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February 25 2014

Police Repression Legalized as Mining Protests Grow in Peru

This article, written by Luis Manuel Claps, was originally published on the NACLA (North American Congress on Latin America) blog Extractives in Latin America. Luis Manuel Claps studied Communications at the Buenos Aires University. He has followed mining in Latin America since 2004 as editor of the Mines and Communities Website. He is based in Lima, Perú.

Elmer Campos Álvarez, a 32-year-old farmer, is from the Caserío Tupac Amaru in the province of Celendín, Cajamarca Region, Northern Peru. On November 24, 2011, Elmer, along with some friends, set out for the mountains of Cajamarca to protest against a massive open-pit gold mine proposed for the districts of Sorochuco and Huasmín. Elmer and his friends call themselves los defensores de las lagunas (the Defenders of the Lakes). See Elmer's video testimony [es] published by La Mula in January 2012.) Still defending the lakes, anti-mining protesters such as Elmer face a new threat in a new law that allows police to use deadly force without fear of consequences.

Three days later they reached the Maque-Maque crossroads, between the Azul and El Perol lakes, two of the four lakes threatened by the project. Meanwhile, a general regional strike had been declared in opposition to the mine. In the early morning of November 29, a confrontation broke out when some 30 police officers contracted by Minera Yanacocha to guard the concession site ordered the protestors to go away. The police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition.

When the police started firing, Elmer went to aid one of his friends and was shot in the back. He lost consciousness and was taken to the city of Chota, and then to the coastal city of Chiclayo, where he was hospitalized for a week. He lost a kidney and his spleen, and suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. An estimated 24 other protestors were injured in the Maque-Maque crackdown.



People in Cajamarca know all too well of the impacts of large scale gold mining. For the past two decades, Newmont Mining and Buenaventura have operated the Yanacocha mine, the largest open-pit goldmine in South America. A planned expansion known as the Conga project is said to assure another twenty years of production. The total investment tops $4.8 billion, one of the biggest ever in Peru’s mining sector. A plant with the capacity to process 92,000 tons of rock a day would produce 3.1 billion pounds of copper and 11.6 million ounces of gold (an executive summary of the project's Environmental Impactv Study, or EIA, is accessible here [es]).

Compañía de Minas Buenaventura is Peru's largest publicly traded precious metals company and a major holder of mining rights throughout the country. It has two big U.S. partners: Denver-based Newmont Mining at Minera Yanacocha in Cajamarca and Phoenix-based Freeport-McMoRan at Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde in Arequipa. Peru is the world's sixth-largest gold producer.

Protesters have challenged the Conga mine for the past several years, and police repression is currently the subject of two legal proceedings in Peru. The first is a criminal investigation against the two commanding police officers the day of the attacks, Coronel Amador Bacalla Guadalupe and Captian Wagner Ocampo Huamán. The second is a civil lawsuit against the police authorities [es] and responsible government officials.

Elmer simply wants justice [es]: “I didn’t do any harm and the authorities have been very cruel. I don’t know what will happen to me, the doctor says there is nothing that can be done to my spinal cord.” Mar Pérez, a lawyer at the National Human Rights Coordinator, representing Elmer, adds: “We seek justice, accountability, and greater protection for human rights, and to end a culture of impunity for police repression of legitimate protest activity.”

The struggle has returned to the United States as well. On January 2, 2014, EarthRights International (ERI), representing Elmer Campos, filed a federal court motion in Newmont's hometown, Denver, Colorado, seeking information held by the company including photographic and video evidence, reports of Yanacocha security or employees, records of communications with the police, and internal company communications, that shed light on the events of that day and for the benefit of the Peruvian legal proceedings. The action was filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, a law which allows parties in foreign legal proceedings to obtain documents and information from individuals or companies in the United States.

“Police repression of social protest against mining operations is endemic in Peru,” said Benjamin Hoffman, ERI’s Amazon Staff Attorney. “The problem is exacerbated in cases like this where public police officers are deployed in the service of private security.”

Elmer and ERI’s legal action attracted considerable attention in late January in the Peruvian press [es] and social media. This coincided with a coordinated offensive to present the local leaders opposed to Minera Yanacocha in Cajamarca as “backed by foreigners interested in blocking the economic development of our country,” as a researcher associated with the mining sector claimed recently [es] in El Comercio newspaper. The propaganda campaign [es] to delegitimize local leaders also targeted the Piura region, where Buenaventura wants to develop the El Faique gold project.

A Violent Consensus

Starting with a strong precedent under former President Alan García, government response to protest in Peru has been overwhelmingly militarized. Steven Levitsky calls it the “Lima consensus” [es]: Lima elites adhere to orthodox neoliberalism, such that the use of lethal force seems to be a legitimate way to deal with social protests in mining areas. Despite the fact that Ollanta Humala’s administration has sometimes sought more political and negotiated means, this consensus remains in place.

A report released in December 2013 by Peruvian NGOs Grufides, Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (Human Rights without Borders), the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Coordinator for Human Rights, CNDDHH), and the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) of Switzerland, revealed that foreign mining corporations have signed agreements with the National Police to secure their operations. These agreements allow them to request permanent police presence or ask for rapid deployment of larger units to repress social protests. In some cases, the report reveals, the companies provide the police with full financial and logistical support.

International human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others, have asked President Humala to prevent the unlawful use of lethal force by security forces during crowd-control operations. But Peru’s government seems to be going in the exact opposite direction, as an article in the penal code was modified last month in a way that critics say allows police and the military to use deadly force without facing consequences. The new Law 30151 says that members of the Armed Forces and the National Police are “exempt from criminal responsibility” if they cause injury or death through the use of their guns while on duty.

In a statement [es] condemning the law, the Public Ombudsman’s office recalled that since mid-2011, 34 civilians have been killed and more than 949 people wounded in social conflicts, including five military and 357 police. A number of national [es] and international human rights organizations, including the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [es] have also condemned Law 30151.

As Yanacocha comes to exhaustion, mining operations need to expand. The Conga project is one of these expansion plans, perhaps the most ambitious. A long history of mining conflicts in Cajamarca suggests that Elmer’s struggle for justice will be a long one, and in all likelihood, one of many.

February 24 2014

The Venezuela I'll Always Remember


Caracas, Venezuela. Image by flickr user danielito311. Used with Creative Commons licence (BY-NC 2.0).

Back then in Peru, terror and fear was part of our daily lives.

I had just graduated from law school in Lima. It was late 1993 and my beloved Peru was recovering from 12 years of internal conflict which had claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Christmas was coming and I decided it was time for my first journey abroad to visit a dear aunt. 

My mother's elder sister moved to Venezuela in the late 1950s. She got married in Caracas and settled there with her husband and two sons. After my younger cousin died in a car accident, my mother and her sister strengthened their bond and never let distance deter them from staying in touch.

When I stepped foot outside Simón Bolívar International Airport [es] in Maiquetía, I was instantly struck by how different everything looked, compared with Lima.

Caracas was a shiny modern city, with high-rises, highways, flyovers, and recently repaved roads.

All the cars looked like they had just rolled off the factory assembly line, glossy and splendid. New cars was something we were just starting to get used to in Peru, after out-of-control hyperinflation [es] had made all of us billionaires with little purchasing power.

The road signs looked like they had been painted the day before.

I could feel progress everywhere I looked, and this was just on the way from the airport to my aunt's house. Rain welcomed me on this adventure, something we Limeans are not used to at all.

The next day I started my tour of the city. I didn't feel like a total outsider. My generation grew up watching Venezuelan soap operas on TV, so some popular areas were familiar to me: Chacao, Chacaíto, the Virgen of Chiquingirá. So was the rhythmic speaking that I noticed was following me everywhere, after a few days.

During a visit to one museum, I saw a guy looking at a list of battles fought by Simón Bolívar, the liberator of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú and Bolivia. There were the names of the battles with no indication of the where they'd been fought, and I stood by next to this tourist and started with a lesson learnt long ago at school: Carabobo, Venezuela; Boyacá, Bogotá, Pichincha, Ecuador; and Junín and Ayacucho, Perú (country of yours truly).

On that trip, during a visit to a beach whose name I have forgotten, my toes first felt the waters of the Atlantic, I owe that to Venezuela too.

But what impressed me above all was the freedom people had, simply living their lives. We could enter any building and there was no military officer waiting to check our bags and belongings. There were no metal detectors or special machines that we had to pass through at the entrance of shopping centers or museums or anywhere for that matter.

I even walked in front of government buildings and ministries, as if that was the most normal thing to do. No one stopped me from being there, no one checked my documents, and no one made me feel like there was something to fear.

That is why I have been overwhelmed with sadness, as the recent stories and images have been trickling out of Venezuela.

Venezuelans are suffering. Venezuelans are crying. Venezuelans are mourning.

Protesters are rallying for liberty and demanding their rights be respected. Young people are dying in the streets, as police and government supporters battle protesters. Brothers are fighting brothers. 

I prefer to remember the Venezuela I knew in 1993. Joyous Caribbean music mingling with traditional Christmas songs wherever I went. Smiling faces greeting me, people welcoming me with kind words open arms, upon learning that I was Peruvian. 

Venezuela, you will always be in my heart.

Gabriela Garcia Calderon is a Peruvian lawyer specialized in Arbitration and Civil Law. She comes from a family connected to the media in Peru. Gabriela has been a member of Global Voices since November 2007.

February 20 2014

Recap of the Blog Carnival ‘Do You Love the Internet?’


[All links lead to Spanish language pages.]

