Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
Gregorio Santos, Regional President of Cajamarca, who has been imprisoned for the past three months of his campaign, has been re-elected with a landslide percentage of 49.9%* on the basis of his opposition to the Conga mining project.
Santos was imprisoned on 25th June 2014 as a ´preventative measure´ while he is investigated on corruption charges. However many in the region see his imprisionment as political persecution as he was the only regional candidate with an anti-Conga stance. The national government and the Yanacocha mining company (Newmont mining, Buenaventura and World Bank) saw Santos as one of the main obstacles obstructing the 4.8 billion dollar mega mining project.
The strategy of removing him from the campaign trail however, backfired as support for Santos grew due to his perceived victimization. Despite a smear campaign and ´misinformed´ private surveys putting Santos well behind two contending pro-mining candidates Osias Ramirez and Absalon Vasquez, Santos emerged with a percentage more than the two combined.
This result is seen as a resounding vote against the Conga mining project which will be heard, the local population hope, all the way from Denver.