Amid ongoing protests over the building of what will be the largest mine in Peru, Bishop Jose Martinez Lazaro of Cajamarca has offered to facilitate dialogue between protesters and government officials.
In remarks to RPP radio on July 5, Bishop Martinez Lazaro said that the “Church has the best of interests in intervening in this situation” involving construction of the local Conga mine.
The protests in Cajamarca have so far left five people dead, including a 17 year-old. The deaths and the burning of government buildings have led to Peru to declare a state of emergency in three provinces in the region. According to the country's constitution, the military will take over in the provinces in question until further notice from the president.
Bishop Lazaro said he believes both sides in the conflict have acted wrongly and are to blame for the failure to find a solution through dialogue.
He noted that the lesson that should be learned from the conflict is that all Peruvians must “learn to live together and understand each other. We must take into account the past, the present and see the future with optimism and broad vision.”