Cusco’s barbed wire obsession

I thought barbed wire was for prisons and farms, but here in Cusco people have different ideas. Barbed wire is everywhere. Take a look…

barbed wire in Cusco

barbed wire

more useless barbed wire

I could take a hundred pictures like this within 2 blocks of our apartment. We live in the heart of the city, yet you see barbed wire everywhere, wrapped around fences, flower beds, gardens, etc.

At first I thought all the barbed wire in the city was a by-product of the huge migrations to the cities in Peru since the 1960s, with people bringing a lifestyle from the country to the city, but you frankly don’t see much barbed wire in the countryside in Peru. Most of the animals are herded and the lands are treated somewhat as community property.

So what gives, why is there so much useless barbed wire everywhere? I say “useless” because every last piece of barbed wire you see in the city is jerry-rigged in the poorest possible fashion, and none of it would even appear to keep any person or animal in or out.

Was there a big recall on Chinese barbed wire that someone down here got a good deal on? Or is it simply the middle-class in the cities paranoia about crime?

There’s definitely a fair amount of petty crime in the cities, but this barbed wire won’t stop any of that. If the powers-that-be were really interested in fighting petty crime, they could simply shut down the black markets where all the stolen goods are sold, like “Paraiso” and “Baratillo” in the Santiago district of Cusco.

At the end of the day, the barbed wire doesn’t stand out too badly because most of it is wrapped around regular hedges and fences where you won’t notice unless you’re looking, but when you have a baby who’s just starting to walk and grab everything, it’s certainly a nuisance. In fact, one time when we were at an elementary school in a small town, a young girl of about 9 or 10 who was playing a blindfold game ran into a barbed wire fence. That’s right, a barbed-wire fence, around a flowerbed, in a school !!!

I still have a 10″ scar on my left leg from running into a barbed wire in my hometown when I was about 8 or 10, so dumbassery certainly isn’t limited to Cusco, but I found the only piece of barbed wire in my town and ran into it… over here, it’s everywhere.

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