As we announced a few days ago, the moment has arrived to present the results of our Blog Carnival, this time a whirlwind event of only five days. The theme was I Love the Internet, and how to express this idea was left up to the imagination and creativity of the participating bloggers. The idea emerged in support of the online campaign #YoAmoInternet (I love the Internet).

So let's see what our blogger friends had to say. We'll start with Milton Ramirez, an Ecuadorian living in New York, who posted on Geek's Room that “at first it seems like a grammatical mistake” to talk about loving the Internet, since love is normally something that occurs only between people. But he later explains that “the point is to value the uses of the Web. Express your gratitude in the context of Valentine's Day for the benefits that the Internet offers you.” Finally, he concludes:

Amo el internet porque sin él no estuvieran leyendo estas líneas y porque nos ha servido para conocer millones de personas en miles de áreas. No más expertos y no más restricciones sobre la información.

I love the Internet because without it, you wouldn't be reading these lines, and because it has enabled us to meet millions of people in thousands of places. No more experts and no more restrictions on information.

Ángeles Estrada of Nicaragua, posting from France on her Blog de Ángeles, begins her post with the comment: “It seemed funny to think of the Internet fondly. Like that… with affection everywhere for the day of love and friendship.” After telling us about her journey on the internet, she confesses why she loves it:

Internet me ha dado otra vida. Una vida virtual que se adiciona a mi vida real y suma, llena y complementa. Abre puertas a mi curiosidad y apacigua la inquietud de mi espíritu inquieto, explorador, aventurero, quizás vagabundo. Mi vida hoy es una fusión entre lo real y lo virtual, intima y durable. Una simbiosis perfecta, hongo y árbol.

The Internet has given me another life. A virtual life in addition to my real life, which adds to it, fills it, and complements it. It opens doors to my curiosity and calms the restlessness of my inquisitive, exploring, adventurous, and sometimes vagabond spirit. My life today is a fusion of the real and the virtual, intimate and durable. A perfect symbiosis, like a fungus living on a tree.

Nscap, ciudadana del mundo (2.0) is the blog of Isabel Garnica of Spain, living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She gets straight to the point, stating:

Yo Amo Internet porque: aprendo, enseño, trabajo, comparto mi trabajo, viajo, blogueo, juego, hago amigos, conozco personas, porque #InternetCambiaTodo, porque me siendo una ciudadana global, reivindico derechos, difunde proyectos sociales, nos empodera como ciudadanos, ayuda a caer dictadores, por muchas muchas muchas más razones… y sobretodo porque me permite soñar un mundo mejor.

I Love the Internet because: I learn, teach, work, share my work, travel, blog, play, make friends, meet people, because #InternetCambiaTodo [the Internet Changes Everything], because it makes me feel like a citizen of the world, because it enables us to defend rights and share social projects, because it empowers us as citizens, helps bring down dictators, and for many, many, many more reasons… and above all, because it allows me to dream of a better world.

Gabriela García Calderón writes her blog Seis de enero from Lima, Peru. She reminds us of what it was like when communication took place via letters written on paper, and how things have evolved thanks to the Internet:

¿Por qué amo internet? Porque nos comunica, nos conecta, nos contacta, nos acerca y más con apenas un clic. Y porque además permite que la magia del correo real siga existiendo, espero que por mucho tiempo.

Why do I love the Internet? Because it links us, connects us, puts us in contact, brings us together, and more, with just a click. And because, for that matter, it allows the magic of regular mail to continue existing, hopefully for a long time.

On the blog Creatividad Rezumante, Alicia Cortés of Extremadura, Spain describes her love for the Internet in an inspired poem:

Internet, te amo
por tí navegaría
toda la noche y el día
prendida a tu mano…

Volaría sin tiempo
en tus redes de viento

Internet, I love you
I'd surf with you
All night and all day
Hand in hand
I'd fly, timeless
On the winds of your networks

On her blog Veo y escribo, Daniela Gallardo, of Loja, Ecuador, tells us about her typical day on the internet and her favorite sites to visit, but first gets honest:

Debo amarlo demasiado para dedicarle un post (algo que ni siquiera lo he hecho con mi novio) por San Valentin. La verdad es que #YoAmoInternet porque, básica y sencillamente, me tiene conectada al mundo. Es fascinante si no lo llevamos al extremo, claro.

I must love it too much, if I'm dedicating a Valentine's Day post to it (which I haven't even done for my boyfriend). The truth is that I love the internet because, plain and simple, it keeps me connected with the world. It's fascinating, if we don't take it to the extreme, of course.

Gina Yauri, also of Loja, tells us about her relationship with the Internet in her blog Ximealito, concluding:

Internet es un mundo de información abierto que tiene varias puertas, solo debes saber cómo utilizarlas y bajo tu responsabilidad sabrás llevar una vida plena con una pasión por el internet.

The Internet is an open world of information that has various doors. You just need to know how to use them responsibly, and you'll be able to live a full life with a passion for the Internet.

Iván Mejía, blogger of Tantas Cosas, writes a letter recounting his history with the Internet and reflects:

A veces de tan cotidiano parece difícil procurarle amor al internet, como la electricidad el internet ( o será la internet?) pareciera algo que solo se aprecia cuando se va.

 Sometimes it seems difficult to feel love for the Internet, since it's an everyday thing. Like electricity, the Internet seems like something that only gets appreciated once it's gone.

Israel Rosas of Mexico also writes a letter to the Internet on his self-titled blog:

Dicen que ya no eres aquella a quien solíamos conocer, que los ataques te han hecho cambiar y que las cosas ya no serán como antes. Hoy te escribo convencido de que mantienes esa naturaleza abierta e innovadora con la cual te conocí y que tanto me gusta.

They say that you're no longer who I used to know, that people's attacks have made you change, and that things can't go back to the way they were before. Today I'm writing to you convinced that you still have that open and innovative nature that you had when I met you and that I like so much.

Writing her blog Cosas del Alma from her native Medellín, Colombia, Catalina Restrepo lists the reasons why she likes the Internet, from access to information to sharing with others, and then declares:

a usar internet. A usarlo bien. El problema no es la herramienta, si no su uso. Y es uno el que decide lo que hace con lo que le dan. Creo que yo lo usé para encontrarme con el mundo.

Use the Internet. Use it well. The problem is not the tool, but the way it is used. And it's the individual who decides what to do with what they are given. I think that I used it to meet up with the world.

Madame Web, from the Colombian city of Pasto, writes the blog La lógica de mi Papá. She tells us that this isn't the first time that she's going public about her love for the Internet, but adds:

Debo decir que este amor ya no es el mismo que al principio, ha ido cambiando a medida que la red ha crecido y como en toda relación ahora hay cosas que, pequeños detalles, me molestan…como la propagación de virus, spam y troyanos…pero es algo inevitable, aunque tomando las medidas correctas se pueden prevenir estos males y otros relacionados con la seguridad online. [...] Ahí les dejo esa inquietud, ¿Qué tan buenos usuarios somos?

I have to say that this love isn't the same as it was at the beginning. It has changed as the Internet has grown, and like in any relationship, there are now things, little details, that bother me… like the spread of viruses, spam, and Trojans… but it's inevitable, though you can prevent these and other problems by taking appropriate measures with online security. [...] So I'll leave you with this concern: As users, how good are we?

The people of the Mexican collective blog Sursiendo explain the Internet and why we should love it:

Internet es lo que queramos que sea, por eso lo amamos, porque en nuestras manos  (mentes, corazones…) está darle forma y comprometerse con él/ella(ello), para que no desaparezca, no lo mutilen, no lo neutralicen, no lo desvirtúen o no lo controlen. No lo dejemos en otras manos. Amemos Internet.

The Internet is what we want it to be. That's why we love it. Because in our hands (minds, hearts) lies the responsibility to give it form and commit to it, so that it doesn't disappear or get mutilated, neutralized, distorted, or controlled. Let's not leave it in the wrong hands. Let's love the Internet.

José del Sol writes Buscando el optimismo from Irún, Spain. He recounts how at first it was love at first sight, but now:

De vez en cuando reflexionamos sobre cómo hemos evolucionado. Mis kilos siguen ahí, no como mi pelo, y ella ya no es aquel mundo inocente e ilusionado de cuando nos conocimos. A veces fría y comercial -hay que vivir-, otras enfrascada en luchas políticas, los dos tememos qué le pueda llegar a pasar. Últimamente ha crecido el peligro de que de artesana autónoma pase a ser funcionaria sin identidad de un estado policial o empresaria libertaria sin respeto por la privacidad de nadie. No sabemos qué camino seguirá, pero como con una persona, creo que no podré abandonarla a su suerte.

From time to time we reflect on how we have changed. My extra pounds are still here, unlike my hair, and she [the Internet] is no longer the innocent and hopeful world that she was when we met. Sometimes she's cold and commercial – one must survive – and other times she's caught up in political fights. We both fear what might happen. Lately the fear is growing that she might transform from an independent artist into a faceless servant of a political state or a libertarian business with no respect for anyone's privacy. We don't know which path she will follow, but like with a person, I don't think I could abandon her to her fate.

Mexican activist Jesús Robles Maloof explains his position in a post on his blog:

Defenderé un internet libre porque me ha permitido conectarme con otros y luchar por la libertad de las personas. [...] No me imagino su libertad sin internet y en este sentido amo a internet. La vigilancia masiva de la red amenaza esta capacidad de movilización al dar a los gobiernos la posibilidad de anticiparse.

I will defend a free Internet because it has allowed me to connect with others and fight for people's liberty. [...] I can't imagine their liberty without the Internet, and in this sense, I love the Internet. The massive network surveillance threatens this capacity for mobilization by giving governments the opportunity to forestall action.

