Monday, 8 June 2009

A Note on the Current Violence in Peru

I'm deliberately not commenting because I don't feel like I am well-informed enough to have anything to add. Like everyone else, I'm following Inca Kola News on this one.

Just a few points to pull out now:

Fernando Rospigliosi:
The carnage of the last few days has no comparison and will, without doubt, mark the second government of Alan García the way that the prison massacres were a reference point of his first government (...).
Yes, yes, yes.
(from Huanca York Times via IKN)

The tactics being used right now are similar to classic police-state governments: disinform, misinform, deflect, blame a bugbear or two and then rouse the rabble with fiery, polemic rhetoric. García's speech yesterday will be defined as "defiant" by supporters, but it was laden with things such as "600,000 natives have to answer to 28 million Peruvians". In García's world, natives aren't Peruvians.

This has been an issue in Peru for many years, particularly embodied in Mario Vargas Llosa's use of the term 'Peru profundo' ('deep Peru'). The phrase originates from Peruvian historian Jorge Basadre - but his distinction was between the legal state and the state as composed of its people. But for Vargas Llosa, the division is between 'modern' Peru and 'archaic', backward Peru - the indigenous.* Logically from this position, the part of the nation that has been 'left behind' needs to be persuaded, educated, or forced to join the rest. Such a view can only lead to continued racism and contributed to the horrendous price paid by the indigenous population during the 1980s and 1990s. Apparently it's not a view that Garcia has left behind.

* See for example Making Indigenous Citizens or Rereading Cultural Anthropology.


mattheil said...

It's 2 belgians returning from the scene and giving a talk in belgium unfort IN Belgium on Fri 12.

They were mainly the ones who provided these photos

An at least interesting 17 minutes film piece (though not clearing up everything) broadcast last Sunday on Canal 2, Punto Final programme

Teil 1:
Teil 2:

Thomas (one of the belgians) pops up in that piece. crazy action if you ask me.

Lillie Langtry said...

Thanks Matt.

mattheil said...

Discovered this book recently "The Colonial Divide in Peruvian Narrative" which has a chapter on Vargas Llosa: "Mario Vargas Llosa writes of(f) the Native: Cultural Herterogeneity and Neoliberal Modernity",M1

Lillie Langtry said...

Vargas Llosa has said some gobsmacking stuff in his time, nothing surprises me anymore.