The Risk of Neoliberal Glaciers
Abstract and Keywords
Neoliberal reforms during the 1990s transformed natural resource access and environmental management worldwide. In Peru, hydroelectricity privatization allowed Duke Energy to consolidate control over the Cañón del Pato facility on the Santa River, which is fed largely by Cordillera Blanca glacier runoff. Once Duke Energy Egenor began management in 1997, the state's hydroelectric company, Electroperú, ended its glacier monitoring and glacial lake engineering programs. This was the first break in continuous glacier disaster prevention programs since 1951. Neoliberal privatization thus heightened climate change vulnerability while simultaneously making Duke Energy a major but highly contested stakeholder in the Santa River waterscape that extended up to Cordillera Blanca glaciers. Meanwhile, threats from glacier retreat and the 1997 El Niño event continued. In 2003, fears of another glacial lake outburst flood at Lake Palcacocha above Huaraz spurred government programs to manage glacier hazards and bolstered popular protests against Duke Energy.
When President Alberto Fujimori implemented his neoliberal reforms that privatized Peru's hydroelectric industry during the 1990s, Cordillera Blanca disaster prevention programs suffered markedly. By selling the Cañón del Pato hydroelectric plant to Egenor (Northern Peru Electric Generation Company), which the U.S.-based Duke Energy then consolidated, the state-owned Electroperú withdrew from the Santa River watershed. As it withdrew in late 1996 and 1997, Electroperú closed the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit. Suddenly, the state agency charged with monitoring and mitigating glacier hazards became a victim of the neoliberal agenda to reduce public spending. For Ancash residents, privatization meant increased vulnerability to glacier and glacial lake hazards. And the hazards remained as Andean and worldwide glacier retreat and ensuing glacial lake formation persisted after the 1980s.
As local vulnerability to glacier hazards increased, Egenor nearly doubled its use of Santa River water, which comes primarily from Cordillera Blanca glacier meltwater. The energy company also began building new reservoirs at Cordillera Blanca lakes to boost electricity generation at Cañón del Pato. In one case, Duke Energy even tried to add water to Lake Shallap, which the state had previously drained to prevent an outburst flood. As local residents pleaded with the government to remove water from glacial lakes, Egenor was trying to fill them higher than ever.
(p. 166 ) Privatization meant that Egenor began managing the Cordillera Blanca as a “neoliberal waterscape,” which consists of glacial lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams. Glaciers play a vital role in the waterscape by providing a major water source and, perhaps even more important, regulating water flow throughout the year. To generate more electricity at Cañón del Pato, the company tried to increase Santa River water flow, which sometimes involved managing the river's tributaries right up to the glacial ice. Egenor, of course, did not (and does not) want an outburst flood. But its management of the waterscape has focused on maximizing profits at the hydroelectric station. The type of broadly based disaster prevention programs that state agencies since the Lakes Commission had conducted—which tackled some glacial lake hazards that may not have even affected Cañón del Pato—was not in the private company's interest. Duke Energy bought access to Peru's vanishing water towers, not a responsibility to protect the region's populations. Neoliberal privatization provided the legal and political framework for Santa River water use interests to potentially eclipse local safety issues—the more insidious part of “disaster capitalism” that Naomi Klein and others have discussed.1
Peruvians, of course, were not the only ones to experience what scholars often refer to as the “neoliberalization of nature” in recent decades.2 As Ancash residents watched Duke Energy transform hydroelectricity generation and manage the region's waterscape, people elsewhere in Peru and Latin America also underwent similar neoliberal transitions. In Cajamarca, the privatization of mining transformed land tenure patterns, while neoliberalism led to more open access to fisheries off the Peruvian coast. In cities like Guayaquil and Cochabamba, residents saw their urban water supplies privatized. In Chile and Mexico, privatization allowed more open access to forests and agricultural lands, among other resources.3 Many argue that neoliberalism intensified vulnerability to disasters by increasing poverty, by siphoning labor and food production into exports rather than family livelihoods, and by pushing people onto marginalized land susceptible to flooding or landslides.4 As one of the most important political and economic transformations in recent decades, neoliberalism has generated far-reaching changes worldwide. Yet, the understanding of how neoliberalism affects human-environment relations remains relatively understudied compared to the analysis of issues such as unemployment, poverty, income distribution, social equality, and the quality of democracy.5 Examining Peru's Cañón del Pato and Duke Energy in the context of climate change and glacier retreat not only illuminates these neoliberal processes, but also exposes the gap that usually exists between neoliberal doctrine and on-the-ground implementation.
(p. 167 ) Neoliberalism, Fujimori, and Duke Energy
When Alberto Fujimori began his decadelong presidency in 1990, he had bigger disasters to worry about than a potential flood from glacial lakes such as Lake 513a. The two most pressing national problems revolved around the foundering economy and bloody civil unrest that had increasingly plagued Peru since 1980. The Peruvian economy spun out of control in the late 1980s under President Alan García. Economic catastrophe only encouraged Shining Path terrorism, which Fujimori subdued in 1992 after capturing Guzmán and other terrorist leaders.6 The president accomplished this in part because of his expanded powers following his April 1992 self-coup, which allowed him to rule for the next eight years as an authoritarian populist. During that time, his popularity rose alongside his increasingly centralized power because he helped stabilize the economy.
Fujimori followed neoliberal doctrine to deregulate, privatize, and open the Peruvian economy. Neoliberalism had been transforming economies and governments worldwide since the 1970s, and increasingly so by the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.7 In Latin America, it replaced the post–World War II model of import substitution industrialization. Fujimori began implementing neoliberal reforms immediately after taking office, pursuing them even more aggressively as his centralized power expanded. He reduced the size of the national government, slashed price subsidies, limited social spending, raised interest rates, increased taxes, deregulated financial and labor markets, decentralized services, allowed more free trade, and started paying Peru's national debt.8 But democracy and human rights suffered.9 There were other social costs—such as disaster and climate vulnerability—that have gone largely unanalyzed.
Privatizing the public sector, especially communications and energy, was particularly important to Fujimori. He believed that President Velasco had begun the expansion of the Peruvian government into a colossal bureaucracy that became increasingly inefficient, ineffective, and expensive. Indeed, by 1990 the Peruvian state had become one of Latin America's largest and weakest. Instead of generating revenue, public sector industries between 1985 and 1990 cost the national government $1.6 billion. The electricity industry was particularly prone to losing government money, given its large bureaucracy, corruption, lack of transparency, and inefficient expenditures and investments. Because of the financial liability of state-owned companies and the neoliberal dogma of deregulation and privatization, President Fujimori began liquidating state-owned companies as soon as he took power.10
(p. 168 ) Seeing Electrolima and Electroperú as two of the most important state-owned energy companies to privatize, the government implemented the 1992 Electric Concessions Law to begin that process.11 The Cañón del Pato station became one of the hydroelectric plants targeted for privatization. In April 1996, President Fujimori and Daniel Hokama, the minister of energy and mines, approved the measure to sell Cañón del Pato to Egenor. The U.S. company Dominion Energy acquired the majority of Egenor in 1996.12 Through a complicated process involving political policies, stockholder decisions, and economic agreements, Duke Energy had by 1999 acquired the principal share of Cañón del Pato. A Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Duke Energy now produces roughly 4,000 megawatts of energy in Central and South America, specifically in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. By 2002, the company held 99 percent of Egenor and in Peru was called Duke Energy International Egenor, known interchangeably in the country as either Duke or Egenor. Duke Energy ranks among the largest private energy companies in Peru, and its principal electricity generation station is Cañón del Pato.13
Privatizing the electricity industry generated mixed results for Peruvians. On the one hand, Peru's electrification index (percentage of people with electricity) rose from 48.4 percent in 1992 to 70 percent in 1998. Also, the number of households with electricity rose from 1.8 million in 1992 to 2.9 million in 1998.14 While sounding like positive accomplishments, these statistics fail to mention that prices for residential power rose substantially during the 1992–1997 period, without a similar rise in income.15 Beyond rising prices, Peruvians and others also complained about privatization more generally, arguing that it limited public spending on social programs and public works projects and diminished their control over resources and agendas previously managed by the state.16 It was the elimination of one such social program—the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit—that irritated Ancash residents living beneath melting Cordillera Blanca glaciers.
