November 30, 2011
From Americas Society/Council of the Americas. AS/COA Online's news brief examines the major—as well as some of the overlooked—events and stories occurring across the Americas. Check back every Wednesday for the weekly roundup.
Peru’s Largest Mining Project Suspended Following Protests
In Peru’s Cajamarca province, American company Newmont Mining suspended operations on the Conga mine, the largest mining investment in the country, estimated at $4.8 billion. The shutdown came after a week of protests and a general strike, brought on by residents' worries the mine will contaminate the local water supply.
Read an AS/COA News Analysis about the Conga mine protests.
Brazil's Odebrecht Withdraws Plan for Peruvian Dam
On November 24, Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht announced it would discontinue the Tambo 40 project, a hydroelectric dam slated for construction in Peru. The dam is a part of a $20 billion bilateral agreement for six hydroelectric projects in Peru, signed by former President of Peru Alan García and former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The dam came under fire since it would displace up to 15,000 indigenous people and flood over 54,000 acres of jungle. Peruvian critics also said the proposed hydroelectric projects would unfairly benefit Brazil by sending the majority of electricity there.
Chávez Launches “Operation Gold”
The Economist’s Americas View blog discusses the recent efforts by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to repatriate his country’s gold reserves, dubbed “Operation Gold.” On November 25, Chávez began the repatriation of 160 tons of gold and $6.3 billion in foreign reserves from banks in Europe and the United States. The gold and reserves were moved to Brazil, China, Russia, and other emerging economies. The blog discusses rumors of his motives. While the official reason was to remove assets from possible exposure to U.S. and European economic woes, critics argue it also eliminates the risk of confiscation in case of a Venezuelan default on debt obligations.