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Peru - The Curse of Inca Gold

 


Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "The Curse of Inca Gold"

WEB EXCLUSIVE:
MONTESINOS'S WEB
The high-stakes battle to control the world's richest gold mine.


ALL THAT GLITTERS
Gold's place and power in society

THE TOXIC SHIMMER OF GOLD
The environmental costs of gold mining

FACTS & STATS
Peru's rich history and natural resources

LINKS & RESOURCES
From the Conquistadors to President Fujimori's reign

MAP

REACT TO THIS STORY

 


Interviews and bios of the key players:

VLADIMIRO MONTESINOS

LARRY KURLANDER

ROBERT CHAMPION DE CRESPIGNY

PATRICK MAUGEIN

ROQUE BENAVIDES

RONALD GAMARRA

PETER ROMERO

ANTOINE BLANCA


THE PLAYERS
Meet the players in the battle for the world's richest gold mine

THE DOCUMENTS
Text and scanned versions of documents relevant to the Yanacocha case

THE TIMELINE
The timeline of events in the the largest commercial dispute in Peruvian history

 
 

Montesinos's Web: Documents

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Key correspondence in the Yanacocha case

Letter sent during Clinton administration to Peruvian Prime Minister
This October 31, 1997, letter from Stuart Eizenstat, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs in the Clinton administration, to Peru's Prime Minister Alberto Pandolfi Arbulo was written one month after the Peruvian Supreme Court agreed to review the Yanacocha case. The note at the top of this letter indicates that it was sent to Arbulo via "hand-carry" by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Peter Romero.

State Department cable stating Montesinos's influence
Just how far Montesinos's control had advanced is clear in this July 1999 State Department cable obtained under the Freedom of Information Act: "There is no one who stands toe-to-toe with Montesinos in the Peruvian government, and nothing the government does on intelligence, enforcement and security issues occurs without his blessing. Like it or not, he is the go-to guy, particularly [for] any major counternarcotics issue."

Other documents

The following documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, are from the National Security Archive at George Washington University's collection of declassified U.S. documents on Vladimiro Montesinos. The documents not only shed some light on Montesinos's involvement in human rights violations and corruption scandals, but also demonstrate the amount of information the U.S. government is currently withholding on this subject.

State Department cable re: post court decision contact with Montesinos
This email exchange from August 1998, between John P. Leonard, deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Scott N. Thayer occurs three months after the Peruvian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Newmont Mining. It illustrates that contact between Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Peter Romero and Vladimir Montesinos continued after the decision. The document includes a section titled "Newmont Update 8-25-98" redacted according to Freedom of Information Act exemptions B1 (classified national defense and foreign relations information), B4 (trade secrets) and B5 (interagency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges).

Kurlander memo about mercury spill
In this January 18, 2001, memorandum from Larry Kurlander to Newmont Mining CEO Wayne Murdy, Kurlander says the mercury spill has cost the company its "hard-earned reputation, a reputation that will be stained for many years to come," and admonishes Murdy to forfeit 50 percent to 100 percent of bonuses for top executives.

Kurlander letter to Newmont senior management
This letter from Larry Kurlander to Newmont Mining senior management reveals his frustration following the April 2001 environmental audit of the company's Yanacocha Mine in Peru. Kurlander argues that the board of directors does not have what he calls "an accurate understanding of the facts" set forth in the audit. He warns that the company could be subject to fines of up to $500,000 for each violation and that the senior operating executives might be "subjected to criminal prosecution and imprisonment."

Newmont Mining responses to questions posed by The New York Times and FRONTLINE/World.
The following are responses sent by Newmont Mining (in email attachment) to questions posed by The New York Times and PBS FRONTLINE/World during the reporting of this story. Also, see company statements on the Newmont Mining Web site: "New York Times/Frontline Series on Gold Mining"

 

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