HomeNewsBrief‘Peru’s President Took $1Mn Donation from Informal Miners’
BRIEF

'Peru's President Took $1Mn Donation from Informal Miners'

ILLEGAL MINING / 22 OCT 2014 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A leader of Peru's informal mining sector has claimed that President Ollanta Humala accepted campaign funding in the run-up to the 2011 elections, raising questions over the head of state's ties to the illicit mining industry.

In an interview with Peru 21, Victor Chanduvi, the head of the Peruvian Miners' Center (Central de Mineros de Peru), said that informal miners contributed over $1 million to Humala's campaign -- along with pure gold. Following similar claims in June, Humala denied taking money from the informal mining sector and said that all campaign contributions had been declared to electoral authorities.

Chanduvi claimed that he and other informal miners held over one hundred meetings with Humala, his wife and other officials between 2008 and 2010, in which they discussed formalizing the sector. 

Chanduvi also said that when Interior Minister Daniel Urresti served as high commissioner against illegal mining, he used to charge extortion fees to informal miners operating in the Madre de Dios region. Urresti has responded by accusing Chanduvi of slander.

The mining leader said that he was coming forward with his claims now -- three years after the elections -- because Humala had failed to uphold his end of the deal by working to formalize the mining sector. Furthermore, he claimed that Humala received campaign money from the Picon family, who are being investigated for laundering drug money.

InSight Crime Analysis 

Peru's illegal mining industry is estimated to be worth between $500 million and $3 billion annually. There are many different types of actors within this industry, ranging from small-scale miners who lack formal permits for land they have been mining for years, to large-scale criminal operations. It is crucial for the government to balance the dismantling of mafia-run mining operations, without criminalizing all informal miners.

The government passed a law in April banning all unregulated mining -- while making provisions for over 50,000 small mining operations to apply for permits -- and has made the industry a focal point of operations by the Peruvian security forces. However, indiscriminately blowing up mining infrastructure does not necessarily mean authorities are tackling the criminal side of the business: tracking dirty money, or investigating the mafia groups thought to run gold mining in some regions.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Mining

This is not the first time Humala has faced allegations of ties to illicit money -- prior to his 2011 win, evidence came to light linking him and his party to drug funds. Nor is Humala the only president who has been linked to illegal industries in Peru, a country deeply affected by corruption at all levels of government.

Illegal gold mining, which causes massive environmental damage and is often tied to human trafficking, is just one of the illicit extraction industries Peru must deal with. Another natural resource -- timber -- is also a major problem. The government recently created a commission to address wood trafficking, after four indigenous activists who opposed the trade were killed.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 1 NOV 2010

Colombian publications Verdad Abierta website and its partner Semana magazine have published an article looking at the ways unlicensed gold…

PERU / 12 JUL 2013

Violence in Peru has been relatively low since the end of its civil conflict in the late 1990s. Although it…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 3 APR 2014

Authorities in Peru say the majority of arms used by criminal groups are stolen from private owners and…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Combating Environmental Crime in Colombia

15 JUN 2021

InSight Crime presented findings from an investigation into the main criminal activities fueling environmental destruction in Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Collaborating on Citizen Security Initiatives

8 JUN 2021

Co-director Steven Dudley worked with Chemonics, a DC-based development firm, to analyze the organization’s citizen security programs in Mexico.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Deepens Its Connections with Universities

31 MAY 2021

A partnership with the University for Peace will complement InSight Crime’s research methodology and expertise on Costa Rica.

THE ORGANIZATION

With Support from USAID, InSight Crime Will Investigate Organized Crime in Haiti

31 MAY 2021

The project will seek to map out Haiti's principal criminal economies, profile the specific groups and actors, and detail their links to elements of the state.

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.