The series of portraits is photographed along the mining corridor, in Peru, among Espinar, Challhuahuacho, and Cerro de Pasco districts, three main mining towns. It aims to visually tell the stories of individuals who feel on their bodies the consequences of intensive mining extraction and how their life and health conditions are deteriorating day by day. Colored backgrounds represent people’s feelings. Today Peru is the leading producer of gold, silver, and lead in Latin America and the 2nd of copper globally, mining is the driving force of its economy. However, as a consequence of a sudden and forced development, the human rights of native populations who are living in communities along the Andes Mountain range, near the extraction sites, are violated with no regard. Mining activity has subverted the economy which was mainly based on agriculture and livestock and fragmented the population’s cultural identity.
According to Peruvian Constitution, Government should guarantee respect for the territories and backgrounds of indigenous but, because of its weakness and high corruption, it is not happening so and violent repression of social conflicts is promoted by police.
Agriculture and raising animals can no longer sustain the Andean communities: fields are dry, animals die, lands, rivers, and sources of water have been contaminated by heavy metals, and the dangerous presence of arsenic, zinc, lead have been diagnosed in people’s blood and urine. Malnutrition and anemia affect almost half of the population and there are no health centers able to take care of those who are poisoned by metals. Kidney failure and cancer are the main cause of death. Many children are born with physical malformations. Criminality, prostitution, and sexual diseases are exponentially increasing too.
The exploitation of lands for raw materials’ extraction is affecting Latin America and it shows how neocolonialism is creating profit on the backs of local communities.