Peru: Entry 2

25 October 2002: Huaraz, Peru

Subject: Peru

Unreset in Huaraz

We've had an interesting few days here in Huaraz - there has been a bit of a civil war going on, though it doesn't seem to have been noticed by the rest of Peru let alone the world.

We came here on the overnight bus from Lima. When we got here it didn't seem odd that everything was shut: it was six in the morning after all. But it slowly became apparent that our bus was the last one to make it in to town before the roads were barracaded.

There are several huge mines outside Huaraz, and it seems that the people here think they should get more government spending because of them. I'm not particularly sympathetic: why should a town somewhere else have less good schools just because it isn't built on mineral-rich rocks?

Anyway, various groups including the peasants from the surrounding countryside and the local students have been taking it in turns to cause trouble. This isn't the first time they've done it. For two days the roads were blocked with stones, burning tyres and a few freshly-dead dogs to make it extra-unpleasant. A few shop windows got broken, encouraging the others to stay shut and put up pro-protestor placards. (We did just about manage to find something to eat.)

I have seen no mention of this in the Peruvian press. They are totally obsessed with their president's illegitimate daughter, and have reported virtually nothing else since we've been here.

Anyway, there are supposed to be some lovely mountains nearby, but we have seen nothing of them so far. If these people don't like the mine, they had better start making the place a bit more attractive to tourists, since that must be their second most likely source of money. They can't expect many people to turn up if they keep this up.

Things have started to get a bit more normal today, so hopefully we'll be able to get out and actually do something soon. If we can get up into the mountains with a tent it doesn't matter what's going on down here.