| By L. Hinojosa V. and A. Bebbington | Published in The Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism: The Collapse of an Economic Order? Edited by K. Birch and V. Mykhnenko. London: Zed. |
| Full text (PDF) |
Excerpt: At the time of writing (June 2009) the Peruvian government was in the midst of its worst political crisis since it was elected in 2006. The cause: a highly conflictive situation in Peru’s Amazonia where indigenous peoples were protesting against the government’s decision to pass legislation that would facilitate hydrocarbon exploration, mining, commercial farming and logging in their territories. This event, though remarkable for its scale and the authoritarian response it induced from government, was hardly an isolated incident. As The Economist (Jun 11th, 2009) noted “Peru has seen many conflicts between foreign mining and oil companies and local people, who complain of environmental damage and/or a lack of tangible benefits from these investments”. Nor is it only the centre right Peruvian government that has systematically promoted the expansion of extractive industry. In March 2009 the ostensibly post-neoliberal government of Ecuador, already lauding the benefits that “responsible” foreign mining investment could bring to the country, withdrew the legal status of the country’s most vocal environmental NGO. The Bolivian government, claiming both post-neoliberal and indigenous credentials, has likewise promoted foreign investment in extractive industries and appears to brook relatively little dissent on the matter from indigenous organizations.