The Fate of Glaciology in the Privatized Andes
The glaciology unit, originally scheduled to close by October 1996, maintained a small staff until it officially disintegrated in March 1997.17 Fujimori's neoliberal agenda was generating far-reaching implications for Callejón de Huaylas residents: they suddenly found themselves without the state agency that had been working to prevent glacier and glacial lake disasters for a half century. The glaciology office had in the past been unstable, had moved among several (p. 169 ) agencies, had its budget slashed, and had increasingly pursued water use interests instead of disaster mitigation. Nevertheless, the state had been funding and maintaining a specific agency for decades.
Local residents, regional leaders, glacier experts, and an increasingly active Lima-based environmental community concerned with global warming did not stand by idly as Electroperú got out of the disaster prevention business. In fact, even before the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit was shut down, these groups began protesting the closure and insisting on alternative plans to keep the office open. A group of Ancash mayors explained in January 1997, for example, that after 50 years of protecting the region's inhabitants, the glaciology office must continue “to maintain control of the lakes and consequently provide security to the populations surrounding the entire Cordillera Blanca.”18 By March 1997, Ancash President Fredy Moreno Neglia had also become concerned. In a letter to Electroperú's director, Jesús Beutis, the president explained that Cordillera Blanca glaciers were important nationally and that glacial lakes put Ancash in “permanent danger” of outburst floods. He praised the historical accomplishments of Electroperú (and its predecessor, the Santa Corporation) not only for protecting Ancash residents, but also for advancing national and regional economic development and distributing electricity to Peruvians. Its work “cannot be interrupted,” the Ancash president concluded.19
Electroperú actually began discussing the glaciology office's future as soon as the state privatized Cañón del Pato in 1996. The energy company weighed four options: fund the glaciology office even though Electroperú had no Santa River operations; close it completely; transfer it to another government ministry; or transfer it to a private organization. Electroperú recognized the agency's importance and believed its equipment and its archive, with thousands of technical reports, remained useful for future disaster prevention and water resource management. But the office had an estimated annual budgetary need of 1.7 million Peruvian soles, and Electroperú could not maintain it. Consequently, company managers saw a transfer as the best solution. Transferring it to the Water Division of the National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) within the Ministry of Agriculture would keep the glaciology office within the national government, which Electroperú viewed as favorable because it was legally created as a national state agency. But Electroperú worried that under INRENA's control, information would not be standardized with the hydroelectric industry. Alternatively, Electroperú saw advantages to private operation of the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit. In particular, the company's 1996 report on the fate of the unit concluded that private management would allow “the intervention of Electroperú” and other electric companies to direct the institute's research and maintain access to its data. The disadvantage of this (p. 170 ) solution, they projected, would be its tenuous funding, which could cause “grave damage to the development of water use projects and the production of hydroelectric energy.” Electroperú considered handing over the glaciology office to the Geological Mining and Metallurgical Institute, the Ancash government, Civil Defense, and Huaraz's “Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo” National University.20 Although Electroperú searched for a new home for the glaciology office, its objective did not revolve around glacier hazards or the protection of local populations. Instead, Electroperú saw the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit as a tool of the hydroelectricity industry.
Like many local residents, glacier experts also opposed the closing of the unit and, in some cases, sought to continue its existence in a new form if necessary. Alcides Ames, one of the country's leading glacier experts, with 40 years of experience working in the Cordillera Blanca, expressed considerable apprehension about closing the office. He argued that “the continuous attentive observation of existing lakes as well as of developing proglacial lakes is of major importance especially in the Cordillera Blanca where human activities are in the immediate neighbourhood of hazardous proglacial lakes.”21 César Portocarrero, who previously directed the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit, proposed transferring it to a private organization that he was forming called the Institute of Hydrology and Glaciology. Also in late 1996, Benjamín Morales, the first director of the Santa Corporation's glaciology office back in the 1960s, also saw the need to maintain an organization charged with Cordillera Blanca research and disaster prevention. Morales announced in January 1997 that he and his colleagues had formed a new organization that could take over glacier and glacial lake monitoring, the Andean Glaciology and Geoenvironmental Institute. His institute was formed “with the objective of continuing and expanding research on hydrological resources from glaciers and lakes located in the country's 20 glaciated mountain ranges.”22 These glacier experts, along with Marco Zapata, who had by the late 1990s become one of the most prominent glacier experts in Peru, knew more about Andean glacier hazards than anyone on earth. They vehemently opposed the permanent closing of the government's Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit. But they also had personal interests in seeing the agency continue. Some observers even suggested that these glacier experts' infighting and competition helped derail discussions about the future of the glaciology office.
Other national agencies also became involved in the fate of glaciological research. In the mid-1990s, the Peruvian government formed the National Climate Change Commission to implement specific programs to combat global warming. This work increasingly fell under the auspices of Peru's National Council for the Environment (CONAM) during the late 1990s. The (p. 171 ) Peruvian government created CONAM in 1994 to serve as the “national environmental authority,” and it is governed by a board of national, regional, and local government officials as well as private sector specialists and university academics.23 In early 1997, Patricia Iturreguia, a well-established CONAM climate change expert, wrote to Electroperú on behalf of the council and the National Climate Change Commission. She asked that the energy company transfer the glaciology office's information and equipment to Morales's Andean Glaciology and Geoenvironmental Institute, which would join CONAM and other collaborating national campaigns to combat climate change.24 The involvement of CONAM and the National Climate Change Commission indicated that, by 1997, glacier hazards had become a national problem tied to the issue of global warming. Further, national and international awareness of global warming was helping the case for Cordillera Blanca disaster prevention.
The various debates about the fate of the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit in 1996 and 1997 showed that Cordillera Blanca glaciers had become part of a global discussion. People and groups in England, Austria, and the United States were now deciding what melting Andean glaciers represented and how they would be managed. This globalizing trend represented a broader shift internationally, whereby glacier retreat shifted from a local issue to a global debate. Mountaineers now worry about glaciers on Mt. Everest, trekkers lament the loss of Kilimanjaro ice, government officials express concern (or joy) about the disintegration of Arctic ice, environmentalists worry about melting glaciers in Glacier National Park, and ski resorts everywhere worry about losing ski terrain. The Cordillera Blanca glaciers also shifted from a local concern to a global discussion. They represented a threat, to be sure, but the discussions also centered on opportunities. Groups had something to gain in the Cordillera Blanca: hydrological data for hydroelectricity, climate data for understanding global warming, power by controlling the agency and its mission, political support from local constituents, or personal safety. But as all these social groups debated the issue in 1997, sudden climatic shifts and glacial lake changes once again made nature a potent historical actor shaping policy and science.
The Never-Ending Hazards
The Callejón de Huaylas has not suffered any major glacier-related catastrophes since 1970, though climate change and ensuing glacier retreat have continued to create dangerous conditions—and near disasters—at Cordillera Blanca glacial lakes. By the late 1980s, after nearly five decades of engineering (p. 172 ) projects to reduce glacier hazards and prevent glacial lake outburst floods, experts had completed 25 glacial lake security projects. Five additional disaster prevention projects were also under way. Meanwhile, glaciers kept retreating, and unstable moraine-dammed glacial lakes kept forming and enlarging. Surveys showed an increase from 314 Cordillera Blanca lakes in 1983 to 374 in 1997, an astonishing rise considering they numbered only 223 in the first lake inventory completed in 1953.25
These glacier and glacial lake trends were part of a global phenomenon.26 In fact, by the 1990s, glacier retreat had become for most scientists and observers in the world a clear sign of global warming—whether it was melting glaciers in the Andes or the shrinking Greenland ice sheet. Dangerous glacial lakes were also forming elsewhere, most notably in the Himalayas, where particularly damaging glacial lake outburst floods occurred in Nepal in 1977 and 1985.27 In 2003, the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development and the United Nations Environment Program, working with several other organizations, completed an inventory of glacial lakes in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and Pakistan. They concluded that Nepal had 20 dangerous glacial lakes, Bhutan had 24, Tibet had 24, and Pakistan had 9.28 Glacial lakes have also formed in other world regions, creating dangerous conditions in Europe and North America as well. On the Italian-Swiss border region in 2002, for example, a glacial lake at the base of Belvedere Glacier expanded rapidly and threatened to inundate the Macugnaga community. Fortunately, engineers drained it quickly. Dozens of other glacial lake outburst floods have occurred elsewhere in the Alps.29 In British Columbia, Canada, at least nine moraine dams have burst since the nineteenth century, most in the last few decades.30 Glacier and glacial lake hazards have formed in recent decades—and in many cases triggered disasters or required emergency lake-drainage projects—in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. Peruvians may have felt the catastrophic effects of these glacial lakes before any other world region and in much deadlier ways, but the problems unfolding in the Cordillera Blanca have become global issues.
