photo of person from Peru Cerro de Pasco
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(PERU 1)












Juan was born in Rancas and moved to Cerro de Pasco as a student. He became a miner there and got married. Later, he was fired by the mining company and returned to live in Rancas. He talks about aspects of mining life and life in the community.

He discusses the historical development of Rancas, and the effect mining has had in the area, including the changing territorial boundaries and the way economic activity has changed. He talks about the changing  marriage  patterns,  education being mainly for males and the custom of men being the heads of households and titled members of the community.

He also talks about what it means to be a comunero (registered community member with rights and responsibilities) and describes his own experiences as a miner, the lack of freedom they had and the different working conditions depending on who owned the mines. Lastly he discusses his hopes for his children.

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  His family history – he's from a campesino community; wife's from Cerro de Pasco – a mining community.
Section 1-2  Changes in Rancas: used to depend on livestock but now it has become the centre of communications for other communities.
Section 2  History – Spanish (colonialism), liberation, gringos (North Americans who ran/owned the mines) and mining companies, nationalisation. Economic history – importance of livestock. Environment – pollution. Farming - used to grow maca (small tuber, like a radish)/potatoes, but  now only cattle because of lack of help and resources
Section 3  Traditions/customs/festivals. Changes in customs due to mobility/education
Section 3-4  Changes in family customs especially marriage  customs  -  he wasn't  allowed to get married in Rancas as he had no “referees”, this has changed.
Section 4-5  Equality - men are heads of households unless women are widowed or divorced, in which case they can also be named members of the community; he claims society is still machista (chauvinistic) and that women have less education but it’s because people couldn’t afford to send them to school.
Section 5  Education - claims that recent changes in educating  women  to same  standard as men may be result  of  European  influence. Refers to not educating women as “a  total waste for society”. He doesn't want his daughters to be treated as ignorant and claims there are equal opportunities in Rancas now.
Section 5-6  Talks of  development of Rancas due to mobility both of outsiders (coming through the community) and of people within the community visiting other places.
Section 6  Economic development, enterprise in urban areas and cattle in rural areas. Claims Rancas is only community to be compensated for the pollution caused by mining and that pollution will take 100 years to get rid of. A comunero has to pay subscription, which gives  you rights to land and cattle, and you must take part in communal work.
Section 7  Minka/washka (community, communal  work) Talks about Rancas losing land and about territorial  changes as  a  result of the Spanish occupation and the invasion  of  the mining companies. Mentions Garashipo  (literally, cured  leather in Quechua), a book which shows original boundaries. The mines took land from Rancas.
Section 8  He says he is not legally a comunero  as  wasn't  registered  in community book but he is the son of a comunero. He went to study in Cerro de Pasco and then became a miner.
Section 8-9  Had to decide between going off to Mexico as a  missionary student or going to work in the mines. He chose mining to be close to family and because he was afraid that missionaries  might be pishtacos (people who  kill  other people, comes from Quechua).
Section 9  Powerful description of lack of freedom and independence as a miner: “they  squeeze the  juice out of you, you sweat it out and  you leave feeling exhausted”. He started cohabiting (servinacuy) before marriage and after a period of time you are committed to that person.  
Section 10  To live in the mining compound  you had  to have minimum  of  seven children, which resulted in miners having more children. He lived on the town’s outskirts. The standard of housing in mining compounds is very poor. Starts to talk about social change eg changes in language due to foreign influences.
Section 11  Changes as a result of nationalisation  -  claims gringos were exploiting  Peru for cheap labour;  after nationalisation there were more benefits. Nowadays again being exploited and company cutting back on workers’ benefits.   No trade union or solidarity in form of sport or mining songs, mines not progressive
Section 12  His personal concerns about inequality and exploitation made him a natural choice to represent miners; eventually became Federation Leader and standardised miners’ timetable; was moved to “maintenance”, still tried to make changes, got the sack, lost all pension rights
Section 13  Talks about his children who are working or being educated and are not miners. His mother taught him how to save and this meant he could afford for his children to be educated. He believes that their futures will be very different  to his life. Most miners’ children become miners.