The North Star Project, 2013 Summer Report Number Thirty-Five -- Lima, Peru, Peru te quiero, por eso te defiendo/ Peru I love you, that is why I defend you
By Pamela Hartley Pinto
Lima, Peru, “Perú te quiero, por eso te defiendo/ Peru I love you, that is why I defend you”
Turmoil in the Peruvian Congress
Corruption unfortunately is not a foreign word to a Peruvian. Corruption has been part of our government as long as I can remember and is a major part of the political history of the country.
Peru has a booming economy, it is growing and it is constantly developing into a modern and stable, in the most loosely defined sense of the term ‘stable’ However, many aspects of the country are not moving forward and one of these is the permanent issue of corruption, creating instability and discontent amongst the citizens who now more than ever are fighting for Peru.
In these times of struggle and political instability, Peru remembers the hard times it has been through and how it has overcome many hardships. Peru celebrates today a weekend of independence, democracy and freedom. Peru declared its independence from Spain on July 28th 1821, today it celebrates this triumph and remembers all the obstacles that made this nation stronger.
As Peru celebrates its independence, the citizens also unite and gather to demand a better and less corrupt government. In this week of independence, several strikes and political demonstrations have taken place. Citizens have united to speak up for their rights and have demanded transparency and accountability from the government. The streets of the main square were filled with people chanting and screaming, “Peru te quiero, por eso te defiendo which roughly translates to Peru I love you, that is why I defend you. Something characteristic about these protests was that the young people of Peru are now speaking up and taking a stance for a change that they not only want but also need.
Thousands of people, mainly young citizens and key organizations such as the National Human Rights Defense Coordination, gathered in front of the congress to protest about “La Repartija” This refers to a political arrangement created by the government to benefit its own representatives. It is an unfair, corrupt, biased and unrepresentative election of government officials for this upcoming term. Officials were elected based on party favorites instead of being chosen for what they could bring to the table. A couple of examples of these poor choices include the public defender, head of the constitutional tribunal and head of the central reserve bank. All of which are key positions in the country.
People are protesting because the government is not acknowledging the demands of the average citizen. The political atmosphere that surrounds the capital city of Lima is not one that promotes trust or transparency, instead the government projects uncertainty and instability. As the people walked through the main square, police officers and military itself tried to contain the until then peaceful protest with tear gas. This invasive action by the police shifted the entire protest into a chaotic scene where several people were arrested. At the end of the protest, many highlighted that the protest was not only about the “repartija”, it also represented the degrading manner in which politics have been taking place in Peru.
Protests like these are not uncommon in Peru, or in any other country in fact. However, in times celebration and regard for national pride and unity, protests of this sort tend to become a trending topic to emphasize that the people do not agree with the political aspect of the country. It is important to highlight that a well-established democracy is created from political, economic and social balance. The government must respect the autonomy of different social groups. Instead, today, Peru’s government is creating great polarization amongst its political entities. Peruvians are demanded a united front, we want a stable democracy, a government that is truly representative of all the citizens, not just the elected few.
Peru has come a long way, but it is more than evident that there is still a long road laying ahead. Now more than ever the people of Peru expect more from the government, more from the country itself. Peru has a lot to offer, and its people know this more than anyone. The expectation from the people first and foremost is to have a decent government, which includes a decent power.
Picture credit: Francesca Chacon and Giancarlo Castro.
For all of the North Star Project Summer Reports, see HERE
The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Summer Reports.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
This summer we will re-tool and re-design the collaborative program, drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This summer The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here throughout the summer, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, June, 2013
(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 6, Spring, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal's not-for-profit educational open-access policy.