photo of person from Peru Cerro de Pasco
Spiritual Beliefs  

Click on arrows
to find more
these themes


(PERU 2)






municipal worker






Luzmila was born in Yauli and moved to  Quiulacocha when her husband's company moved him to Cerro de  Pasco.  Having lived  previously  in mining camps, she is able to  contrast  the lifestyle and customs there to that of the campesino communities, including attitudes  to  education,  and to men and women.

She  discusses  the lack  of  prospects  in  the  mines  and  the occupational  and health problems faced by the campesinos due  to the  pollution, both of which are leading to migration of young people from the community.

She also discusses the organisation of the community and the conflict between the indigenous community institutions and the state institutions. At times the community has been involved in joint actions with neighbouring communities, in their fight against the mining company and contamination.

She talks about the developments the mining company has  brought for  them including  a new park and a  milk  shed. However she puts this in context, citing the problems the mining has caused in terms of contamination,  illness,  accidents and conflict  -  “Illnesses, accidents, for the workers deaths....I don't think things are better in our village.” More positively she talks about the different ways the community is trying to move ahead. The interview ends with some questions on stories, myths, legends etc. but she claims that older people would know more about those things.

detailed breakdown

You will need a password from Panos to view the full transcript of the interview. To apply for a password, click here.

Once you have a password, click here to go to the beginning of the transcript. You can also click on any section of the breakdown of content below and go straight to the corresponding part of the transcript.


Section 1  After marriage she moved to husband's community and the mining company moved them to Cerro de Pasco. Marriages between mining families are frequent.
Section 2  Many friends moved to Lima and people rarely return  having left community except to visit. Life of miners has not changed. There is no alternative to working in the mines. Miners retire away from camps.
Section 2-3  Miners being laid off because of privatisation
Section 3  Differences  between  life  in  mining camps and in villages: for example, there's communal work and more activities for women [in campesino communities]. Husband is comunero (registered community member with rights and responsibilities) while she's a member of cooperative.
Section 4  Education of children – people are less bothered in rural community than in mining company. Male  education is given priority but this is changing. Girls drop out of school when they get married or “pair up”.
Section 5  Local livelihoods: cattle rearing has become a poor business because the grass is poor, other work includes extracting sand/limestone. Used to grow maca (small tuber like a radish) but the belief that good harvest led to strange deaths meant they stopped growing crop.  Husband died in mining accident
Section 6  Details of husband’s accidents, also of  mining-related illnesses  from mines Change  in community organisation with presence of  municipio (village council) - arm of central government. Other institutions in Quiulacocha
Section 7  Community organisation is autonomous and  people from community respect this more than the municipio (local council). The municipio has at times made decisions without consulting them - not accountable. Joint  action  of  organisations  in  community  (community, cooperative, municipio) against mining
Section 7-8  Effects of contamination - stomach problems, decaying teeth, loss of hair, lack of good grass, death of animals etc.
Section 8  More on joint actions -  digging channels  to divert waste waters away  from  community; stopped company machines from passing. Violent interference of military in  these actions.  Problems with Centromin going on since 1970/72 - says  haven't achieved much as a result of legal trials.
Section 9  Centromin offered to build park/ milk shed but  community  not pleased as this doesn't solve problems of pollution and contamination. Talks about company's proposals to relocate community -  mining companies swallowing  up all the land but people don't  want  to leave without adequate compensation
Section 10  Used to fish in the lakes but can't now because of pollution; mining company installed drinking water as compensation -  only other   "developments" include illnesses,  accidents,   deaths, pollution and conflicts
Section 11  Talks about what they're doing to overcome problems -  develop livestock, trading meat,  wool  industry,   bakery,   clothing workshop, milk programme
Section 12  Plans for weaving training. Current situation of Quiulacocha quite peaceful - people have a few options. Previously had problems with thieves. The cooperative is what will help people develop if army and police don’t interfere.
Section 13  There is a Military base in Quilacocha to protect company: some terrorism in past. Talks about culture - didn't know any songs or stories but said they paid a singer to record a song about pollution but no one came to do it. Also  trying to record the history of community which she thinks is important