Peru declares emergency after talks fail on ending anti-mining protest – by Franklin Briceno (Toronto star – December 6, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

LIMA, PERU—President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency Sunday to quell increasingly violent protests over the country’s biggest investment, a highlands gold mine, by peasants who fear it will damage their water supply.

The emergency restricts civil liberties such as the right to assembly and allows arrests without warrants in four provinces of Cajamarca state that have been paralyzed for 11 days by protests against the $4.8-billion (U.S.) Conga gold-and-copper mining project. U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. is the project’s majority owner.

Dozens have been injured in clashes between police and protesters, some of whom have vandalized Conga property. The general strike also shuttered schools and snarled transportation as protesters mounted roadblocks.

Humala said in a brief televised address Sunday night that protest leaders had shown no interest “in reaching minimal agreements to permit a return of social peace” after a day of talks in Cajamarca with Cabinet chief Salmon Lerner, who had been accompanied by military and police chiefs and was guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.

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NEWS RELEASE: Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable

5th December 2011

Global Witness today announced that it has left the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme established to stop the trade in blood diamonds.

The Kimberley Process’s refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated, said the group. Despite intensive efforts over many years by a coalition of NGOs, the scheme’s main flaws and loopholes have   not been fixed and most of the governments that run the scheme continue to show no interest in reform.

“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes” said Charmian Gooch, a Founding Director of Global Witness.

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Hollywood’s Avatar Imitates Ontario Mining/Aboriginal Conflicts – by Juan Carlos Reyes

Juan Carlos Reyes is the organizer of the annual Learning Together conference and an aboriginal consultant with He is passionate about human rights and works tirelessly to help improve the lives of Canadian aboriginal people. This column was originally published in May 2010.

There still may be a few among you who have yet to see James Cameron’s epic blockbuster Avatar.  My advice: Go see it! The movie offers an interesting vision of colonial mentality — something to which many Aboriginal people will relate. Here’s my take on it: White Americans travel to a distant planet to mine an invaluable mineral.

They hire researchers and scientists to placate the indigenous population (called the Na’vi) by socially infiltrating the community and attempting to convince them to move to more “suitable” locations. When the ruse fails, the mining company gets fed up and redefines the term “explosive climax.” The hero of the story, a white American military recruit, switches sides and helps lead the Na’vi to victory.

James Cameron has received a lot of heat over this movie. But I think that Avatar was developed brilliantly. Some reviews claim that Cameron’s idea was to portray the Black or Muslim or indigenous experience. Regardless of his motivation, the movie succeeds in its depiction of the way industrialized nations have “taken over” in many developing countries.

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