband approached the mining representatives, they were hit in the head and body with a weapon.
Her husband was able to report the attack a few hours later to the police, but they did nothing but a routine check, and left both Acuña and her husband in critical medical condition, in need of immediate care.
In 2011, Acuña refused to sell her land to one of South America’s largest gold-mining outfits called Minas Conga. For standing up to them she won the Goldman prize, but she has suffered immensely since then for continuing to stare down a company that is only taxed 1.55 percent of profits for environmental and social destruction — which is unthinkable.
Minas Conga is located where five major rivers converge. The project threatens to destroy four lakes, affect 680 springs, and consume at least 228,000 liters of water per hour in a region already prone to water shortages.
The project has also failed to comply with protocols that would require them to receive consent from local inhabitants of the area before progressing with their plans.
According to International Labour Organization Convention No. 169, ratified by the Peruvian government, potentially affected communities have the right to be consulted regarding the Minas Conga Project — something the Peruvian government has failed to do.
Minas Conga is also the second most profitable mining operation in the world, yet the region it rips its gold from is one of the poorest.
Máxima Acuña stands not just for herself, but for thousands in her immediate community who are affected by the mine and millions more throughout the world who face similar attacks against indigenous customs and livelihoods, and who dare to threaten corporate profits — U.S.-based corporate profits, at that.
For her iron grit, Acuña deserves peace; but, instead, she is beaten until almost dead, while local government authorities simply look away. We see you, Acuña, and those who have beaten you will not be glorified. If you own Newmont Mining Corporation stock, consider dumping it for the atrocities it allows. Acuña’s steely resolve is worth much more than gold.
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