Bolívar Loján Fierro writes the blog Ni lo uno ni lo otro, más bien todo lo contrario from Loja, Ecuador. He tells us about the procedure that was necessary to make a phone call 40 years ago and compares it with the immediacy of modern tools like Skype. In a science fiction plot twist, his last paragraph is written from the year 2020:

Estoy a mis 72 años liderando en el mundo una campaña de “Derecho a la privacidad”, mi compañera llamada “Internet”, en una pequeña pelea que tuvimos colocó mis datos a disposición del mundo. Me birlaron lo poco de mis ahorros y de privacidad. Me fui a vivir en la montaña, donde queda un poco de agua, elemento vital que perdimos mientras todos estábamos sentados asumiendo que el mundo se podía construir desde un teclado, cosas táctiles y realidades aumentadas. “Amo a internet”, era mi grito de guerra, ahora es “Amo a mi privacidad”, mientras los analfabetas digitales que viven en el campo felices con sus sementeras y ancestros en la ciudad andan como locos buscando algo que llaman comida virtual. Ya la privacidad poco importa.

I'm 72 years old, leading a campaign called “The Right to Privacy.” During a fight we had, my companion, named “Internet,” posted all my information for the world to see. My meager savings and privacy were stolen. I went to live in the mountains where there was a little water left, a vital element that we had lost while we were all sitting around assuming that the world could be constructed via keyboards, touch screens, and augmented realities. “I love the Internet” was my war cry. Now it's “I love my privacy,” like the digital illiterates who live in the countryside happy with their crop fields, while their ancestors in the city run around like crazy people looking for something that they call virtual food. And privacy matters little.

So, although the Carnical was only 5 days in length, we were pleased to see that various bloggers participated. We recommend following the links in each participating post so that you can read the bloggers’ full opinions. I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude (and that of Global Voices en Español) to all the bloggers for their effort and dedication in contributing their valuable time to this initiative.

And, of course, Happy Valentine's Day!

February 19 2014

New Rainy Season Wreaks Havoc in Peru

[All links lead to Spanish language pages, unless otherwise noted.]

The 2014 rainy season, like those of previous years, is bringing destruction and death to various parts of Peru, especially the southern Andes and the eastern Amazon.

In mid-January, the Civil Defense reported three bridges damaged, 300 hectares of crops affected, and more than 20 houses damaged by the rains in Andahuaylas [en], Apurimac, asking for a state of emergency to be declared in this area. By the end of that month, the National Service for Meteorology and Hydrology (Senamhi) warned that 16 regions of the country may be affected by the increasing rains in upcoming days.

A landslide, caused by rain, blocks a stretch of roadway between Ayacucho and Apurímac.

Rains wreak havoc on the Andahuaylas-Apurímac roadway.

On February 2, the government declared a state of emergency in the Madre de Dios Region [en] upon receiving a report from the Civil Defense. The communication reported 2,800 people affected, 560 homes destroyed and 1,270 damaged, 15 kilometers of roadway destroyed, and two bridges and 782 hectares of crops damaged by the rains and flooding from rivers.

Various tourist lodges have had to close temporarily, unable to guarantee the safety of their clients. Recently, help has been provided to the native communities in the region.

Rains leave more than 6,000 people affected.

Water levels rise in the Beni, Madre de Dios, and Acre rivers; residents of Pando are concerned; the rains continue. 

Days later, a state of emergency was also declared in four areas in the Huancavelica Region [en]. Declaration of a state of emergency was also requested for parts of Pasco [en], and help was delivered to victims in the district of San Pedro de Putinapunco, Sandia, in Puno [en].

Huancavelica: The government declares a state of emergency in various districts in the region.

Sandia requests a declaration of a state of emergency for rains in Puno.

The situation in Cusco [en] is slightly more serious. By January 23, there were already 30 reported emergencies caused by the rains, mainly floods and landslides.

On January 30, it was reported that in the districts of Paucartambo and Colquepata, the rains and hail had damaged more than 170 hectares of farmland, with losses of around half a million nuevos soles ($177,525 USD). Furthermore, the district of Ocobamba was left isolated by a landslide covering part of the roadway leading to the area.

Heavy rains leave 4,000 residents of the district of Yanatile without communication.

Pregnant women at risk in the Patria-Pilcopata area; they are now in the Cusco Regional Hospital.

Heavy rains recorded in the Imperial City of Cusco. More information shortly.

On February 7, the mayor of Pilcopata, a district in Cusco, announced that due to landslides blocking the access road, 35 tourists coming from the Manú National Park [en], in Madre de Dios, were trapped in the area.

Later, on February 11, it was discovered that 51 Chilean tourists were stranded in the vicinity of Machu Picchu [en] because the rise of a river had destroyed a bridge. Later it was reported that the group, along with another group of tourists, was evacuated to Cusco by train.

More than 50 Chilean tourists were stranded in Machu Picchu.

Tourists stranded by the collapse of the Aobamba Bridge in Cusco are being transferred.

In the central jungle region, it was reported that the heavy rains led to the rise of the Rio Negro, which caused landslides to block roadways in various parts of Satipo [en], Junín, isolating up to 8 towns.

In Oxapampa, Pasco, two road workers died, buried by a landslide caused by the heavy rains. In the Ucayali region, the river of the same name was declared in red alert by the Senamhi due to high water levels.

Collapse of the roadway between Villa Rica and La Merced at the village of Pampa Encantada 2/11/14, heavy rain in the central jungle region.

The jungle of Pasco in a state of emergency… more than 40 landslides caused by the rains.

Meanwhile, in the north of Peru, the region of Piura is suffering a severe drought that is affecting agriculture and livestock. And in the south, in Arequipa, forecasts of ice storms and hailstorms were announced for the upcoming days.

Post originally published on the blog Globalizado, by Juan Arellano.

February 17 2014

From Facebook to the Street: Activism on Cusco's Walls

In the days of Facebook we sometimes forget that there are many real-world walls available to play host to messages, expressions and opinions. The virtual doesn't always replace the real, and in the Peruvian city of Cusco there is a special wall which is used as a point of connection between virtual and “real” action. While this wall is sometimes employed as an art gallery or for exhibitions, at other times it becomes a space in which to generate awareness and debate.

In a recent trip to Cusco we found this wall, located in Cusco's central Plaza de Armas, a much visited part of the city, and displaying only a single invitation:

El Muro del Cusco

The Cusco Wall: “Say it out loud.”

Throughout several days it remained untouched.  However, in an online search for its virtual counterpart, we found two related Facebook pages. One called Colectivo El Muro Cusco [The Cusco Wall Collective, es], most recently updated on the 22nd April 2011, day it was founded. There, we found this photo:


El Muro del Cusco:

The Cusco Wall: “Are we free?  We're like you, outraged by neoliberal politics.  For this reason, this space of free expression [exists] to tell the truth, denounce and create awareness.  Get involved!

On the second Facebook page – Colectivo Muro Cusco [Cusco Wall Collective] founded on the 9th February 2012 and still active today – we discovered that photos and activist events spanning diverse issues such as national politics to environmental themes, and many more, are shared. There's also a register of a range of activities that the collective has organized and been a part of, as well as those in which the physical wall has been a recipient for allusive posters and messages, such as [translator's note: the following links all lead to Spanish language pages] “521 años y seguimos resistiendo” [521 years [later] and we continue resisting,” informative activity about the situation of the “uncontacted” villages in the Kugapakori Nahua Nanti Reserve, “Fighting for the defense of water and life,” “Vigil in support of Cajamarca and Espinar,” “Miscommunication Media and its Network of Lies and Smokescreens,” and “What are We Celebrating?” (a critique of the current government stemming from the events of the previous national holiday celebrations).


El Muro del Cusco

The Cusco Wall: “End death, pollution and sacking!” Vigil in support of Cajamarca and Espinar.

Throughout later days, we saw activity on the wall.  Stuck to it, we found a series of drawings and photos. The drawings belonged to Rafael Ginzburg [es], an Argentinian artists passing through Cusco making use of his stay, and the space, to exhibit and sell his art:

El Muro del Cusco

The Cusco Wall: Drawings by Rafael Ginzburg

Beside them, there was a small photography exhibition, belonging to Lima visual artist Neptunia Asesina [es].  She told us that she didn't have to carry out any paperwork in order to display her photos on the wall; she simply used the space. The staff of the auditorium of Cusco's Natinoal University of San Antonio Abad, to whom the wall legally belongs, don't seem to have a problem with the situation.

El Muro del Cusco

The Cusco Wall: Photos by Neptunia Asesina.

Days later, we found another type of activity, this time an exercise in generating awareness about the problems currently affecting the people of Cusco – such as bullying, harassment, corruption, domestic violence, gang activity, stress, junk food, rubbish television, etc. – created by students from the National University of San Antonio Abad.

El Muro del Cusco

The Cusco Wall: “Be aware and don't wall yourself in – Gang Activity”.

This time we spoke with two of the exhibitors about the exercise. In the following short video, Bryan Mijail Romero Baca from the National University of San Antonio Abad explains how it is that these types of initiatives came about in his studies:

In order to understand more, we turned to Marco Moscoso [es] a communicator and cultural promoter in Cusco, to tell us more about “The Cusco Wall.”

