When a Canadian mining company tried to set up shop in one of the most fertile valleys of northern Peru it seemed like a done deal. The alliances between the aggressive mining industry and a weak, corrupt government – keen to get its hands on revenues from gold, silver, copper and zinc – were strong. Manhattan Minerals – supported first by Alberto Fujimori’s regime, then by Alejandro Toledo’s government – was convinced that local farmers and peasants would embrace the project’s alleged benefits.
But the company soon realized that the farmers actually liked what they were doing and weren’t about to be turfed off their land. The murder of pioneering mango farmer Godofredo García, a leader opposed to the project, galvanized the community. The farmers became more determined, forcing a referendum which they won. Manhattan Minerals was forced to leave the country in disgrace – vowing never to return.
This moving documentary is a rare tonic – a success story that shows how ordinary people acting together can protect their communities. And the Tambogrande story has inspired similar successful protests in Argentina and Guatemala, where similar mining ventures are planned.
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