El Niño and Precarious Lakes
In 1997, an outburst flood, an El Niño event, and the emergence of three new unstable glacial lakes suddenly made the fate of the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit an urgent issue. First, the natural dam holding back Lake Pacliashcocha in the Honda Canyon above Carhuaz, Marcará, Vicos, and other smaller communities burst in January 1997. The ensuing small-scale flood (p. 173 ) dramatically confirmed the existence of persistent glacial lake hazards in the region. Many Quechua-speaking residents, who referred to the Honda Canyon as the “deep broken place,” had long feared spirits from the glaciated peaks and water from the valley's glacial lakes.31 Their concerns became reality as the flood destroyed bridges, roads, trails, and agricultural land and killed livestock that grazed near the river. Fortunately, no people died.32 News of the event spread quickly. Local authorities in many Callejón de Huaylas communities subsequently demanded specific measures to drain and contain Pacliashcocha. Their concerns about this specific lake only invigorated broader quests to keep the glaciology office active.
A few months later, scientists began predicting a major El Niño event to affect Peru in late 1997 and 1998. El Niño events, known technically as El Niño-southern oscillation, occur when trade winds blowing west across the tropical Pacific Ocean ease up. As less warm sea surface water blows west across the Pacific, the normally cool sea surface temperature off the Peruvian coast warms, which cuts off the nutrient-rich upwelling. El Niño events thus change water temperatures and shift ocean currents, often wreaking havoc on Peru's fishing industry. Inland temperatures and precipitation patterns also fluctuate and vary. El Niño events generally produce increased rainfall on the coast and diminishing precipitation in the highlands. During El Niño, Puno can suffer drought while Trujillo drowns. Peru has always suffered from El Niño events, and scientists in June 1997 began predicting a particularly devastating one.33 President Fujimori listened.34 He assembled a task force of policymakers and scientists to prepare a national plan to help avoid devastation from predicted heavy rains and floods. Fujimori secured $150 million from the World Bank to help prepare the country.35
Following the mid-1997 El Niño prediction, glacier experts, policymakers, and local residents grew more concerned about Cordillera Blanca glacial lakes. Scientists now recognize complex and dynamic interactions among climate change, atmospheric humidity, snowfall, El Niño events, and glacier behavior. In 1997, they believed El Niño would immediately exacerbate glacier melting.36 Electroperú responded by authorizing 162,000 Peruvian soles for the temporary continuation of the glaciology office, though with a skeletal staff.37 Further, Electroperú ordered the completion of both a Cordillera Blanca glacial lake inventory and a study of 31 specific lakes deemed potentially dangerous or historically unstable. They hoped to identify prospective problems before the onset of El Niño. And they did. The lake inventory revealed that many more glacial lakes existed in the Cordillera Blanca than experts expected, pointing to the dynamic, unpredictable nature of the alpine environment.38 At the same time, Morales's institute conducted a glacier report that showed marked Andean (p. 174 ) glacier retreat.39 The 31-lake study found three potentially dangerous lakes: Lake Pacliash in the Ishinka Canyon just north of Huaraz; Lake Pacliashcocha in the Honda Canyon above Vicos and Carhuaz; and Lake Arhuaycocha in the Santa Cruz Canyon near Caraz.40
The identification of these three lakes following the early 1997 outburst flood and as an El Niño event approached caused an outcry from local residents and authorities. Those inhabiting the valleys below Lakes Paclishcocha and Pacliash understood the magnitude of these predictions because they had recently seen glacial lake outburst floods come through their communities. The Lake Pacliashcocha flood had only months before provoked anxiety in Vicos, Marcará, and Carhuaz. In the Ishinka Canyon below Lake Pacliash, residents also remembered a glacial lake outburst flood that ripped down the valley in 1982 and an earlier one in 1952.41 In 2004, residents of the Ishinka Canyon's Collón community could still describe the 1982 outburst flood in vivid detail. Their community, however, lies above the riverbanks. They heard the raucous roar of the passing flood but survived. One resident lamented that fishing was never as good after the flood.42 Their historical experiences in Ishinka Canyon merged with new anxieties in 1997, when Electroperú identified Lake Pacliash as a large, unstable glacial lake that could swell and collapse from the accelerated glacier retreat and precipitation changes associated with the approaching El Niño.
Fear of floods spread to Huaraz, and a panic broke out there in 1998. One evening while students were in class at the Ancash National University in Huaraz, an administrator arrived at the classroom door asking urgently to speak with the professor. She became quite animated and agitated when the professor only halfheartedly began making his way toward the door. After a very brief discussion, the professor quickly came back in the classroom announcing firmly that “an outburst flood is coming.” The entire classroom emptied. The university campus sits on the 1941 flood path close to the Quilcay River. Students and professors ran through the campus, but as one student later said, none of them really knew where to go. While students scrambled on the campus, a young man in downtown Huaraz emerged from his shop when he heard commotion on the streets. People had been watching the rising water level in the Quilcay River all day. Somewhere, somehow, from someone, a rumor emerged and exacerbated the anxiety building in the region for months: the rising water level signaled an approaching outburst flood. The shopkeeper described the scene as “extreme panic.” People carrying suitcases, televisions, and other household “essentials” clogged the streets. A family near the Soledad church went out on their fourth-floor balcony to see if they could make sense of the situation. They only saw chaos. Police and authorities were scarce. (p. 175 ) Nobody seemed to know what to do—neither the police nor the newscasters on television reporting the situation live.43 In the end, no outburst flood appeared. Huaraz remained intact, at least physically.
The closing of the glaciology office, the El Niño scare, and the continued uncertainty about Lakes Pacliash, Pacliashcocha, and Arhuaycocha made people throughout the Callejón de Huaylas jittery about their safety. Some international research on Cordillera Blanca glaciers continued in the late 1990s by scientists such as Georg Kaser, Bryan Mark, Bernard Pouyaud, and others. But their primary interests were not glacial lake hazards, though Kaser had helped at Lake 513a. Local concerns thus arose and persuaded an Ancash congresswoman to petition the national government to reinstate the glaciology office.44 Many other Peruvians, including glacier experts and regional authorities, put pressure on Electroperú and the government to keep the glaciology office staffed. President Fujimori, who was by late 1997 allocating significant resources for El Niño preparation, gave a tepid response. In October he issued a 120-day national state of emergency for Ancash. It stipulated that Electroperú use its own operating budget—and work with Civil Defense—to contain the three lakes.45 Glacier experts working on a contractual, short-term basis implemented several strategies to protect the population, including installing radio-equipped watchmen at the three dangerous lakes, doing helicopter surveillance of these and other Cordillera Blanca lakes, and immediately starting to drain Lakes Arhuaycocha, Pacliashcocha, and Pacliash.46 Fortunately, predictions about the devastating effects of El Niño on unstable lakes did not play out: the three lakes did not produce any outburst floods, though it took three years to drain them.
By the time engineers had completed the three lake security projects, a new government was in power in Peru. President Toledo's government reestablished a Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit, this time under INRENA and the Ministry of Agriculture instead of a hydroelectric corporation within the Ministry of Energy and Mines. The new glaciology office opened in 2001, but the staff, which numbered 74 in 1987, was cut to five.47 This small but dedicated staff, headed by Marco Zapata, has nonetheless continued to do important work on glacial lake security, water use, and global warming issues related to glacier retreat and glacier hazards. They have also collaborated with a host of international scientists—especially from Austrian, French, and US research centers—doing an ever-increasing number of studies on tropical glaciers.
Fujimori's neoliberal reforms no doubt diminished Cordillera Blanca disaster prevention programs in the late 1990s. It even seemed as if privatization would end state support for monitoring and mitigating glacial lake (p. 176 ) hazards. But local residents, glacier experts, environmental groups, and regional authorities prevented the state's complete abandonment of glacial lakes. Fujimori's own increasingly populist policies and his personal interest in combating the 1997–1998 El Niño also made Lima aware of Cordillera Blanca glacier retreat. Ultimately, the El Niño event and the rapidly changing glacial landscape became powerful reminders of the perils of neoliberalism and the reasons for national governments to continue funding social programs like disaster prevention.