Claudia, a member of the Colectivo El Muro Cusco [es] responded to our queries via email, and among other things, told us:

Con el colectivo buscamos informar aunque sea un poquito de lo que gran parte de la prensa calla, y que la gente que circula por las calles también se exprese, conozca, se solidarize y vea que lo que sucede nos afecta a todos [...] también intentamos apoyar a otros hermanos sobre todo de las comunidades con información ágil y sencilla a través del muro o folletos informativos, ya que al parecer muchas veces la información desean que este en manos de unos pocos y se pone lo más compleja posible y en medios no muy accesibles para todos (como es el internet en comunidades campesinas) [...] ya que nuestras autoridades, periodistas no quieren hablar… hagamos que los muros del pueblo hablen.

The collective aims to inform, even if only a little, about the great part of what the media silences, and also [hopes that] people who transit through these streets express themselves, are informed, show solidarity and see that what's happening affects us all [...].  We also try to support other brothers, particularly from communities, with agile, simple information using the wall or informative flyers.  It seems that often times, the idea is that information stays in the hands of a minority, in a complicated format and using media which isn't very accessible for everyone (like the Internet in rural communities) [...] and since our authorities and journalists don't want to talk… let's have the walls in our communities to do the talking.

The initiative, both at the University's end and that of collectives such as Muro del Cusco, takes advantage of physical space to raise awareness in people about important issues which are sometimes manipulated or made to seem smaller by the mass media. The collectives use them [physically], however, those who add the ingredient of “virtuality” in these modern times are necessary in order to connect people, spaces and initiatives.

The above is a valid and a very necessary strategy to locate issues for debate in the public sphere, making use of both virtual and non-virtual tools, which in turn, serves to give significant light to the variety of world visions that inhabit a city as culturally rich and diverse as Cusco.

This post was originally published in the blog Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.
Eva Bravo and Sonia Ordóñez transcribed and subtitled the first video.
Carmen Palomino and Sonia Ordóñez transcribed and subtitled the second video.

February 15 2014

Gold Medal Winner's Touching Gesture with Peruvian Skier at Sochi 2014

Swiss skier Darío Cologna was awarded the gold medal on the 15-kilometer freestyle cross country ski race in the 2014 Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. But in Peru he made the news due to a moving and exemplary scene: he waited for more than 20 minutes at the finish line for Peruvian Roberto Carcelén to shake his hand and hug him, for he knew Carcelen had competed although he had two broken ribs.

Carcelén broke two ribs during training, and nonetheless he decided to participate in a 15 kilometer race because he had already announced these would be his last Winter Olympics.

On Twitter, the news  didn't go unnoticed:

HURRAY for the Olympic spirit! Broken rib and he made it all the way to the finish line, Roberto Carcelén from Peru. Who do you think was waiting for him at the finish line?

A moment so sweet that the snow almost became snow cones. Roberto Carcelén competed today in Sochi – Russia.

February 14 2014

A Love Letter to Quito

Sunset in Quito, Ecuador.

Sunset in Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

They say if you go on a second date with a girl, it's because you like her. If you go on more than two, there's definitely something there.

The first time I visited Quito was by chance. I didn’t plan it, but a long layover between buses gave me the opportunity to walk around Ecuador's capital city. And behold, this is now the fourth time I've come to visit. That’s right: I cannot deny it. I am in love.

I am still critical of the object of my love. I do not allow its beauty to cloud my judgement or prevent me from seeing its flaws. But as a gentleman, I try to keep my criticisms to myself.

I have always entered Quito the same way—from below, meaning from the south through Quitumbe. This allows me to use the trolley to get to the center of the city. And I must say that US $0.25 is a bargain price to get around. This way I can appreciate its diverse south side, an attractive part of the city.

Square and Church of Santo Domingo, Quito, Ecuador.

Square and Church of Santo Domingo, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

I get off at Santo Domingo Square, and quickly walk a few blocks to my hotel, drop my things off, grab my camera, and set out to explore my beloved with a stirring heart. Literally. In Quito you won't experience altitude sickness, but you are aware you're at 2,800m.

Seeing the one you love after some time apart is a marvelous feeling. What is already known is eagerly rediscovered, and although the mind doesn't stop comparing and checking for changes, the excitement of a reunion surpasses everything.

I should note at this point that just as some people prefer blondes or voluptuous women, I like a city with history—and for this history to be felt while you admire her with delight. Big buildings or modern malls do not impress me. Show me some ruins or an old church, and darling, I'm yours.

Sucre and Benalcázar street corner, Quito, Ecuador.

Sucre and Benalcázar street corner, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

One of the things I like about Quito is that its history is a part of mine. Many things that happened here are connected to Peru’s history. Quito was part of the Inca empire Tahuantinsuyo. In colonial times, the Royal Audience of Quito was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Therefore, many names from Peru’s past are also present here: Atahualpa, Pizarro, Sucre, Bolivar. It is like hearing a new version of an old tale.

I mentioned the churches—and it is not that I am a fervent Catholic, but the old churches that colonial powers left behind are to be admired. Quito has lots of them. Santo Domingo, the beautiful (though a tad unkempt), San Francisco, the Company, all of them are are full of fabulous works of art and paintings from the Quito school. The modern yet gothic Basilica Voto is perhaps the only church where a guided tour comes close to qualifying as an extreme sport (go climb the towers and you will understand).

Basilica of the National Vow, Quito, Ecuador.

Basilica of the National Vow, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

You want to see museums in Quito? They leave me breathless. There's one on practically every other block in the historic center, in addition to in almost every church. Or if you spend a Sunday morning walking the city, you can enjoy endless street performances [es]. Once I even saw a Peruvian woman teaching people to dance the huayno, imagine that.

The food I must admit is quite good, except for one or two things that to Peruvians are quite sacrilegious. The rest is very good. And do not limit yourself to eating only in restaurants. Try the street food (I loved the fig and cheese sandwiches) and definitely go to a picantería (restaurant specializing in spicy foods), where a meal both delicious and inexpensive. If, like me, you have the opportunity to go with a local girl who can help with recommendations, even better.

Parque del Arbolito, Quito, Ecuador.

Little tree Park, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

I said that I wouldn't say anything bad about Quito, but there is one thing I can't ignore, and that's the taxi drivers. Sorry baby, but I had to say it. The worst thing about the taxi drivers is the lack of them, coming from someone who is accustomed to Peru's capital where you simply raise your hand to hail a cab. In Lima, you can expect that the next driver will offer a good price if the first doesn't. The shortage of taxis in Quito always surprises me. When it rains you'll never see an empty cab. As in most big cities, always agree on a price unless the taxi has a meter. Don't run the risk of being scammed upon arrival.

As with any couple who truly love one another, disagreements are quickly overcome and warm feelings return. If there is one thing that symbolizes my love for Quito, it is the sculpture of the Virgin of Panecillo, inspired by the Virgin of Quito. Contemplating the beauty of this graceful winged virgin, captured as if in mid-dance, fascinates and transports me.

Virgen del Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador.

Virgen del Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

Quito has all the other features you would expect: malls, nightlife, beautiful parks, extraordinary surroundings and hundreds of things to discover that make it worthwhile to explore. Keep an adventurous spirit and patience because it also has traffic that can be terrible. As you know, nobody is perfect.

In its sometimes winding streets you can find everything from people dancing spontaneously, be it at night or during the day, to a wedding reception being joyfully celebrated in a public plaza. And it you walk around Plaza Grande on a Monday, you can even see the Citizens’ Revolution in action, where the very President of the Republic greets the public in a changing of the guards ceremony.

Street in the Old Town, Quito, Ecuador.

Street in the Old Town, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

But apart from everything this city has to offer—and perhaps I am being subjective here—I must confess that what particularly appeals to me about Quito is that it does not make me feel like a stranger. And that is partly due to its people, partly due to the architecture in the historical center, also due to the cultural offerings (even hackers [es] can be found there!). Its mostly benign climate, or perhaps its the mix of all of this, lends its own je ne sais quoi. Or putting it colloquially: it’s that you know how to make me feel good, dear.

P.S. If you are interested in getting to know Quito via its people, I can recommend a few pages on Facebook: Quito escondido (Hidden Quito), from my friend Galo Pérez, whom I interviewed in this post [es], and Quito, de aldea a ciudad (Quito, from village to city), which collects old photos of Quito.

Corner of San Francisco Square, Quito, Ecuador.

Corner of San Francisco Square, Quito, Ecuador. Photo by Juan Arellano

Juan Arellano has been the editor of Global Voices in Spanish since 2007 and lives in Lima, Peru. He is a former Systems programmer and worked 12 years as analyst/developer at Minero Perú SA, then another 5 years as Operations Manager at IPSS/ESSALUD. After a time devoted to personal business returned to the public admin as head of collections at Municipalidad de Maynas, Iquitos. He also worked in ONPE, the National Office of Electoral Processes, as supervisor at the Regional Coordination. In 2004, he was a co-founder of “BlogsPerú” the first blog directory in Peru. Since 2007 he works as Global Voices en español Editor. He also collaborated in the “Información Cívica” project from OSI, and collaborates with “Periodismo Ciudadano” and Future Challenges websites, among others.This post was originally published at Juan Arellano's Globalizado blog.
Marianna Breytman gently translated this post.

February 11 2014

International Open Data Day Set for February 22

Bloggers, hackers, designers, statisticians and other citizens who are interested in Open Data and Transparency will gather online and offline for the International Open Data Day on February 22, 2014. The event takes place to encourage governmental data openness.

Open Data Day is a gathering of citizens in cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses using open public data to show support for and encourage the adoption open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments.

Anyone can organize a local event in their city as long as the event is open for others to join. The attendees can participate in creating anything related to Open Data, be it with local or global applications, visualizations, scraping data from a government website to make it available for others or even organize a series of workshops with government officials, journalists or other stakeholders affected by open data.

