Social tensions in Peru: the bishops invite to dialogue
Like many Latin American countries, Peru is experiencing tensions linked to mining and oil extraction projects that endanger the ecosystem and local communities.
Several conflicts have erupted in cities like Arequipa, a town marked by mining, or in Loreto where leaks on a pipeline have caused extensive damage, as the oil disperses in the wild. In the filiation of Laudato Si ', and recent interventions by Pope Francis before officials of the petroleum and mining industry, the bishops of Peru urge dialogue, recalling that "sustainable economic growth is only possible" if it is built "in harmony with social equity, in particular with native communities and care for the environment". The “logic of profitability” cannot replace the responsibility of companies to guarantee a dignified life for the populations concerned by these projects.
Local and regional governments have an essential role to play in "improving the quality of life of their citizens". They must therefore organize spaces for dialogue to ensure the achievement of fair agreements that can allow "integral development beneficial to all". The state must remain "neutral" and play the role of "guarantor of rights" in a logic of truth and mutual trust. Local communities must be guaranteed the right to demonstrate peacefully, without disturbing public order.
This call by the presidency of the episcopal conference to state neutrality takes on particular significance in Peru, where several former presidents are suspected of collusion with private interests in the context of the Odebrecht scandal. This week, former head of state Alejandro Toledo, who was in power from 2001 to 2006, was also arrested. He is accused of having received 20 million euros from this Brazilian construction group in exchange for a motorway concession.