Duke Energy's Dam Projects
By the early twenty-first century, while Ancash residents advocated the draining of Cordillera Blanca glacial lakes to keep them safe, neoliberal reforms had created a political-economic-legal framework for Duke Energy to construct new reservoirs. This process by which neoliberalism promoted reservoir construction was also taking place in Bolivia, and worldwide from Brazil to India, where local residents fought aggressively against these new water-regulating reservoirs.48 Duke Energy was not the first entity to propose and construct reservoirs in the Cordillera Blanca.49 In fact, the original Cañón del Pato privatization concession stipulated that its new owner would have to increase electricity output by a total of 100 megawatts at the two hydroelectric stations that Egenor acquired in 1996, Cañón del Pato on the Santa River and the much smaller plant at Carhuaquero on the Chancay River in Cajamarca. The goal was to boost Cañón del Pato by at least 90 megawatts and Carhuaquero by 10. Duke adhered to the concession, investing $90 million between 1999 and 2002 to upgrade Cañón del Pato from 150 to 256 megawatts. Also, in 1999, Duke petitioned the Ministry of Agriculture to expand its use of Santa River water from 48 cubic meters per second to 79.50 Even after meeting the concession requirements, however, Duke Energy continued its quest to manage the Santa River and manipulate the Cordillera Blanca waterscape. The company wanted more control over water flow. It needed more dams and reservoirs.
By 2001, plans were under way to transform Lakes Aguascocha, Shallap, and Aquiscocha into water-regulating reservoirs. Duke chose the three lakes because they were able to store significant amounts of water, were economically and logistically feasible, and were safe from avalanches, thus limiting the possibility of outburst floods. Reports indicate that Duke Energy was aware of glacial lake and glacier hazards but did not find them significant at these specific lakes. For Auquiscocha, for example, the Duke assessment concluded: “In general the glaciers are found to be moderately stable. In the event that they (p. 177 ) produce probable avalanches of snow, these will first affect Lake Chequiacocha, which will be able to mitigate their effects.” For Lake Shallap, the studies observed that nearby glaciers “do not show indications of instability.” The report did, however, assert that Shallap's proposed dam “must be secure and appropriate to resist the effects of probable avalanches of snow that can fall into the lake and/or be caused by seismic activity.”51 To Duke, glacial hazards either did not exist, were not cause for alarm, or could be mitigated by effective engineering.
Local residents saw Duke's dam projects differently—as they had with previous reservoir proposals. Many had opposed Cordillera Blanca reservoirs since the 1980s, when Hidrandina and later Electroperú planned to build them. By the time Egenor took over Cañón del Pato in 1996 and proposed to build new reservoirs, residents were already leery. They also seemed to distrust a foreign company more than Electroperú.52 Thus, as Duke Energy initiated reservoir construction plans, locals throughout the region escalated their opposition to the three projects, especially those at Lakes Auquiscocha and Shallap, because each lake's specific history turned people against Duke.53
Located above the city of Carhuaz and the community of Shilla, Lake Auquiscocha is a large lake that water developers and the glaciology office had long hoped to transform into a reservoir.54 But the local population did not always welcome outsiders warmly. A confrontation erupted over a rain gauge that the glacier experts had installed to monitor precipitation patterns just below melting glaciers. Rural farmers complained that the rain gauge caused the drought. To make it rain, they removed it. A few days later, when glaciology office personnel arrived at the lake to collect their monthly data, they could not find the instrument. Descending from the lake on their way back to Huaraz, they met a local man who told them who had taken it. Back in Huaraz, the glaciology office director told the technicians to install a new rain gauge near the lake, which they went back to do the following day, taking the Carhuaz subprefect with them. When community members saw another rain gauge in the vehicle, they became angry. They swarmed the Jeep, captured the four men, and destroyed the new rain gauge. They let the driver go so that he could inform authorities that they had taken hostages and convey their terms of release: they demanded that Marino Zamora, then head of the glaciology office, personally return to the community and promise to keep these drought-inducing rain gauges out of the area. A few hours later, Zamora arrived with other members of his office and the prefect, the highest authority in Ancash. As a precaution, the unnerved prefect took 20 police officers with the returning delegation.
Approximately 80 local residents had gathered to speak with authorities when they arrived around 5 p.m. Zamora negotiated the release of the three (p. 178 ) hostages by agreeing not to install a rain gauge. The prefect then drafted a decree, which they all signed. Locals released the hostages, and the authorities were about to leave when the police officers suddenly appeared—unexpectedly and unnecessarily, and without an order to do so. Insulted and alarmed, community members turned belligerent. The glaciology staff and authorities jumped in their vehicles and fled while a “rain” of rocks flew at them. They escaped unharmed, but the previously tense situation ended even worse. The glaciology office never again tried to install a rain gauge near the lake.55 But the animosity remained when Egenor began surveying the lake in the late 1990s.
Residents near Lake Auquiscocha had other reasons to fight the proposed reservoir as well. Locals believed the lake was enchanted, and because of its malicious spirits the lake “wanted” to overflow. As local resident María Apolinario told anthropologist William Stein in the 1950s:
They think that Awkish Qoca, which is above Hualcan, can burst. There are some people who go up there to get [glacial] ice. They see that the lake is full of mist. The water wants to spill over. That is why people believe that it can burst out without warning. Every time that people come near the lake, it turns into blood and a rainbow forms. The water begins to rise up. The people who go to see it do not come close because it is very dangerous.
One time it did come over. A voice was heard in the lake. It was the voice of a woman, calling out, saying that if they did not have a mass given, all the water would come out. Then the people who had their chakra nearby brought the priest to have a mass for them. Since that time, the water has gone down a little. Many people are now saying that it wants to come out again.56
Historical forces and social circumstances at Lake Auquiscocha made the proposed reservoir deeply problematic for Duke. If locals saw Auquiscocha as enchanted and likely to rise up and come out—as they likely did because these views remain common throughout the Callejón de Huaylas—then Duke's proposal to add additional water to the lake could have provoked considerable anxiety and fear. What's more, the interest in turning the entire lake into a technologically managed system likely inflamed historical tensions that ignited over a rain gauge less than a decade before. Rural communities and Carhuaz mayor José Mejía Solórzano mobilized against Duke's proposed project. The company did not try for long to overcome these powerful obstacles. It abandoned the Auquiscocha reservoir in 2002, turning its attention instead to Lake Shallap above Huaraz.
(p. 179 ) Lake Shallap is one of the Cordillera Blanca glacial lakes that engineers have recognized as a potential threat to Huaraz since 1941. Two issues made locals and experts worry about it. First, the retreating glaciers above the lake descend down steep slopes, increasing the likelihood of avalanching ice that would splash into the water. Second, water leaving Lake Shallap flows directly into the Quilcay River that runs through the heart of Huaraz. Engineers first began draining the lake in 1942, constructing an artificial security dam in the 1950s, and rebuilding it after the 1970 earthquake.57 In addition to conducting security projects, glacier experts had repeatedly determined that Lake Shallap was too risky to serve as a reservoir. Morales, for example, inspected the lake in 1966 and concluded that there was “no possibility” for reservoir construction anywhere in the Shallap Canyon.58 Even when Electroperú and the glaciology office conducted more elaborate studies in 1989 and 1990, engineers still did not consider Lake Shallap a suitable lake.59
Duke Energy reversed these earlier apprehensions about the lake's suitability for a reservoir. By 2001, the company was increasing the height of the security dam, hoping to raise the Shallap lake level by 10 meters. The raised water level would add an additional 2 million cubic meters of water to the lake, enough to generate an extra 1.8 megawatts of electricity at Cañón del Pato.60 To complete the project, Duke complied with a host of bureaucratic obligations, completed an environmental impact statement, and got official approval from the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Agriculture, and Huascarán National Park because Lake Shallap lies within park boundaries. In early 2003, the project was under way. Once again, environmental events turned local people against the project by reminding them of persistent lake and glacier hazards above Huaraz.