The hashtag that will be used for the even is, #ODD2014. Some Twitter users have already started posting their comments on the hashtag.

Dozens of cities are participating in the hackathon.

International Open Data Hackathon

International Open Data Hackathon

Announcements are also made on Twitter for local events in different places.

The Open Data Day in Egypt,

Add your city to the list if it is not already there, and start planning for a local event there.

January 23 2014

Vargas Llosa's ‘Conversation in The Cathedral', 140 Characters at a Time

The anonymous Twitter user behind the handle @EnLaCatedral is determined to share [es] the whole content of “Conversation in the Cathedral“, a novel by Literature Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, 140 characters at a time. The novel by the Peruvian author begins with these words republished by @EnLaCatedral:

FROM THE entrance of [newspaper] La Crónica, Santiago looks at Tacna Avenue, loveless: automobiles, uneven and washed out buildings


January 22 2014

10 Documentaries on South American Music to Watch Online

Nick MacWilliam from the blog Sounds and Colours has compiled a list of 10 documentaries, “looking at all manner of musical styles and movements from the region, with films focused on Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.”

This list makes no attempt to rank the films, nor does it purport that these films are any better or worse than other music documentaries related to South America. The idea is to provide a sample of some of the films out there so that, firstly, they are enjoyed and, secondly, we hope they will open a few doors for our readers into new areas of regional identity.

The films are available online, for free.

January 18 2014

Peru and Chile Await The Hague's Decision on Maritime Border Dispute


Map presented by Alain Pellet in the case of Peru – Chile during oral arguments before the International Court of Justice in the Hague in December 2012. [The dark blue zone indicates the contentious area.] Published in Wikimedia under the license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

[Links are to Spanish-language pages except where otherwise noted.]

The upcoming date on which the International Court of Justice [en] (ICJ) in The Hague is set to deliver its judgment regarding the controversy surrounding maritime boundaries between Chile and Peru [en] is generating tremendous expectations and anxiety in both countries. 

The controversy originated as long ago as 1985 in a dispute over maritime sovereignty [en] of a 37,900 km² area in the Pacific Ocean. In 2008, when the parties were still unable to come to an agreement, Peru took its case to the International Court in the Hague in the hopes of having the issue resolved. The Court announced it would deliver its ruling on January 27, 2014.

In 2008, the Peruvian economist and blogger Silvio Rendón commented that by instigating the lawsuit, Peru was signalling a new level of dissatisfaction in its relations with its neighbour to the south, and that this would only foster a climate of increased nationalism in both countries:

Lo más probable es que con este reclamo ante La Haya el Perú como Chile radicalicen su carrera armamentista y las escaramuzas de guerra fría que venimos librando desde hace años. Se trata de chispas que pueden calentar lo que ahora está frío. [...] Si oficialmente no estamos en guerra, ¿por qué se habla de hacer la paz? Es que sí estamos en una guerra, una guerra fría (ver Guerra Perú-Chile) que debería terminar ya. Lo diré una vez más. El camino del Perú debería ser el del crecimiento, no el del armamentismo (ver Triángulo equivocado y Ad “Triángulo Equivocado”). Perú tiene el 10% del PIB per cápita de EEUU y Chile tiene 20%. Deberíamos estar concentrados en mejorar el bienestar de nuestras ciudadanías y el camino a ese objetivo no pasa por la propiedad del triángulo marítimo.

It is likely that with this claim before The Hague, both Peru and Chile will intensify the arms race and the cold war skirmishes they have been waging for years. We are talking about sparks that could ignite something that, for the moment, is cold. [...] If we are not officially at war, why are we talking about making peace? It's because we are indeed at war, a cold war (see Guerra Perú-Chile) that must end now. I will say it one last time. The road Peru takes should be one of development, not stockpiling (see Triángulo equivocado and Ad “Triángulo Equivocado”). Peru's per capita GDP is 10% of that of the U.S. and Chile's is at 20%. We should be focussing on improving the wellbeing of our citizens and the road to that objective is not paved with proprietary wrangling over the maritime triangle.

Currently, beyond the legal arguments on which each country has based its position, there are those such as El Drac of the blog El Abrazo de Almanzor, who see abuse and manipulation of the claim by powerful interests who have the support of certain sectors of the press. Moreover, the blogger mentions the economic implications of the dispute :

Pese a que ambos países han insistido en que la resolución del tribunal internacional no afectará a sus relaciones comerciales, los empresarios chilenos han expresado su preocupación por el impacto que podría tener en la industria pesquera. [...] En el caso de que el fallo resultara favorable a la tesis peruana se registraría un impacto en el área pesquera chilena, ya que Chile perdería soberanía sobre una amplia zona marítima en la cual hoy desarrolla entre el 70% y 80% de la captura pesquera en la norteña zona de Arica, según estimaciones empresariales.

Despite the fact that both countries insist the decision by the International Court will not affect their trade relations, Chilean business leaders have expressed their concern about the potential impact on the fishing industry. [...] If the ruling favours Peru's contention, this will affect Chilean fishing, as the the country will lose control of a wide stretch of sea which today accounts for 70-80% of the catch in the Northern Arica zone, according to industry estimates.

The website Otra Mirada emphasizes that defence of Peruvian sovereignty has ensured a degree of national unity in the country, but it also raises the question of what the agenda for immediate economic development should be. To which it adds:

El fallo de La Haya definirá, entonces, un nuevo panorama en el país, por lo cual, se debe preparar una agenda de Estado que incluya temas fundamentales como: 1. Definir rol de las Fuerzas Armadas en la defensa de nuestra seguridad y soberanía en la etapa post La Haya. 2. Establecer una política de desarrollo del sector pesquero en esta zona del país. 3. Establecer acciones inmediatas sobre la situación laboral de los chilenos que viven en el Perú y los peruanos que viven en Chile. 4.Promover un plan de inversión pública en las regiones Tacna y Moquegua a favor de la integración sudamericana. 5.Definir políticas de integración económico – social y cultural con nuestros vecinos fronterizos.

The Hague's verdict will, therefore, determine a new outlook for the country, for which a  national agenda must be set, one that includes fundamental issues like: 1. Defining the role of the Armed Forces in our national security and sovereignty in the post-Hague phase. 2. Establishing a development policy for the fisheries industry in that area of the country. 3. Taking immediate actions regarding the situation of Chilean labourers in Peru and Peruvians who live in Chile. 4. Promoting a public investment program in the Tacna and Moquegua regions that favours South Amercian integration. 5. Formulate socioeconomic and cultural integration policies with our neighbours.

Meanwhile, as predicted by Silvio Rendón, there has been a recent upsurge in nationalism, evident in former President Alan García's proposal that the flag be raised outside homes and offices across Peru on January 27, the day when the International Court in The Hague will finally come down on one side or the other of the dispute. This has generated controversy, as the call was rejected by Peru's governing party and a number of Chilean politicians. However, García has defended his proposal, which was well received in other quarters, namely some of the country's provinces and districts.

Peru also felt the impact of the meeting that Chilean President Sebastián Piñera held with his National Security Council to analyze the potential repercussions of the ICJ decision.  Afterwards, and in the face of criticism by certain Chilean politicians, the country's Minister of the Interior, Andrés Chadwick, declared that the meeting “did not point to a situation of a military or bellicose nature.” 

Nevertheless, Chile's digital newspaper El Mostrador published information in July of 2013 about military preparations in both Chile and Peru in anticipation for an adverse decision by the ICJ or a situation in which one of the two countries refused to comply. More recently, the Peruvian pro-military blogger Report Perú publicized alleged early warning measures by the Peruvian Armed Forces. 

There are fewer than 10 days to go before the judgment by the International Court of Justice in The Hague; so many things could still happen, and rumours and controversy are sure to continue to abound. But one valid reflection was made by the lawyer Francisco Canaza on his blog Apuntes Peruanos, referring to a prior ruling by the ICJ regarding the territorial and maritime dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua [en], which resulted in Colombia not recognizing the Court's decision and withdrawing from the Pacto de Bogotá, a treaty whose signatories [a majority of Latin American countries] are obliged to resolve their conflicts through pacific means, awarding jurisdiction to the ICJ:

sin ser el caso Peru – Chile ante la Corte Internacional de Justicia de La Haya un proceso similar al de Nicaragua – Colombia, ¿Chile podría, como Colombia, denunciar (retirarse) del Pacto de Bogotá y así evitar la ejecución de un fallo “no ajustado a derecho”?

Although Peru – Chile, now before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is not necessarily similar to the case of Nicaragua – Colombia, could Chile, like Colombia, denounce (withdraw from) the Pacto de Bogotá [en] and thereby avoid enforcement of a ruling that is “not consistent with the law”?

Post originally published on Juan Arellano's blog Globalizado.

January 10 2014

Latin America's Black Metal Fans, Punks and Otakus

Santiago, Lima, Mexico City and Oaxaca have been some of the cities in which photographer Carla Mc-Kay has photographed punks, thrashers, transvestites, black metal fans, new waves and otakus, recording their everyday lives in their habitat.

Sentidos Comunes has published Carla Mc-Kay's photographs in a photo essay titled “Street Youth” [es].

January 09 2014

Peruvian Volunteer Firefighters Fight More than Just Fire

During the first 24 days of December 2013 alone, the General Corps of Volunteer Firefighters of Peru [es] took care of 454 fires in Lima, Callao and Ica.

