Máxima Acuña de Chaupe (Cajamarca, 45 years old) Tragadero Grande, in the community of Sorochuco. Activist, mother, artisan, peasant and wife. In April of last year she received the Goldman Prize, considered the most important environmental award in the world. Award she received with a hopeful phrase: “I am not afraid of the power of companies.” Her fight for water in her hometown Cajamarca made her worthy of the award. She has been fighting Yanacocha and the Conga project for more than ten years. Yanacocha is a company formed by companies like Newmont Mining Corporation and others who wanted to keep their lands. The conflict started because part of the project’s concession, which also aims to destroy four lagoons that provide water to the population of Celendín and Cajamarca, is located on Máxima’s land. Currently, she continues to resist harassment by the Minera, which recently arrested her husband, alleging that he had attacked one of their lawyers.
“they will not have any healthy life, I have figth for them”
I like my land, but when the problems with mining started here it is no longer possible to live as before. This farm is the only thing I have left of my dad and I have nothing else. I know that I am not alone, I do not understand why they think I want to stay to have more money.
Today we are in our fields, in our farm. Our children, what will they say? they will wonder: Why did these things happen like this? Where are we going to be, where are we going to live? They will not have a healthy life, for them I fight. If they take away my farm, where am I going to produce, how can one survive, how would I manage, señorita? We don’t eat cement.
Peru is a source of pride for me because it is ours. It would be ideal for it to be a place where we can all work and share. A place where you can live in peace with everything you produce on your own
DO YOU THINK THAT DIALOGUE BETWEEN CULTURES IS POSSIBLE?
Yes, we can work with different cultures, that is Peru. For example, I work with colleagues from the south with whom we can work on environmental issues. “The leader has to seek and find. We choose a leader to help the community not to benefit oneself, because the people choose you. That is why my duty is to ensure that we all communicate to live in peace.”