Criminalization of Conga protest
Investments in extractive industries are, not only in South-America, considered important for many states’ growing economies; as they are seen as necessary means to reduce poverty and to stimulate economic growth. Whether or not these investments are catalysts for prosperity and development is not sure, many studies contradict that these kinds of investments are benefitting the local people, that they are reducing poverty. Though, it is clear that the increasing social protest against large-scale mining projects in South-America more and more is met by a harsh discourse by the governments and, or mining companies.
The theoretical framework of the criminalization of social protest related to Extractive industries in Latin America, is largely based on the analysis of CIDSE (June 2011) and Broederlijk Delen (Campagne 2012). These studies were based on a wide variety of large-scale mining cases and the social protest against it, as it gives different examples from several South-American countries. Though, the Conga project is not yet mentioned, because of its recent history.
Using the theoretical framework of criminalization of social protest developed by CIDSE, our goal is to make clear that the protest against the Conga project is also suffering from the different kinds of criminalization. This tendency to criminalize the protest by the Peruvian government and the mining company Yanacocha is highly problematic, as it enables the opposition to speak free publicly, as it creates fear, tarnish reputations; it converts legitimate protest into criminal acts. The weakening of the resistance is the ultimate objective. Here, you will find a summary of the government‘s and Yanacochas’ different strategies to weaken the Conga opposition, from direct repression to more hidden judicial procedures.