NASA Provokes the Palcacocha Nightmare
Duke Energy's Lake Shallap project progressed with little local awareness until early 2003, when it burst into public view after a near catastrophe spilled out of Lake Palcacocha. On March 19, 2003, Huaraz residents awoke to a city without running water. After several hours, much longer than the usual interruption, residents and authorities grew concerned. They also discovered distressing changes in the Quilcay River: it was cloudy, filled with sediment, and was running much higher than the previous day. As workers made their way up the Quilcay River to investigate the city's water treatment plant, farmers on their way down told them that an ice avalanche into Lake Palcacocha the night before (p. 180 )
Authorities called an emergency meeting. A few hours later, members of the regional government, Civil Defense, the glaciology office, the prefect, the Huaraz mayor, the Ancash president, and many others met to discuss Palcacocha and develop a plan of action. Using an airplane loaned by the Barrick mining company, experts flew up the Cojup Canyon that same afternoon. Blocks of glacial ice covered 70 percent of Lake Palcacocha and one of the security dams was destroyed. The lake had evidently overflowed. To gather additional information, authorities sent a delegation of engineers and authorities directly to the lake. Meanwhile, Ancash President Fredy Ghilardy held a press conference to convey the situation and advise residents that he was putting the city on alert. Huaraz remained without water for a week as experts swarmed Palcacocha to assess its stability and determine the cause of the mini-flood. Residents waited anxiously to hear the results.
By the end of March, 10 days after the Palcacocha overflow, the glaciology office explained publicly what had happened. A landslide from the steeply sloped moraine slid into the lake and created eight-meter-high waves that washed over the security dam and then sloshed around in the lake bed like ocean waves in a swimming pool.61 Half of the auxiliary security dam eroded away completely, but it withstood the force long enough to keep most of the water in the lake. The water that did escape damaged Huaraz's water treatment plant and covered parts of the upper Cojup Valley. But the lake's two security dams probably prevented a catastrophe in the city. Six decades of glacial lake security projects in the Cordillera Blanca had paid off in just this one case of disaster averted. Nevertheless, Huaraz could not yet rest peacefully because potential problems still lurked at Palcacocha. The security dams needed repairing, and experts worried that icebergs floating in the lake could block the outlet stream, thereby damming the lake and adding more water to the unstable situation.
A few weeks later, while Palcacocha concerns still festered, NASA, the U.S. space agency, turned that anxiety into panic. In an April 11, 2003, press release, (p. 182 ) NASA announced that Lake Palcacocha posed more serious threats to Huaraz than people even contemplated. According to ASTER satellite images taken in 2001 and 2003, an “ominous crack” had formed in a Mt. Cupi glacier directly above Lake Palcacocha. “Should the large glacier chunk break off and fall into the lake,” NASA warned, “the ensuing flood could hurtle down the Cojup Valley into the Rio Santa Valley below, reaching Huaraz and its population of 60,000 in less than 15 minutes.” Mt. Cupi and Lake Palcacocha, NASA concluded, were a “disaster-in-the-making.”62 Stunned by the already tense situation in the valley, people wondered whether (and when) the glacier and lake would crash down on them. They feared a disaster more deadly and destructive than the 1941 flood. Huaraz radio stations were soon telling residents to pack their most valuable belongings and to sleep in their clothes so they could flee the flood rapidly. “We were all very worried in my family,” a resident told the BBC in an October 9, 2003, broadcast. “We packed suitcases with clothes and blankets.”
Although NASA's press release said that the agency was “assisting Peruvian government officials and geologists in monitoring a glacier that feeds Lake Palcacocha,” most Peruvian glacier experts, including the Glaciology and Hydrological Resources Unit, had no idea that NASA had found the problems or that NASA was going to post such a high-profile, alarming press release. Peruvians thus condemned NASA for its “apocalyptic” claim, which Peruvian scientists and the press called “alarmist.” Experts also criticized the way NASA handled such a delicate situation. The report lacked corresponding field studies to verify the problem noted in the satellite image. The space agency failed to communicate with Peruvian experts or government officials before generating widespread panic in Peru. Most important, NASA had its facts wrong: the supposed “ominous crack” in the glacier was a rock cliff.63 Georg Kaser, who had been researching Cordillera Blanca glaciers for fifteen years at that point, and Christian Georges, both from the University of Innsbruck's Tropical Glaciology Group, concluded after a careful study that NASA's warning lacked “any realistic reason and can only be understood to be a rash misinterpretation of satellite images.”64 Other international experts in glacier hazards also believed NASA made a “serious misinterpretation” of the situation, though they agreed that Palcacocha “is not, however, without hazards.”65
Local residents' frustration with NASA's report stemmed not only from the panic it generated and the seemingly inaccurate scientific analysis, but also because of its timing. The agency released it less than a month after the Palcacocha overflow and just days before the Easter holiday, a time when Peruvians from Lima and elsewhere generally flock to the Callejón de Huaylas. Despite local and national efforts to reassure tourists about the safety of Huaraz, the Easter 2003 tourism season was poor for business.66 El Comercio reported (p. 183 ) that only 6,000 visitors made it to Huaraz, instead of the anticipated 18,000. “Those who decided not to visit the Ancash capital,” the newspaper concluded, “had been influenced by the news that NASA disseminated, which was subsequently echoed in various forms throughout Peru.”67
The NASA debacle opens an illuminating window on twenty-first-century Cordillera Blanca glacier hazards. On the one hand, Peruvian glacier experts and authorities may have responded to NASA hastily and turned the potential glacier hazard into a political rather than environmental issue. Of course, NASA made its report political by interfering in another country. But Peruvian responses also centered on personal attacks, the economics of Easter tourism, and the power to control information. More important, though, Peruvian glacier experts' confident claims that “no danger existed of any kind” mostly came before they had completed scientific analyses of both the Mt. Cupi glacier and Lake Palcacocha.68 Even after experts visited the site and analyzed historical photographs of the supposedly threatening glacier, they still operated with a wrong assumption about the amount of water in Lake Palcacocha. As Benjamín Morales explained to the Lima newspapers Correo and La Republica on April 15, 2003, “Today there is very little water [in Palcacocha], which could not produce a catastrophe of the type [NASA] predicts.” But Morales and others drew their conclusions based on the most recent study, conducted in 1974. Not until October 2003, six months after NASA's announcement, did experts learn that Palcacocha actually contained approximately 3.7 million cubic meters of water—nearly eight times the amount they assumed when they called NASA's claims “alarmist” and “apocalyptic.”69 The amount of lake water may not have mattered, as Kaser and Georges argued compellingly, because NASA had been wrong about glacier instability above the lake. Its analysis focused solely on the supposed glacier crack, not the lake. But Morales and the media had argued passionately that the amount of water in Palcacocha did matter, and that neither the glacier nor the lake posed a threat precisely because the lake contained so little water.
On the other hand, the NASA report was problematic on various fronts even beyond its inaccuracy. Ostensibly about the Mt. Cupi glacier crack, the NASA press release actually reads like a sales pitch for ASTER satellite images. The report devotes more attention to general ASTER capabilities than to Peru, Huaraz, or the glacier above Palcacocha that could affect 60,000 people. Half of the report discusses potential uses of these satellite images, including “monitoring glacial advances and retreats and potentially active volcanoes; identifying crop stress; determining cloud morphology and physical properties; evaluating wetlands,” and many other uses unrelated to Huaraz. In fact, NASA provided no detailed analysis of the glacier's (p. 184 ) “ominous crack” except to say that the images showed its existence. Several Peruvian scientists believed NASA had simply wanted to generate attention for its ASTER program. On April 24, 2003, the prestigious scientific journal Nature criticized NASA for generating alarm in Peru. A news brief reported that, in response to questions about the press release identifying threats to Huaraz, NASA explained that the agency sought to demonstrate the value of remote sensing and the circulation of satellite images in monitoring glacier hazards worldwide. Nature was quite critical of NASA: “Earth-observation experts have questioned whether it was responsible to do this, as the glacier posed no immediate threat. José Achache, director of the European Space Agency's Earth Observation Programmes, says it is 'not ethical for an agency to refer to threats to people's lives as a means of demonstrating the relevance of Earth-observation satellites.'”70 The space agency appears to have tried to capitalize on the already traumatized people of Huaraz. That trauma backfired not only against NASA but also against Duke Energy.
