This paper presents a case study of an advocacy campaign by the residents of Tambogrande, an agricultural town located in the San Lorenzo valley of northern Peru, to defend their environment and natural resources. In 1999, the Peruvian government conceded mineral extraction rights in the area to the Manhattan Minerals Corporation, providing permission to extract gold, zinc and copper deposits located underneath Tambogrande through the use of environmentally destructive open-pit mining operations. Residents organized the Tambogrande Defense Front, a grassroots organization to represent their interests. With support from the local church, as well as local, national, and international organizations, the Tambograndinos sought to defend the town from the negative effects that open-pit mines would have on the valley’s environment and agricultural productivity. Although the battle lasted over five years and took the life of one of its most important leaders, the Defense Front maintained a unified spirit and, through organizing a municipal consultation and other strategies, achieved a historic political victory when the Peruvian government withdrew the company’s concession. The study, based on extensive document reviews and interviews with both participants and expert analysts, identified a number of different general lessons about advocacy, including the importance of strength, perseverance, and commitment.


Political Theory | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration