Photo: Jahel Yovera Cobeñas.
By Erik Hagen
English translation published 5 May 2009.
Read main story: The Sweet Pepper War
One morning in the middle of October last year there were serious clashes in San Vicente de Piedra Rodada, one of the two northern Peruvian villages in conflict with Camposol. About 300 strangers had been driven to the village in overcrowded lorries. According to the village inhabitants, several of them were known criminals from the city of Piura. They were armed with sticks and knives and had come to attack the village inhabitants.
A big street fight developed between the intruders and the farmers. After the villages had turned up with more than a thousand people, the mob withdrew.
Local rumour has it that the intruders were paid to participate in the fight.
No one has so far has taken responsibility for having sent the 300 criminals into the village. Several companies in the area are fighting over the land by the canal, and representatives from the various companies have blamed each other for the attack in the local press.
One thing that is certain is that someone with a lot of money has hired the mob. The farmers themselves believe it was Camposol, and the day afterwards, on 15 October, the furious farmers stormed Camposol’s plantations in protest. Several hundred villagers participated in the raid. Some newspaper headlines mentioned 1000; others said 4000 people. Whereas the police had been absent when the villagers had been attacked by the intruders the previous day, they now turned up in large numbers to protect the company’s property.
Two hundred armed policemen were employed to stop the farmers’ attack on the Norwegian-registered company.
The police used tear gas to get the villagers out. Sixteen farmers were arrested, and two were sent to hospital with injuries. According to the police and the company, the intruders caused damages for all of approximately 460.000 euros.