Fighting Globalization at Lake Shallap
Anxiety about the Palcacocha mini-flood and the NASA news increased local residents' awareness of unstable Cordillera Blanca glaciers and glacial lakes. As a result, the Huaraz population turned against Duke Energy's Lake Shallap reservoir project. Benjamín Morales, who was at the time hoping to become the Huaraz mayor, used the Palcacocha incident to express concern about the Shallap reservoir. “The threat of an outburst flood is not so much from Lake Cojup [Palcacocha],” he wrote in a newspaper, “but rather from Lake Shallap. That is the real danger.” Morales identified two critical problems that he believed endangered the Huaraz population. First, Shallap's dam that Duke was modifying was originally built as a security dam—not to hold back water in a reservoir. Second, adding water to a previously drained lake with retreating glaciers above it ran the risk of creating a devastating outburst flood. The only solution, Morales concluded, “is to paralyze the Lake Shallap project.”71 Other experts agreed.72 A representative from Duke Energy maintained, however, that Shallap did not—and would not—contain enough water even to reach Huaraz in the event that the reservoir dam failed. For him, the question of a catastrophic outburst flood was moot.73
By October 2003, locals considered the Shallap reservoir as one of several issues instigated by the national government and Duke Energy that threatened their security, their livelihoods, and their autonomy.74 A July 2003 article in a (p. 185 ) local Huaraz magazine excoriated Duke Energy, not just for its proposed reservoir but also for treating farmers poorly, for greedily taking water from the Lake Parón watershed, for failing to meet environmental regulations, and generally for treating the regional population poorly in its “lucrative business.”75 In early October, an estimated 30,000 people packed into downtown Huaraz in what newspapers called a protest of “historic” proportions. As Huaraz Mayor Lombardo Mautino rallied the crowd from a podium in the city's main plaza, he outlined the protestors' three main demands: finalizing studies for the Casma-Huaraz highway; abandoning the Lake Shallap reservoir and repairing the security dams at Lake Palcacocha; and allocating the promised $7 million to the National University “Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo” in Huaraz.76 Thousands of residents and high-level local and regional government officials had turned out in part to oppose the Shallap reservoir. The huge protest spurred additional opposition from residents, government offices, and technical institutions throughout the region.
By early 2004, concern about Shallap had evolved into regional, national, and international discussions about a private company's right to access natural resources and reshape the Cordillera Blanca waterscape. Suddenly this glacial lake was at the center of national debates not only about how neoliberalism was playing out, but also about citizen participation in a democratic government, the state's involvement in the economy, social welfare programs, access to natural resources, and environmental management. These debates involved a foreign energy company, diverse Peruvian residents, scientists and engineers, attorneys and judges, mountaineers, environmental groups, and politicians at all levels of government. Eventually, in 2004, the Peruvian Supervising Institution of the Investment in Energy, which was established in the late 1990s to oversee the energy industry, intervened against Duke at Lake Shallap. The Shallap project, the agency concluded, could not “verify the stability of the dam and reservoir.” Juan Cardich, a representative of Duke Energy, responded by saying that the company had indeed followed all the necessary steps and requirements, both legal and technical. Moreover, he pointed out that “Huaraz already has a water deficit, a problem that will later spread throughout the Callejón de Huaylas. With lake reservoirs, we all benefit because the water that is being stored will be able to improve water distribution in the dry season, benefiting Huaraz [and] communities surrounding the projects.”77 Despite Cardich's optimism, Duke abandoned the project, leaving the Shallap dam as a security dam. In two out of the first three reservoir construction cases that Duke pursued, local residents had successfully fought its projects. Indeed, neoliberalism was playing out much differently in Peru than its theorists would have anticipated.78
(p. 186 ) Duke Energy, however, was mobile and flexible. It turned its attention to another reservoir construction project at nearby Lake Rajucolta (Figure 3.5). The glaciology office first recommended using Rajucolta as a reservoir in 1973, even though the lake had produced a major outburst flood with “many deaths” in 1883.79 It reiterated the prospects for a Rajucolta reservoir in 1974 but recognized the instability of overhanging glaciers descending into the lake itself.80 The report indicated that Huaraz would be unaffected by a Rajucolta outburst flood, which, by 2003, made it appealing to Duke Energy. Before initiating the project, the energy company estimated that a reservoir there would allow Cañón del Pato to boost electricity generation by 4 megawatts. It was an important, potentially lucrative lake to dam. Its location away from the highly charged political environment of Huaraz—and the lingering bitterness over Shallap and Palcacocha—allowed Duke to proceed with the Rajucolta reservoir with little local interference.
Neoliberal reforms and the privatization of Cañón del Pato led to significant changes in the management of the Santa River watershed and Cordillera Blanca glacial hazards. The state disaster prevention agency, though reopened in 2001, never regained the status, budget, and support it had in previous periods. Local vulnerability to glacier disasters thus increased after privatization. Management of the Santa River waterscape also transferred to foreign hands. Duke Energy, however, was not the first entity to see glaciers and glacial lakes as water resources. While many scholars are quick to blame recent resource depletion and landscape consumption on neoliberalism, privatization in the Santa River watershed only accelerated processes that had begun decades before. As a more authoritarian leader, Fujimori had the centralized power to implement his agenda, just as Presidents Odría and Velasco had done following the 1950 and 1970 disasters.
But neoliberalism did not proceed smoothly because the theory collided with historical reality. When Duke tried to expand Santa River water flow and manipulate the Cordillera Blanca waterscape into an environment designed to promote electricity generation, local people resisted. History thus made it nearly impossible for the state to abandon disaster prevention and for Duke Energy to manage the waterscape uncontested. History had also, ironically, helped Duke because the company utilized glacial lake engineering projects, hydrological information, and Cordillera Blanca access routes to increase the company's use of Andean water supplies. Understanding neoliberalism at the ground level requires attention to these historical forces and the numerous competing visions of landscapes.
(p. 187 ) Diverse social groups' interactions with the Cordillera Blanca during the last two decades illuminates larger issues involving the intersections of neoliberalism, climate, landscape, science, resource use, and society.81 Neoliberalism exacerbated vulnerability to environmental hazards. Various interacting social forces also affected the evolution of science. Tourism in Huaraz, Duke Energy profits, publicity for NASA satellite images, and local political issues influenced glacial lake research. Further, local residents continued to influence environmental management decisions, even while international forces brought a range of other social groups to share decision making. By the twenty-first century, the solution had become part of the problem: more disaster prevention brought more outsiders, more economic development, and less local control. The situation became acute when privatization brought a U.S. company responsible to shareholders, not the public good or local safety, into the Santa River watershed. These interactions among nature, neoliberalism, and society in the Andes represent larger processes unfolding elsewhere in Latin America and beyond, where the privatization of water and energy brings social groups into conflict with one another and with dynamic physical environments. (p. 188 )
(1.) Klein, The Shock Doctrine; Gunewardena and Schuller, eds., Capitalizing on Catastrophe.
(2.) On neoliberalism and the environment, see Castree, “Neoliberalising Nature”; McCarthy and Prudham, “Neoliberal Nature and the Nature of Neoliberalism.” On neoliberalism and nature in Latin America, see the Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 25, no. 3 (November 2004); Liverman and Vilas, “Neoliberalism and the Environment “; Perreault and Martin, “Geographies of Neoliberalism”; Mayer, The Articulated Peasant, chap. 10.
(3.) See, for example, Bury, “Mining Mountains”; Sahley, Torres, and Sanchez, “Neoliberalism Meets Pre-Columbian Tradition”; Bennett, Dávila-Poblete, and Nieves Rico, eds., Opposing Currents.
(4.) On neoliberalism and disaster vulnerability, see Cupples, “Rural Development in El Hatillo”; Eakin, Weathering Risk in Rural Mexico; Wisner, “Changes in Capitalism”; Wisner, “Risk and the Neoliberal State.”
(5.) Weyland, “Assessing Latin American Neoliberalism.”
(7.) On neoliberalism, see Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism.
(8.) Carrión, ed., The Fujimori Legacy; Parodi Trece, Perú 1960–2000, 252; Klarén, Peru, 406–408; Mauceri, “State Reform, Coalitions, and the Neoliberal Autogolpe”; Boloña, “The Viability of Alberto Fujimori's Economic Strategy,” 184.
(9.) Barr, “The Persistence of Neopopulism in Peru?” 1163.
(10.) Kay, “‘Fujipopulism’ and the Liberal State,” 59–61; Klarén, Peru, 424.
(11.) See Decreto Ley No. 25844, 6 November 1992; Santiváñez, Electricity Deregulation and Privatization, 11–16.
(12.) Resolución Suprema No. 025–96-EM, 25 April 1996; Egenor Duke Energy International, “Modificación Concesión Definitiva Generación C.H. Cañón del Pato” (Lima, 2001), Expediente 11014393, in Ministry of Energy and Mines, Electricity Division, Electric Concessions Directorate, Lima.
(14.) Santiváñez, Electricity Deregulation and Privatization, 32.
(16.) Boloña, “The Viability of Alberto Fujimori's Economic Strategy,” 241, 243.