One of the most serious fires occurred on Tuesday, December 10, 2013, in a tire warehouse in the Limean district of La Victoria, which was extinguished after hours of hard work by the firefighters. About this, the blog Prensarte reported [es]:

Luego que el jefe departamental de Lima [...] denunció que empleadores de tres bomberos de la compañía 115 de Chaclacayo los despidieron por ausentarse de sus centros de labores mientras atendían el incendio en la av. Nicolás Arriola en La Victoria, El jefe de Comunicaciones de la Compañía [...] rectificó que se trataba de la preocupación de varios bomberos que sentían sus puestos de trabajo amenazados y que así se lo comentaron.

Por su parte, León, aclaró horas después reincorporaron en sus trabajos a los bomberos denunciantes quienes no quisieron identificarse para evitar más problemas con ellos.

After the Lima departmental chief [...] claimed that employers of three firefighters of Unit 115 from Chaclacayo were fired for being absent from their jobs while they were fighting the fire at Nicolás Arriola Avenue in La Victoria, the Head of Communications Office of the unit [...] rectified it was the concern of many firefighters who felt their jobs were at stake and they let him know that.

Meanwhile, León explained that hours later the fired men were reinstated in their jobs, and that they didn't want their names to be known to avoid having problems.

The so called “men in red” prevent, control and put out fires, assist with car accidents and emergencies, and rescue threatened lives, all on a voluntarily basis, meaning they don't receive any payment for their services.

As early as November 2012, the blog Nuevo Reporte presented [es] “the sad reality faced by the General Corps of Volunteer Firefighters of Peru”:

Desde hace varios años, se vienen detectando fallas en los equipos antiquísimos con los que cuenta para hacer su denodada labor los muy pocas reconocidos Bomberos Voluntarios del Perú. Pues, los equipos son inutilizables debido a averías, roturas e ineficiencias presentadas en el momento que más se necesitan, al salvar vidas.

For years now, several flaws have been detected in the ancient equipment used to carry out the dauntless labor by the barely appreciated Volunteer Firefighters of Peru. Thus, their equipment is hardly usable due to breakdowns, tears and defects that appear when they are most needed, when saving lives.

Furthermore, website Sin sentido reviews part of the history [es] of Peruvian firefighters and explains their current situation:


Photo by user ms. akr on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Actualmente, si bien sus miembros trabajan ad honorem – a diferencia de lo que sucede en otros países – el Cuerpo de Bomberos es un organismo descentralizado que depende de la Presidencia del Consejo de Ministros y cuenta con un presupuesto para compra de materiales, equipos y mantenimiento de unidades. Sin embargo, muchas de sus compañías se encuentran en pésimo estado, [...] [lo que] ha dificultado su trabajo, no obstante los bomberos mantienen su espíritu en alto y cada vez son más los jóvenes que desean ser parte del servicio voluntario. [...] Recuerden que los bomberos siempre están prestos a atender todo tipo de emergencias las 24 horas del día, por lo que deberíamos ayudarlos a que hagan mucho mejor su labor :)

Today, although members work pro bono –unlike other counties– the Firefighters Corps is a decentralized organ dependent of the Presidency of the Cabinet of Ministers and has a budget for purchasing material, equipment and units maintenance. However, many of their units are in a lousy condition [...] [and this] has complicated their work; nevertheless, the firefighters keep their spirits high and each time there are more and more young people who want to be part of the volunteer service. [...] Keep in mind that the firefighters are always ready to take care of all kind of emergencies, 24 hours a day, so we should help them carry out their tasks in a much better way :)

As told by the website Doug Copp's Blog, there were Peruvian volunteer firefighters in the rescue efforts in New York immediately after the 9/11 attacks:

My name is Efrain Huaman Carrion and I am a volunteer firefighter in Peru. I’m part of the International American Rescue Team. [...] I volunteered at the World Trade Center after the attacks on the Twin Towers.
When the attacks happened, I didn’t think twice about coming to help but I couldn’t get a flight. I was finally able to buy a ticket to come help my brother firefighters and police.

On Twitter, users expressed their appreciation for the firefighters’ work, many times hindered because of the daily needs they face and for various administrative hindrances:

A special New Year's greeting for the volunteer firefighters of Peru, who take daily risks for all of us. THANKS!!

Peruvian firefighters – the new Peruvians.

“We admire the firefighters’ spirit of service”.

How did [Peruvian] firefighters celebrate New Year's?

Firefighters took care of 54 fires and 23 car accidents on New Year's: the General Corps of Firefighters took care of 54 fires…

Lastly, newspaper Diario16 tweets:

National Congress proposes a life annuity for firefighters.

January 01 2014

Peru: The Most Popular on Social Networks

The blog Ú presents the list of the ten Peruvian most talked about events [es] on social networks during 2013, made up thanks to votes by the readers:

Sinceramente estábamos esperando que alguien más haga este ránking. Pero como nadie lo hizo, aquí vamos nosotros.

La idea fue elaborar una lista con los fenómenos/incidentes más sonados que hayan nacido en las redes sociales de nuestro rico Perú.

We were honestly expecting that someone else would make this list. But as no one did, here we go.

The idea was to prepare a list with the phenomena/incidents most taled about orginated on social networks in our rich Peru.

The list is diverse and includes politicians, artists and common citizens [es] who became famous due to its impact on the networks.

December 17 2013

Chungui: Digging up the Horror of Terrorism in Peru

Chungui, el distrito, es parte de la provincia de La Mar en el departamento de Ayacucho. Una parte del distrito es conocida como Oreja de Perro por la forma de la zona en el mapa del Perú.  Foto de Moner Lizana de la web

Chungui, the district, is part of the La Mar province in the Ayacucho region. A part of the district is known as the Oreja de Perro (Dog Ear) because of its resemblance on a map. Picture by Moner Lizana from the web site

Thirty years ago, hundreds of civilians were victims [es] of the terrorist group Shining Path and of the counterinsurgency actions of the Peruvian government forces in the Chungui and Oreja de Perro (Dog Ear) [es] communities, in the Ayacucho region. Many of these victims were buried in unknown mass graves, and the exhumation and identification of their remains has just recently begun. 

The terrorist group Shining Path was born precisely in Ayacucho, and its strategy was to arm the poor and traditionally exploited countrymen to besiege the major cities in the country. The implementation of this strategy meant that many peasants were forced to become part of Shining Path or help the armed cells in various ways, which in the eyes of the Army qualified these peasants as terrorists.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established to investigate the political violence that plagued the country in the 1980s and 1990s, released the testimonies [es] gathered in Chungui and Oreja de Perro in their final report, with a timeline of the events that took place from 1967 to 1995. After reading this story, it is clear that the district suffered not one or two attacks, but many armed assaults and intimidation actions by Shining Path during the 1980s, including the massive killing of community members and the execution of civil authorities. There were allegedly 1,384 terrorism victims in the Chungi district alone.

This is what a woman who witnessed the Santa Carmen massacre in 1982 told the commission:

Esos hombres tenían un libro grande y llaman lista y dicen su nombre de mi papá, pronuncian XZ diciendo dice pues y de ahí le sacan y a mi papá le dicen XZ “presente jefe” dijo mi papá. Decían ya muy bien, muy bien te están llamando corre, corre te están llamando allá le dicen y le hacen correr a la escuela y detrás le estaban esperando varios más o menos como seis o siete estaban esperando, y alrededor de la muralla también estaban. Entonces mi papá llega y ni bien estaba volteando a la espalda de la escuela, uno le agarro de atrás y le empezó a patear y mi papá al querer defenderse más ya lo acuchillaron.

These men had a big book with them and they called a list and said my dad's name, pronouncing XZ and taking him outside; so my dad was called XZ, “here boss”, my dad answered. They said, well, well, they are calling you, run, run, they are calling your from there, and they made him run to the school. Various persons were waiting for him behind, like six or seven were waiting, and around the wall there were more people. Then my dad got there and as soon as he faced his back to the school, one of them took him from behind and started kicking him and when my dad tried to defend himself, he was stabbed.

The story continues:

Un cuchillo se lo meten por la espalda y mi papá empieza a agarrar a puñete y patada y paj, paj paj. Lo tiran y en el suelo lo pisotean y mi papá no muere y cuando le meten otro cuchillo en la barriga y en el corazón grita mi papá “ayyyyyyyy, ayyyyyyynooo” gritó sólo tres veces. Y después de esto al otro señor ya también, le llama lista y él le dice presente y otra vuelta el otro también corre, corre y el otro también igualito corre y en la lista le llaman, ocho personas habían muerto.

They stuck a knive into his back and my dad starts to punch and kick and pah, pah, pah. They throw him and step on him and my dad didn't die; but when he was stabbed again in the belly and the heart my dad yelled: “ayyyyyyy, ayyyyyyynoooo” only three times. And then, after that, they called another gentleman from the list and then too, he replied “here”, and was asked also to run, run; and then again another one, run. The list goes on, and eight people died.

On January 2013 the remains of 78 exhumed victims of the Chungui zone [es] were delivered to their families [es], and this was only the beginning. The same year, in August, the Specialized Forensics Team (EFE) – a unit of the Public Prosecutor's Office, announced [es] the finding of human remains of 200 people in mass graves in the Oreja de Perro zone and the beginning of the work to get them back to their families. The forensics team chief, Ivan Rivasplata, said [es] that it is still uncertain if these persons were victims of Shining Path or the Army.

