Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Paro Contra la Mina (Strike against the mine).

Mining is a big money business here in Peru, especially with the current gold prices and world demand; however, similar to Alaska, Peru has a lot of natural beauty and natural resources that could be significantly impacted by irresponsible mining. Therefore, its easy to notice the uneasy balance between the money provided by the mines and their possible pollution. The most recent example being the paro (strike) that went on this week in the valley. Mainly the strike involved forceful shutdown of the main highway through the valley, where the road was blocked and no transportation was running (or if a taxi did run, the fares costed at lot more, and there was the possibility of rocks being thrown at the car). A normal 1.5 hour trip to the capital took Jeff and I more than 4 hours (and a lot of walking between the road blocks). Here are the pics. The girl is Coleen, a tourist that was stranded in Caraz who joined us on our journey:
This was our first road block, 30 minutes from Caraz. Nice guys, really, who really set the tone for the night. Every group we came upon, we'd chat up for a while, wish them luck with the paro, and then they'd wish us luck in finding a car.

Who said striking can't be fun? Just look at the guy in the red.

Our first physical road block was manned by this nice lady, who was in charge of moving the logs if needed (ambulance, neighbor, or taxi with enough money).
The road blocks got more impressive as we got closer to Huaraz, but still the people stayed freindly (no worries here).
Jeff finds his calling as a riot starter... luckily he's no good at it.
These truck needed to wait until either the end of the 48 strike, or until the people at the road blocks go to bed (or the bar).
The view from the other side of the roadblock. Again the people were very nice, especially after I guilted them about having to miss my flight home to see my sick mother in the US (Relax, this just a lie, mom's fine and was probably safely playing Banko at that very moment).
The one nice thing about walking it, is you see things you'd normally miss while in a combie that rips down the road. Here's sign advertising the services a local Chaman (Medicine Man).
We also caught this nice sunset.
Of the mutiple road blocks, this was one of the two major ones. They piled stones on the bridge, making it impossible for any cars to slip around it.
Finally, the night ended with a hitch on this truck for the last 30K. Cramped, but a real breath of fresh air (Lit.).