(17.) Jesús Ramírez Gutiérrez, letter to Jesús Beoutis (Lima, 6 October 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(18.) “Alcaldes exigen permanencia e Unidad de Glaciología en Huaraz,” Uncited newspaper clipping in Caja 060902, No. H-10, Electroperú-FS, Lima, 23 January 1997.
(19.) Electroperú, “Situación de la ex-Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos” (Lima, June 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Fredy Moreno Neglia, Presidente Región Ancash, letter to Jesús Beoutis L., Presidente del Directorio de Electroperú S.A. (Huaraz, 12 March 1997), Caja 06138, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima, 2.
(20.) Electroperú, “Informe: Propuesta para el desarrollo futuro de los programas de glaciología e hidrología” (Lima, 1996), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Electroperú, “Situación de la ex-Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos”; Jesús Beoutis Ledesma, letter to Luis Dávila Dávila, Vice Ministro de Desarrollo Regional (Lima, 19 September 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Homero Nureña León, Jefe del Instituto Nacional de Defensa Civil, letter to Jesús Beoutis Ledesma, Presidente del Directorio de Electroperú S.A. (Lima, 31 March 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Hugo Rivera Mantilla, Director Técnico de INGEMMET, letter to Luis Gaviño Vargas, Gerente General, Electroperú S.A. (Lima, 25 March 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(21.) Ames, “A Documentation of Glacier Tongue Variations,” 31.
(22.) Benjamín Morales A., “Reactivación del Instituto Nacional de Glaciología” (Lima: September 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Benjamín Morales A., Presidente del Instituto Andino de Glaciología y Geoambiente, letter to Luis Gavino Vargas, Gerente General, Electroperú (Lima, 8 January 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Maximo Villar Lumbreras, Letter to Sr. Primer Ministro y Ministro de Energía y Minas, Ing. Alberto Pandolfi (Lima, 2 October 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(23.) Decreto Ley No. 26410, 22 December 1994. For CONAM's concern with global warming, see Marticorena, ed., Perú: Vulnerabilidad frente al cambio climático.
(24.) Electroperú, “Contrato de comodato que celebran ELECTROPERU S.A. y el Consejo Nacional del Ambiente” (Lima, 18 September 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Patricia Iturregui, Presidente de la Comisión Nacional de Cambio Climático, Letter to Jesús Beoutis Ledesma, Presidente Ejecutivo de Electroperú (Lima, 26 August 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(25.) Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos Electroperú, “Mapa indice de lagunas de la Cordillera Blanca” (Huaraz, October 1997), File Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; J. Fernández Concha and A. Hoempler, “Indice de lagunas y glaciares de la Cordillera Blanca” (Lima, May 1953), File I-INVEN-011 in UGRH; Marino Zamora Cobos, “Inventario y seguridad de lagunas en la Cordillera Blanca” (Huaraz, November 1983), File I-INVEN-010 in UGRH.
(26.) IPCC, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis, 356–360; Barry, “The Status of Research on Glaciers”; Dyurgerov and Meier, “Twentieth Century Climate Change”; Oerlemans, “Extracting a Climate Signal.”
(27.) Kattelmann, “Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in the Nepal Himalaya”; Ghimire, “Climate Change and Glacier Lake Outburst Floods.”
(28.) Pradeep Kumar Mool and Samjwal Ratna Bajracharya, Tista Basin, Sikkim Himalaya: Inventory of Glaciers, Glacial Lakes and the Identification of Potential Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) Affected by Global Warming in the Mountains of Himalayan Region (Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research, ICIMOD, and United Nations Environment Programme, 2003). This consortium also conducted two other inventories: “Pumqu Basin, Tibet Autonomous Region of PR China,” and “Astor Basin, Pakistan Himalaya.”
(29.) Huggel, Haeberli, and Kääb, “Glacial Hazards,” 74–76; Chiarle et al., “Recent Debris Flow Occurrences.”
(30.) Clague and Evans, “A Review of Catastrophic Drainage of Moraine-Dammed Lakes.”
(31.) Patch, “Life in a Peruvian Indian Community,” 2.
(32.) Marco Zapata Luyo, “Informe de avance sobre tres lagunas peligrosas en la Cordillera Blanca” (Huaraz, 16 October 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima, 1; Marino Zamora Cobos, “Inspección de tres lagunas peligrosas en la Cordillera Blanca, Huaraz, Ancash” (Lima, 23 December 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima, 3.
(33.) Caviedes, El Niño in History; Cushman, “Enclave Vision”; Davis, Late Victorian; Glantz, Currents of Change.
(34.) The September 27, 1997, issue of the Economist praised Fujimori's initiatives in a story called “Fujimori against El Niño.”
(35.) Glantz, Currents of Change, 111–112.
(36.) For scientific understandings in 1997, see Francou et al., “Balances de glaciares y clima”; Thompson, Mosley-Thompson, and Morales Arnao, “El Niño-Southern Oscillation Events.” For a more recent analysis, see Vuille, Kaser, and Juen, “Glacier Mass Balance Variability.”
(37.) Electroperú, “Situación de la ex-Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos”; Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos, “Ayuda Memoria” (Lima, 15 December 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima; Luis Nicho Díaz, Gerente General Electroperú, letter to Presidente del Directorio, Electroperú S.A. (Lima, 16 July 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(38.) Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos Electroperú, “Mapa indice de lagunas de la Cordillera Blanca” (Huaraz, October 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(39.) Instituto Andino de Glaciología y Geoambiente, “Estudio de vulnerabilidad de recursos hídricos de alta montaña: Informe ejecutivo” (Lima, 1998), P10 I464, in Biblioteca de INRENA, Lima. For syntheses of the unpublished INAGGA report, see Morales, “Estudios de vulnerabilidad de recursos hídricos”; Morales, “Desglaciación y disminución de recursos hídricos.”
(40.) Electroperú S.A. (Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos), “Inspección de 31 lagunas de la Cordillera Blanca 1997” (Huaraz, November 1997), File I-CONSOL-064 in UGRH.
(41.) Jaime Fernández Concha, “Informe sobre el aluvión de Ishinka, proveniente de la laguna Milluacocha” (Lima, 20 November 1952), File I-GEOL-013 in UGRH; Marco Zapata Luyo and César Portocarrero R., “Informe de la inspección efectuada a la quebrada Ishinca con motivo del desborde de las aguas del río Paltay” (Huaraz, 6 September 1982), File I-GEOTEC-045 in UGRH.; Ames Marquez and Francou, “Cordillera Blanca glaciares en la historia,” 57–58.
(42.) Interview by author, Collón, 2004.
(43.) Interviews by author, Huaraz, 2004.
(44.) Gustavo Carlos Flores, “Pedido de Congresista Flores Gustavo Carlos: Proyecto de reactivación del Instituto Nacional de Glaciología” (Lima, 18 November 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(45.) Decreto Supremo No. 031–97-PCM. Presidente de la República, “Decreto de Urgencia” (Lima, 1997), Caja 060902, No. H-10 in Electroperú-FS, Lima.
(46.) Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos, “Ayuda Memoria” (Lima, 15 December 1997), Caja 061387, No. G.7 in Electroperú-FS, Lima, 2–3.
(47.) Unidad de Glaciología e Hidrología Hidrandina S.A., “Informe técnico financiero de los proyectos de la Unidad de Glaciología e Hidrología al 30–10–87” (Huaraz, 17 November 1987), File I-MEM-022 in UGRH, appendix.
(48.) Assies, “David versus Goliath in Cochabamba”; Laurie and Marvin, “Globalisation, Neoliberalism, and Negotiated Development”; Scudder, The Future of Large Dams.
(49.) For example, Benjamín Morales A., “Estudios glaciológicos-geológicos efectuados en la Cordillera Blanca entre enero de 1966 a diciembre de 1967” (Pati, December 1967), File I-GLACIO-049 in UGRH; Dirección General de Electricidad Ministerio de Energía y Minas, “Informe geológico de proyectos de reservorios en la cuenca del río Santa” (Lima, September 1972), File I-VARIOS-506 in UGRH; Unidad de Glaciología e Hidrología, “Informe técnico financiero de los proyectos de la Unidad de Glaciología e Hidrología al 30–10–87” (Huaraz, 17 November 1987), File I-MEM-022 in UGRH, Appendix 4; Unidad de Glaciología e Hidrología, “Afianzamiento hídrico del Río Santa, I Etapa” (Huaraz, January 1990), File I-HIDRO-006 in UGRH; “Relación de expedientes de Embalse 1995 solicitados por Electroperú S.A.,” in “Proyectos de embalse ubicados dentro del ambito de Parque Nacional Huascarán,” Biblioteca del Parque Nacional Huascarán, Huaraz.