The chronicle [es] of the exhumation process, published by a local newspaper, is a painful re-count of the years of terror and how, even though so much time has passed, the mourners are interested in recovering whatever is left of their assassined family members; and they help by giving all the necessary information to find more mass graves and undercover burial sites. “In this town [Amaybamba] waits Valentín Casa Quispe, a young 36-year-old muleteer who carries in his 10 sumpters all the baggage and tools for the exhumations. He has a special interest in helping the prosecution team, because he thinks that in one of the mass graves he'll find the remains of his murdered mother, who died in 1986 when he was a 9 year-old boy.”

Many children were left orphaned and had to manage [es] to survive by any means. “Eugenia was 7 years old when her sisters were executed in the town of Chaupimayo and her dad in the military base of Mollebamba in 1984. After this tragedy, the girl spent two years in the mountains eating parboiled herbs and raw corn. [...] ‘When the army captured me and took me to Mollebamba, I was already 9′. The military handed her to a countrywoman, Lorenza Hurtado, who forced her to put her cattle out to pasture and serve inside her home. ‘The lady mistrated me, she yelled at me and always told everyone in the community that she took in a little terrorist'. A year later, her uncle, Antonio Quispe Nieve, rescued her and took her to Andahuaylas.”

Despite everything, you could say Eugenia was lucky compared to they children who lost both their parents and their identity when they were not murdered.

Out of the 56 victims that were found in Chungui, 26 are kids

Journalist Jacqueline Fowks, on the blog NoticiasSer, shared the story of Rigoberto and Marina's little brother. They asked the army to take him by helicopter to the Huamanga Hospital because he was very sick. After that, they never heard from him again. The journalist adds [es]:

Éste no es un caso aislado. Una trabajadora del sector Salud de Ayacucho ha referido a trabajadores y asistentes sociales que en aquel tiempo, llegaban en helicópteros a Huamanga niños heridos o enfermos, o porque su comunidad era arrasada, y luego no los devolvían: pasaban a orfanatos, sin nombre, y más tarde los trabajadores los inscribían, hasta con sus propios apellidos.

This is not an isolated case. A health worker from Ayacucho has refered to workers and social assisstants from that time who took by helicopter sick or injured kids, or children whose communities were ravaged; and then, they never gave them back. They took them to orphanages, with no name, and later workers registered them as their own.

In the blog GranComboClub, the economist Silvio Rendón after reviewing the violent story of Chungui and Oreja de Perro, compares and concludes [es]:

La zona de Chungui, aquí, fue escenario de la guerra insurgente-contrainsurgente de los ochentas y noventas y es parte de lo que hoy se denomina “el VRAE”, el valle de los rios Apurímac y Ene, zona cocalera y donde persisten las acciones armadas contra el estado peruano. Lo ocurrido hace 45 años es muy indicativo de algunas persistencias en la historia peruana reciente. Y como ya vimos en 1965: insurgencia en el Gran Pajonal, en 1965 no hubo “comisión de la verdad” ni juicios a militares, ni acusaciones, ni nada por el estilo. Ahí quedó la cosa.

The Chungui area was the stage of an insurgent-counterinsurgency war during the eighties and nineties and today is part of the “VRAE”, the valley of the rivers Apurimac and Ene, a coca zone where there are still armed actions against the Peruvian state. What happened 45 years ago is a sign of issues that persist in recent Peruvian history. And as we saw in 1965: Gran Pajonal uprising [es], there was no “truth commission”, no military trials, no accusations, nothing of the sort. Things just stayed as they were.

Thirty years after the massacres, in 2013, it seems that at least the victims and their families will recover some dignity and memory.

Original post published on the blog Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.

December 06 2013

On Twitter, Peruvians Remember Song Dedicated to Mandela

When South African leader Nelson Mandela was released from prison in the 90s, Spanish-Peruvian musician Miki Gonzáles [es] wrote the song “Liberaron a Mandela” [Mandela was released]. Peruvian Twitter users remembered the song when they learned about Mandela's passing:

What a hit by Miki Gonzales when Mandela was released, back in the 90s. I remembered the melody but not the lyrics.

Tribute by a Peruvian musician to a liberty icon: Miki González, “Mandela was released”

November 14 2013

PHOTOS: Humans of Latin America

“She laughed, laughed and laughed while she waited for inter-provincial transportation. Tiraque, Cochabamba”.
Photo by Mijhail Calle for Humans of Bolivia, used with permission.

Inspired by photographer Brandon Stanton's blog Humans of New York (HONY), professional and amateur photographers across the world have created blogs and Facebook pages where they collect images and stories of people from all walks of life –and Latin America has not been an exception.

Stanton's idea has inspired Latin American photographers who want to showcase their country or city through portraits of its diverse people.

This is a brief overview of some of the “Humans of…” projects in the region.

Humans of Buenos Aires

“Come and visit me whenever you want. I'm sorry I can't offer you mate [local beverage] but I have no place to heat up water.” Photo by Jimena Mizrahi, used with permission.

Freelance photographer Jimena Mizrahi started Humans of Buenos Aires in May 2012, and her Facebook page has attracted over 11,000 likes.

Her project also caught the attention of a city official, which resulted in the first Humans of Buenos Aires exhibition. The Argentina Independent reports that “the exhibition ‘Micro historias del Microcentro’ featured displays of portraits of individuals who live or work in the city’s central business district”.

Jimena told The Argentina Independent that she does Humans of Buenos Aires “not only because I simply love interacting with people, but because each of these interactions is a lesson. Every person is a world.”

“-I can't believe it! A woman cab driver!
-Of course, do you think that women can't be taxi drivers? It's time to stop being surprised when women do things that aren't common for their gender, there aren't things for men or women.”
Photo by Jimena Mizrahi, used with permission.

Humans of Colombia and Humans of Bogotá

“A Wayuu girl, daughter of a restaurant owner in Uribia.”
Photo by Gábor Szentpétery, used with permission.

Humans of Colombia was created by designer Maurent Roa and architect Gábor Szentpétery. During their travels the couple met Mauricio Romero, who has joined the project and contributed some photographs. While traveling, they also noticed that many people didn't know much about Colombia or had a negative perception of the country; with this project they aim to show a different side of Colombia.

“The idea is to represent Colombia through its people because ethnic diversity in Colombia is incredible. It is a mixture of Amerindians, Spanish and African descendants, and that's what we want to show the world,” Maurent explains.

“Carmen Lorena grew up on a coffee plantation estate about three hours from Bogotá, but she thinks the city life is not for her, she prefers the countryside where she will stay after finishing her studies.”
Photo by Mauricio Romero, used with permission.

“What is your perception of love, and your favorite way to love?”
-”I think that love is everything, it makes up everything that surrounds us and I'd say that my favorite way to love is…breathing”.
Photo by John Cardona, used with permission.

For more photos from Colombia, you can also visit Humans of Bogotá, a page created in August 2013 by John Cardona and Jonathan Arévalo.

John and Jonathan are motivated by the response they've received, and by the chance to meet new people and hear stories that they can show the world through their page. They say that this movement “shows how we can all identify with someone, no matter how far they live.”

“One wish?
-Safety in all of Bogotá.
-Tranquillity and peace”
Photo by John Cardona, used with permission.

Humans of Bolivia

“In Sipe Sipe – Cochabamba, the man said ‘take this abroad'. Then he began playing his charango.”
Photo by Mijhail Calle, used with permission.

Created on November 3, 2013, Humans of Bolivia is one of the newest Facebook pages to mirror Humans of New York in the region. Estelí Puente and Mijhail Calle want to create the same empathy they saw in the New York project and similar projects like Humans of Amsterdam, “the feeling that humanity is formed by individuals with their own stories.”

Although Mijhail takes most of the photographs, they are reaching out to other photographers who can share images from different parts of Bolivia. “This dynamic is also allowing us to create a space to share and discuss the role of the image and photography in the construction of our identities, so for now it looks like this will be more than a series of portraits. We want it to be a reason to reflect about ourselves,” Estelí explains.

“There are not many amauta women, it's hard to be one, but I am. Now I'm part of the union”.
Photo by Mijhail Calle, used with permission.

Humans of Honduras

“My biggest desire is for politicians to turn a blind eye to the colors of their parties, and for their focus to be solely on the betterment and unity of their country. This is the only way in which Honduras will be able to move forward.”
Photo by Claudia, used with permission.

Claudia Elvir and Daniela Mejía “invite you to get to know Honduras through its people” on their Facebook page Humans of Honduras.

Claudia started following Stanton's blog and was impressed by how he not only “captured impressive photographs, but also used them to capture the humanity behind each portrait, and how each photograph told a story that resonated in the hearts of the readers.”

Her friend Daniela conducts the interviews. Claudia and Daniela want to change the violent and negative image that the world has about Honduras, and they also want to change the way Hondurans see their own country.

Through their photographs and interviews, Claudia and Daniela hope to show that Honduras is a country “full of hard-working people, people with dreams, ambitions, joys and sorrows just like in every corner of the world.”

“I asked him to smile and very amiably he said, ‘I would like to, but in this job you have to be serious.’ and with that he demonstrated how appearances are deceiving.”
Photo by Claudia, used with permission.

Humans of Guatemala

“Slow but steady! Yes, it´s a long way to go, but I will make it.”
Photo by Elmer Alvarez, used with permission.

Elmer Alvarez had already been taking photographs of people around Guatemala before starting the Facebook page Humans of Guatemala in September 2013. Wendy Del Aguila, who now writes the captions, told Elmer about Humans of New York and he felt motivated to start a similar page about Guatemala.

Elmer and Wendy seek to capture “spontaneous moments of these extraordinary people reflecting their smile, passion, curiosity, hard work, shyness, kindness and most important their uniqueness!”

