Grufides responds to pro-mining campaign

Servindi, 29 May, 2015.- The non-profit organization Grupo de Formación e Intervención para el Desarrollo Sostenible (Grufides), responded to an aggressive campaign by politicians and the pro-mining media directed to link the use of resources from the private international cooperation to the financing of violent protests in Peru.

The disinformation campaign also extends to other environmental groups such as Cooperacción and Red Muqui, which are also accused of promoting "anti-mining terrorism."

The media war against Grufides is echoed in the Cajamarca region and worsened since a serie of legal setbacks suffered by Newmont-Yanacocha.

With to the intervention of Grufides, Máxima Acuña and her family prevented the plundering of their lands located in the Tragadero Grande area, near the Conga mining project.

Lawyer Mirtha Vásquez, director of Grufides, managed to reverse a judgment by the Criminal Court of Celendin that sentenced Jaime Chaupe, Máxima Acuña, Elías Chávez and Isidora Chaupe to two years and eight months in suspended prison for the crime of "usurpation".

The political objective of the smear campaign is the former priest Marco Arana, leader of Tierra y Libertad, an organization that has a valid registration to participate in the 2016 general elections in Peru and has made the environmental defense a key proposals of its political program.

The eagerness of the media to demolish the image of Marco Arana went so far as to accuse him of being the "successor" of Abimael Guzman, former leader of the Shining Path terrorist movement.

Grufides released the following statement on 28 May:

Grufides to the public opinion

Considering the various opinions and information involving our institution and speculating on the use of its funds, we express the following:

1. The Grupo de Formación e Intervención para el Desarrollo Sostenible (Grufides) is a civil non-profit association constituted as non-governmental organization (NGO) and founded by a group of citizens of Cajamarca in 2001. As juridical institution we respect the legal order and strictly fulfill the norms and requirements established by the Peruvian State.

2. Mr Marco Antonio Arana Zegarra is not a member of the Directive Council of GRUFIDES and, as acknowledged by a recent public communiqué of the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation (APCI) , its current executive director is Mrs Mirtha Vásquez  Chuquilín, who represents and directs the institution.

3. The money managed by our institution comes from competitive international cooperation funds, which are made viable through projects meticulously audited by cooperating entities through annual audits. Moreover, these entities receive information on our activities and perform auditing actions when required: the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation (APCI), the National Customs and Tax Administration (SUNAT) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (UIF) of the Superintendency of Banking, Insurances and AFP, to which we are voluntarily subscribed.

4. Our funds are strictly destined to the activities contained by the approved projects and in the specific area in which these are defined. Therefore, we reject that the attempts to relate the use of private international cooperation resources with the funding of political parties, individual activities of some of our members or the protests and violent actions in the province of Islay and in various parts of the country.

5. We reassert that the solution to the socio-environmental conflicts implies the affirmation of channels that deepen democracy and allow a respectful and good faith dialogue between the parties, in which civil rights are protected and the democratic rule of law is respected. As has been declared by the Coordinator of International Cooperation Foreign Entities (COEECI) it is necessary to have a better understanding of the context and local processes that have led to conflict situations and make genuine efforts to overcome the climate of intolerance and confrontation, which weakens democracy.

Cajamarca, Peru, 28 May 2015


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