Maxima Acuña (Peru)
Maxima has stood up against one of the world’s biggest mining companies. Her home is in the Peruvian highlands of Cajamarca.
Newmont and Buenaventura wanted to develop a new gold and cooper mine there. Maxima refused to leave and decided to protect her home and the lagoons.
In 2011, the mining company came to the Acuñas’ door, demanding that she leave her land. When Acuña refused, she was met with brutality. Armed forces came and destroyed her house and possessions, and beat her and one of her daughters unconscious.
According to the Goldman Environmental Prize, The company sued the family in a provincial court, which found them guilty of illegally squatting on their own land. Acuña was sentenced to a suspended prison term of almost three years, and fined nearly $2,000—a huge sum for a subsistence farmer in Peru.
The company took her to court accusing her of illegally occupying her own land. But justice ruled in Maxima’s favour.
“Truth and justice we served”, Maxima said to local media
Maxima, is one of the many Indigenous women are fighting for their rights all around the world.