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Fri Jul 25, 2014, 09:54 PM

Peru Passes a Packet of Neoliberal Reforms, Erodes Environmental Protections and Labor Rights

Peru Passes a Packet of Neoliberal Reforms, Erodes Environmental Protections and Labor Rights
Written by Lynda Sullivan
Friday, 25 July 2014 13:52

The Peruvian Congress approved a packet of laws on July 3 which critics say subjects the country to neoliberal reforms that threaten to undermine environmental and labor protections and is a gift to the extractive industry.

The Minister of Economy and Finance Luis Miguel Castilla first presented to Congress on this packet of laws on June 25 in order for them to be debated and approved. This has led to an outcry by civil society,[1] as many have compared this law bundle to the neoliberal 'paquetazos' of the 1980s and 90s by the previous governments of Alan Garcia and Alberto Fujimori governments. President Ollanta Humala rejects this criticism.[2]

The term ‘paquetazo’ refers to a large bundle of laws supposedly aimed at reinvigorating the economy. In the days of the Garcia and Fujimori governments, the introduction of these paquetazos usually lead to hyperinflation, currency devaluation, extreme price hikes, and an increase in social conflicts and police repression.[3] President Humala’s current attempt to reinvigorate the economy centers round removing any obstacles for investing companies (mainly in the extractive industries), which critics say will irreversibly damage the environment and fuel more social unrest.

Despite the outcries and protests, the packet was approved with surprising ease.[4] Two of the few congress members to vote against the package were Verónika Mendoza and Rosa Mavila. Mendoza pleaded that, minimally, the chapter on the theme of the environment should be debated, revised, and corrected by the Commission of Indigenous People and the Environment. Mavila opposed the chapter on the environment and the rest of the reforms, because "it is a vision of total guarantee for extractive capitalism and nothing for the Peruvians, nothing for the people, and nothing for the workers."[5]

MINAM under Attack

The most contentious piece of legislation promotes environmental deregulation and is seen as an attack on the authority of Ministry of Environment (MINAM) and its ability to effectively do its job. MINAM will be stripped of various key functions related to the setting and regulating of environmental norms. For example, it will no longer be able to approve the Maximum Permissible Limits (LMP by its Spanish acronym) and Standards of Environmental Quality (ECA), nor will it be able to establish reserved zones under the National Service of State Protected Natural Areas (SERNANP). Instead, these functions will be given to the Council of Ministers (made up of all the Ministers of the State), giving them a political, rather than a technical function. Out of the 18 ministers present on the council, the only one with any technical proficiency in environmental regulation is the Minister of the Environment; therefore diminishing his voice to equal standing among 17 others with little environmental expertise, and possibly with conflicting interests, is risking the integrity of environmental legislation.

MINAM was formed just four years ago as part of the free trade agreement with the United States. Noticias SER states that this suggests that the desire to form a Ministry of Environment never really came from the Peruvian state but was rather an imposition in exchange for Peruvian access to external markets.[6]


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Reply Peru Passes a Packet of Neoliberal Reforms, Erodes Environmental Protections and Labor Rights (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 2014 OP
Peace Patriot Jul 2014 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Jul 27, 2014, 02:34 PM

1. Ah, me! The price of U.S. "free trade for the rich"! Shameful!


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