Allegations of spying by security guards for Yanacocha mine, Peru
Peru: Articles & statements relating to allegations of involvement by security guards working for Newmont's Yanacocha mine in "spying" & harrasment operation against local environmentalists - & Yanachocha's responses
Original articles are in Spanish. The following title translations and summaries of the articles' key points are provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. Click on the titles for the Spanish original.
· We invited Newmont/Yanacocha to respond to the press articles below - Click here for its response [PDF], 16 Jan 2007
· NGO Grufides reply to Yanacocha [DOC] (only available in Spanish), 5 Feb 2007
· Yanacocha rejoinder to Grufides [DOC], 14 Feb 2007
· We also invited Forza to respond. So far we have not received a response.
1. "Spying on ‘the Devil"
Edmundo Cruz, La República (Peru)
The capture of a private security agent in Cajamarca, Peru, has uncovered a spying operation focused on Father Marco Antonio Arana Zegarra and the grassroots environmental rights movement he leads. After arresting Miguel Ángel Saldaña Medina, police reviewed material on a confiscated camcorder. The material showed extensive observation of Father Arana and the environmental NGO GRIFUDES. It also included pictures of office walls displaying photographs of local environmentalists, alongside code-names for them. The photo of Father Arana was labeled “the devil”. Saldaña admitted that he had been contracted by Lima-based C & G investigations. Police confiscated a receipt from Saldaña for 1000 dollars, which was paid “at the request of Aldo Schwarz Cossu, operations manager for Forza S.A.” Forza is the company that provides security for Yanacocha Mining.
2. “A typical demolition operation”
La República (Peru)
Since August 2006, local environmental & social leaders in Cajamarca have been spied on and followed as part of an effort to intimidate them. The beginning of the operation coincided with a conflict between Yanacocha Mining and the local community of Combayo over contamination of local water supplies. Since August, 16 different agents have conducted surveillance for 17 hours a day. They established their base one block from the offices of the NGO GRIFUDES. Examination of CPU’s seized from Miguel Saldaña revealed email correspondence between agents from C & G Investigations and representatives of Forza S.A., the company which provides security for Yanachocha Mining. Miguel Saldaña was released due to lack of proof.
3. “We denounce the plan to spy on environmental defenders”
National Human Rights Coordinator (CNDDHH), Lima, 6 Nov, 2006
The CNDDHH considers the recently-discovered plan to spy on personnel of the NGO Education and Action for Sustainable Development Group (GRIFUDES)--as well as other social, religious, and political leaders in Cajamarca--a very serious offense. We would like to point out that the agents and operatives involved in this case have been identified and reported but are still free. The CNDDHH has recorded 20 incidents which occurred between August and November 2006 against personnel of GRUFIDES. Given these circumstances we demand that the authorities conduct a full investigation, with special attention paid to the businesses Forza S.A. and C & G Investigations. We also demand that the authorities guarantee the safety of the GRUFIDES personnel, as well as investigate the responsibility of the Yanacocha business in these events.
4. “Yanacocha Suspected”
La Primera, Perú
Father Marco Arana, founder and director of the environmental NGO GRUFIDES, raised serious suspicions that Yanacocha Mining company is behind the spying that security company Forza S.A. has carried out against him and other community leaders in Cajamarca. He has called for an exhaustive investigation to determine who and what is behind the espionage operation. It is worth noting that Forza has denied having participated in an activity of this kind and has filed counter-charges that their employees were been photographed carrying arms to make it seem as if they are paramilitaries.