(50.) Egenor Duke Energy International, “Modificación Concesión Definitiva Generación C.H. Cañón del Pato” (Lima, 2001), Expediente 11014393, in Ministry of Energy and Mines, Electricity Division, Electric Concessions Directorate, Lima; Duke Energy Perú, Cañón del Pato, 7.
(51.) Hilario Gammara O. and Duke Energy International EGENOR, “Informe geológico-geotécnico para la regulación de las lagunas Aguascocha, Auquiscocha y Shallap en el proyecto de afianzamiento del Cañón del Pato” (Lima, 2001), File E P32 G2, in INRENA, Lima, chap. 2; Julio Kuroiwa Zevallos, “Estudio básico de regulación de las lagunas de la cuenca del río Santa,” (Lima: Duke Energy International, 2001), File E P10 D9E, in INRENA, Lima.
(52.) Interviews by author, Huaraz, 2004, 2007.
(53.) For another case of local frustration with Duke, see, Letter from Comunidad Campesina “Pachacutec” to EGENOR, 26 Dec. 2000 and Letter from Municipalidad Distrital de Mato, Villa Sucre-Huaylas to Duke Energy International, 3 January 2001, in Dirección General de Asuntos Ambientales Energéticos, Expediente EIA-E-3202, No. 1316887, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Electricity Division, Electric Concessions Directorate, Lima.
(54.) Morales A., “Estudios glaciológicos-geológicos efectuados en la Cordillera Blanca entre enero de 1966 a diciembre de 1967,” 5–6; Electroperú, “Proyectos hidroeléctricos y de regulación de aguas en la cuenca del río Santa” (Huaraz, April 1989), File I-APROVHID-034 in UGRH, 6.
(55.) Interviews by author, Huaraz, 2003–2004.
(56.) Stein, Hualcan, 305.
(57.) Glaciología y Seguridad de Lagunas Electroperú U.C. 16, “Invitación al acto de inauguración de la obra ‘Consolidación laguna Shallap’” (Huaraz, 1974), Caja 050488, No. C in Electroperú-FS, Lima, 8–9.
(58.) Morales A., “Estudios glaciológicos-geológicos efectuados en la Cordillera Blanca entre enero de 1966 a diciembre de 1967,” 6.
(59.) Electroperú, “Proyectos hidroeléctricos y de regulación de aguas en la cuenca del río Santa” (Huaraz, April 1989), File I-APROVHID-034 in UGRH, 6; Unidad de Glaciología e Hidrología, “Afianzamiento hídrico del Río Santa, I Etapa” (Huaraz, January 1990), File I-HIDRO-006 in UGRH.
(60.) Egenor Duke Energy International, “Afianzamiento hídrico del río Santa, estudio de regulación de la subcuenca de los ríos Ulta, Tucu y Quilcay: estudios topográficos y batimétricos de las lagunas Auquiscocha, Aguascocha y Shallap” (Lima, 2001), File E P10 D9, in INRENA, Lima; Gammara O. and Duke Energy International EGENOR, “Informe geológico-geotécnico para la regulación de las lagunas Aguascocha, Auquiscocha y Shallap”; Edgar Palma Huerta, “Embalsando el peligro (SOS en los Andes) Shallap,” El Eco 2, no. 9 (2003): 4–5; Duke Energy Perú, Cañón del Pato.
(61.) On the flood, see Unidad de Glaciología y Recursos Hídricos, “Estado situacional de la laguna Palcacocha” (Huaraz, March 2003), in UGRH; Vilímek et al., “Influence of Glacial Retreat on Natural Hazards.”
(62.) David E. Steitz and Alan Buis, “Peril in Peru? NASA Takes a Look at Menacing Glacier,” NASA press release, 11 April 2003, on line at http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2003/apr/HP_News_03138.html (accessed 5 August 2008).
(63.) For press and scientists' reactions to the NASA press release, see “Consideran alarmista informe de la NASA sobre riesgo de alud en Ancash,” El Comercio, 16 April 2003; “Especialistas peruanos califican información de alarmista,” Correo, 15 April 2003, http://anteriores.epensa.com.pe/enlinea/ediciones/2003/abr/15/locales/loc02.asp; “Geólogo señala que diez poblados quedarían destruidos,” Correo, 15 April 2003, http://anteriores.epensa.com.pe/enlinea/ediciones/2003/abr/15/locales/loc04.asp; Ivette Bendezú, “Hoy sobrevuelan zona de posible desprendimiento de glaciar en Huaraz,” Correo, 16 April 2003, http://anteriores.epensa.com.pe/enlinea/ediciones/2003/abr/16/locales/loc01.asp; Ivette Bendezú, “Piden que la NASA confirme lo desmienta caída de glaciar,” Correo, 17 April 2003, http://anteriores.epensa.com.pe/enlinea/ediciones/2003/abr/17/locales/loc07.asp.
(64.) Georg Kaser and Christian Georges, “A Potential Disaster in the Icy Andes: A Regrettable Blunder,” technical report, University of Innsbruck, Austria, 26 April 2003, on line at http://geowww.uibk.ac.at/glacio/index.html.
(65.) Huggel, Haeberli, and Kääb, “Glacial Hazards,” 73.
(66.) “Huaraz: Todavía hay sitio,” El Comercio, 16 April 2003.
(67.) “Solo seis mil visitantes fueron a Huaraz informa Cámara de Turismo,” El Comercio, 21 April 2003; Ivette Bendezú, “Hoy sobrevuelan zona de posible desprendimiento de glaciar en Huaraz,” Correo, 16 April 2003, http://anteriores.epensa.com.pe/enlinea/ediciones/2003/abr/16/locales/loc01.asp.
(68.) For example, José Alva S., “Aluvión gigante podría sepultar ciudad de Huaraz,” La República, 15 April 2003, http://www3.larepublica.com.pe/2003/ABRIL/pdf15/locales.htm.
(69.) Vilímek et al., “Influence of Glacial Retreat on Natural Hazards”; UGRH, “Estado situacional de la laguna Palcacocha” (Huaraz, March 2003), in UGRH, 3.
(70.) “News in Brief: NASA Feels the Heat as Glacier Pictures Cause Unrest in Peru,” Nature 422 (24 April 2003): 794.
(71.) El Surco (Huaraz), 27 March 2003, 7.
(73.) Interview by author, Lima, 2004.
(74.) “Dirigentes de Huaraz: Ghilardi debe comenzar a trabajar después de esta manifestación,” huarazperu.com, 7 October 2003; “Amenazan con paro si no se entrega estudio definitivo para asfaltado de vía Casma-Huaraz,” Coordinadora Nacional de Radio, October 2003, on line at http://www.cnr.org.pe/noticia.php?id=8458 (accessed 4 August 2008).
(75.) Palma Huerta, “Embalsando el peligro (SOS en los Andes),” 4–5.
(76.) “¡Movilización histórica!” El Surco (Huaraz), 8 October 2003.
(77.) “Victoria a medias, caso Laguna Shallap,” Impacto: Revista de Actualidad Regional 6, no. 51 (March 2004): 22–23.
(78.) The U.S. Bechtel Corporation made a similar discovery in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2000 after the privatization of urban water supplies erupted into a violent “water conflict.” See Nickson and Vargas, “The Limitations of Water Regulation.”
(79.) I have found little explanation of the 1883 flood, but the event is always listed in secondary sources such as Ames Marquez and Francou, “Cordillera Blanca glaciares en la historia,” 56; Benjamín Morales A., “Estudio de las lagunas de Rajucolta y Cashan” (Lima, 8 August 1966), File 70I 27.728 in Biblioteca de Electroperú, Lima; Marco Zapata Luyo, “Reconocimiento geológico de la laguna y quebrada Rajucolta” (Huaraz, October 1973), File 1RN 05.448 in Biblioteca de Electroperú, Lima.
(80.) Electroperú, “Estudio geológico-glaciológico definitivo para fines de seguridad y represamiento de la laguna Rajucolta” (Huaraz, 26 August 1974), File 1RN 05.449 in Biblioteca de Electroperú, Lima.
(81.) Mark, “Tracing Tropical Andean Glaciers over Space and Time.”