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Mon Oct 21, 2019, 04:33 PM

Abusive North American Companies Pay Off Latin American Police to Harass Critics

In countries like Peru, extractive industries contract police to suppress Indigenous protesters and detain international observers — including me.

By Jen Moore, October 21, 2019.

Indigenous Peruvians protest mining pollution, 2015. (Shutterstock)

In late April 2017, U.S. investigative journalist John Dougherty and I were screening John’s documentary Flin Flon Flim Flam in Peru. The film documents violence, environmental contamination, broken promises, and police repression at mining projects owned by the Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals in several countries — including in Peru.

As we left the Cusco Cultural Center after a Friday evening screening, we were surrounded by 15 to 20 plain clothes police and a handful of immigration officials.

They brought us to the Cusco immigration office, where they detained and interrogated us for four hours — the maximum time permitted by law. We were finally released after midnight, thanks no doubt to pressure from friends and colleagues in Peru, throughout Latin America, and in the U.S. and Canada.

It was political detention, and the Interior Ministry made no secret of it.

Less than 12 hours after our release, the ministry released a communiqué accusing us of violating our tourist visas and posing a threat to public order by talking about the risks of mining, and by “inciting” communities to oppose mining activities. The ministry defended Hudbay’s mining operations — and said we should be expelled.


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