La Teacher-

La Teacher-”Let Your Smile Change The World”
Photo by Elmer Alvarez, used with permission

More “Humans of…” projects

“Every morning Don Pedro has opened his taqueria in this small village for two years. He has the usual clients and he gives out free tacos to all the minibus drivers who stop their minibus near his stand. “
Photo by Humans of Mexico, used with permission

The image above comes from Humans of Mexico, a page created in March 2010. Also from Mexico, Humans of Mexico City seeks to create a “photographic census of Mexico City. One street portrait at a time.”

Humans of Costa Rica, a page created in July of 2013, has more than 1,700 likes.

In Brazil, the Humans of Rio de Janeiro Facebook page is one of the most active in the region, and has over 9,000 likes.

Some Facebook pages -like Humans of Nicaragua, Humans of Panama, and Humans of Santiago, Chile- ask users to contribute photographs to the project. Others -like Humans of Quito, Humans of Lima, Humans of Peru, and Humans of Asunción- have been created less than a month ago.

Have we missed any “Humans of…” projects from South or Central America? Let us know in the comments!

November 08 2013

Peru: Day Without Shadow in Arequipa

At 11:29:51 am on Thursday, November 7, 2013, while the 6th Latin American Congress of Photobiology and Photomedicine in the Peruvian city of Arequipa was taking place, locals stopped their activities to contemplate the day without shadow [es].

This event happens twice a year in cities located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, that is, between Northern Mexico and Northern Argentina (in America). The next day without shadow for Arequipa will be on February 3, 2014.

On Twitter, Paula Gonzalez warned:

Arequipa: High ultraviolet radiation on the Day Without Shadow.

Meanwhile, Renzo Vargas explained it with 140 characters:

The day without shadow only happens twice a year for some minutes, as the sun puts itself in a 90° angle. #quelocura [this is crazy]

With the sun on a perpendicular position, ultraviolet radiation in Arequipa on Thursday, November 7, reached up to 16 units, considered extremely high.

November 06 2013

Peruvians Protest Against Pro-Fujimori Congresswoman

Peruvian human rights organizations are speaking out against [es] the appointment [es] of pro-Fujimori congresswoman Martha Chávez [es] as a member of the Human Rights Commission in Congress due to her history [es] of disrespect of human rights.

Yesterday, November 5, Congress rejected [es] the request by congressman Heriberto Benítez -who had previously voted for Martha Chávez- to disable the commission.

Human rights groups organized a protest for November 5. On social networks the call to protest was made under the hashtag #FueraMarthaChávez [es] (Out Martha Chávez).

 We have returned to the streets because we are outraged!

Global Demand for Quinoa Takes Toll on Andean Farmers and Consumers


Varieties of Peruvian quinoa. Photo posted by ApegaPerú on flickr and used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

Quinoa has captured the attention of consumers from around the world, but the growing international demand has caused problems in local consumption in the Andean countries where it is produced, additionally affecting poor populations who used to consume it regularly.

The year 2013 was declared as the ‘International Year of Quinoa’ by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO additionally named [es] Nadine Heredia, wife of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, as special ambassador for the International year of Quinoa, together with Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia.

This declaration by the FAO is a recognition [es] of the great nutritional value of quinoa, a pseudocereal originating from the Andean region of South America which contains eight basic amino acids for human nutrition; in addition to proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals, it is relatively low in fats.

These nutritional qualities have, little by little, made the rest of the world interested in this ancestral Andean product. From rather low levels [es] of exportation a few years ago, Peru, the second world producer of quinoa, exported [es] 7,600 tons in the year 2012, from a production [es] of 43,600 tons; while Bolivia, the first world producer [es] of quinoa, exported [es] some 26,000 tons of its total production which was a little more than 44,000 tons.

The Peruvian gastronomic boom has also contributed to the spread of quinoa on a global scale, since several typical Peruvian and international dishes have been reinterpreted [es] by chefs using quinoa. It's use, which before was not very widespread outside of Andean homes, has arrived in force [es] to gourmet restaurants in Lima.

The following promotional video (with English subtitles), produced by FAO and uploaded to YouTube, explains more about quinoa:

However, this promising panorama has its negative side: the international demand for quinoa, which causes Bolivia to dedicate more than 50% of its quinoa production to exportation, has caused prices within the domestic market to rise and therefore is now not accessible [es] to the poorest populations.

The level of unsatisfied international demand [es] for quinoa is also currently causing the United States and Chile to research its cultivation in non-Andean lands.

With regard to this issue, in the blog All about Quinoa they republish an article by the anthropologist Mauricio Mamani Pocoaca which previously appeared in Bolivian newspapers, where he says [es] that in this time of globalization farmers must adapt to agricultural production chains or resign themselves to losing their crop lands. Mamani adds that the hope for income from exportation is a fallacy:

Habrá muchos pedidos desde el exterior y los países andinos no podrán responder; entonces los países industrializados producirán con alta tecnología y con fines industriales. Los subproductos de la quinua llegará desde el exterior a nuestro país, en enlatados, en sobre, en diferentes preparados, con conservantes. Nuestra quinua formará parte de la comida chatarra y nosotros seremos los consumidores dependientes: razón por la que lloran los campesinos en silencio y saben que, en el futuro, nunca más serán los dueños de la semilla de quinua y además están conscientes que, en el futuro desaparecerán algunas variedades que desde su origen, tuvieron distintas aplicaciones en su uso. Antes de la época de la siembra, todos los años comprarán a comerciantes (semillas transgénicas) con el denominativo de “semilla certificada”.

There will be many requests from overseas and the Andean countries won't be able to respond; so industrialized countries will produce with high tech equipment and by industrial means. Quinoa subproducts will come from overseas to our country, in cans, in envelopes, in different preparations, with preservatives. Our quinoa will form part of fast food and we will be dependent consumers: this is the reason why farmers are crying in silence and know that, in the future, they will no longer be the owners of the quinoa seed and they are also aware that, in the future, some varieties that were originally used differently will disappear. Before the time of sowing, every year they will buy will buy transgenic seeds with the name “certified seed” from businessmen.

In the same blog post, Rubén Miranda writes in response:

Lo mejor sería que el productor además de venderla la consuma mucho más, el intermediario pague y venda a un precio justo el grano adquirido y las empresas beneficiadores y transformadoras inviertan en el mercado nacional y también la exporten porque deben recuperar sus inversiones, además de mejor sus procesos.

De quien dependa que las variedades no se pierdan, de los mismos productores, de quien depende conscientizar sobre evitar las semilla transgenicas [...] (d)e todos nosotros, los interesados en mantener nuestra variabilidad genética.

The best thing would be for the producer, in addition to selling it, to consume it much more. The middleman should pay and sell the acquired crop at a fair price and benefited and transformed businesses should invest in the national market and should also export it because they must recover their investments, in addition to improving processes.

Not losing the varieties of seeds depends on the producers; raising awareness about avoiding transgenic seeds[...] depends on all of us, those of us who are interested in maintaining our genetic variability.

In the virtual magazine PuntoEdu from the Catholic University of Peru, the Peruvian anthropologist Carlos Eduardo Aramburú shares an article [es] which explores the dilemmas between the exportation boom [es] and the shortage for the domestic market. Aramburú explains that in a field study in Ayacucho and Puno he found that:

los pobladores han dejado de comer quinua porque prefieren exportarla y han reemplazado este alimento por los fideos que son más rápidos de cocinar y llenan pero tienen muy poco valor nutricional. En conclusión, tenemos el boom de la gastronomía en un país donde, si bien la malnutrición crónica infantil ha caído, todavía los índices de anemia son altos. No comemos menos pero si comemos mal

the people have stopped eating quinoa because they prefer to export it and they have replaced this food with noodles which are quicker to cook and fill you up but have very little nutritional value. In conclusion, we have the gastronomic boom in a country where, although chronic childhood malnutrition has decreased, anemia indexes are still high. We don't eat less but but we eat badly

Confirming the above, Peruvian areas with a traditionally high consumption of quinoa, like Puno, have reported a shortage of the product. The Peruvian Society of Environmental Law blog reports that this is worrying, since Puno has 80% of the quinoa production in Peru, and adds [es]:

desde julio la región Puno sufre de escasez de quinua, debido al incremento de la demanda en más de 143% entre los años 2008 y 2012. Otro factor sería la promoción que se le ha dado a este producto en mercados importantes como China.

since July the Puno region has suffered from a shortage of quinoa due to the increased demand of more than 143% between the years 2008 and 2012. Another factor may be the promotion this product has been given in important markets like China.

Some citizens complain about the rise in price of quinoa in Peru, where Bolivian quinoa can be cheaper [es] than Peruvian kind:

And that will lower the price? :) RT @Capital967: Peruvian Pride: They declare quinoa a flagship product

Half a kilo (about one pound) costs 10 soles ($3.60 US dollars) on average – the price of quinoa is through the roof at the markets

Thanks @NadineHeredia for promoting quinoa. And for making the price rise unbelievably!!! Thanks? #OkNo

Finally, the website Carro de Combate shares an article [es] about the risks of the quinoa boom:

Ninguna moda, por muy ecológica o sostenible que pueda parecer, está exenta de riesgo. El consumo masivo puede traer consigo desequilibrios para las comunidades locales e impactos ecológicos, incluso si la planta que se cultiva es el “alimento de los dioses”.

Nothing which is in style, no matter how ecological or sustainable it may appear, is exempt from risk. Mass consumption may bring with it an imbalance for local communities and ecological impacts, even if the plant which is cultivated is the “food of the gods.”

Original post published in the blog Globalizado [es] by Juan Arellano.
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