La alucinante crónica del New Yorker sobre la minería ilegal en Perú

En su edición de esta semana, el New Yorker incluye una crónica sobre la minería ilegal en La Rinconada en Puno a cargo de William Finnegan. La crónica presenta una radiografía del ecosistema de la minería ilegal desde el punto de vista de un joven minero que lleva trabajando ahí desde los 12 años, el médico del pueblo, los policías y el curandero. Finnegan, que ha escrito antes sobre México y Africa, no es un extraño a este tipo de entornos y al parecer ha pasado no pocos días en La Rinconada, en su cuarto de hotel sin calefacción y comiendo arroz a la cubana.

Para los peruanos quizás la parte sobre la minería ilegal es la menos sorprendente. Sin embargo, sí es particularmente poderosa la metáfora de la suerte que Finnegan identifica como el elemento articulador de nuestra particular fiebre del oro. Muy recomendable.

On the payment day of your cachorreo—under Ilasaca’s present contract, this comes once every twenty-five days—you were allowed to haul fifty-kilogram sacks of rock out of the mine on your back, as many as you could carry. These were the same yellow sacks that miners carried out of the earth every day, all day, except on payment day the rock didn’t go onto the contractor’s lode but straight to a mill, as the property of the miner. The rest of the month, the miner could discreetly carry out a sack, perhaps, at the end of a shift. Certainly a promising rock or two. That was it—but it was not unimportant. When cachorreo was threatened as part of the government’s formalization proposals, miners poured into the streets in the thousands. This reform was out of the question. Mining for a miserable Peruvian salary was unthinkable. Without la suerte in the equation, the job was not worth doing.

Además, el artículo incluye quizás el debut en medios intelectuales internacionales de Esto es Guerra/Combate:

A TV on the wall in the restaurant was playing a game show. Every TV in town seemed to play this same game show at all hours. Ripped young men in wifebeaters and equally buff young women in bikinis grappled with softball questions (“What is the capital of Russia?”) and physical challenges and celebrated their triumphs with high fives and passionate kisses among puffs of bright-pink smoke. Miners in the ice-cold, no-frills eateries of La Rinconada would look up from steaming bowls of goat soup to watch the revelry. I wondered what they saw. The young people on TV were nearly all white. I had yet to see a white person in La Rinconada.

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