A loyal reader asked me to comment on the following video. From Melissa Peschiera at the Peruvian TV program “REPORTE SEMANAL”: CUSCO, LOS DE ARRIBA Y LOS DE ABAJO (“The haves and have nots of Cusco”):

It’s not a bad report, although it’s sensationalized as anything TV usually is. The report only takes 2 snapshots and leaves out the middle class, which is thriving in the city of Cuzco. Life in our middle-class neighborhood is nothing like either the partying tourists or rural poverty that is shown in the video.

As for the rural poverty, the longer I’m in Peru the more reluctant I’ve become to suggest that more money and material possessions equals a better way of life. Having said that, it is hard to comprehend how the South of Peru (especially the regions of Cuzco and Puno) can be so poor and with such bad infrastructure when so much tourist revenue is generated there. That has to be a failure of local authorities.

Much is said in the report about the popularity of Ollanta Humala in the South of Peru. On the surface it may seem that the rural poor support Ollanta Humala because they believe he offers them a way out of poverty. I’m not convinced of that. I think it has more to do with being able to associate with your leaders. The way of life of the market-oriented, neo-liberal ruling class in Lima during the last 10 years or so is completely foreign to the way of life of the rural poor as well as urban poor, and this in my opinion is the reason why the Peru presidential runoff is between Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala, the 2 candidates who represent the greatest perceived change.

What do you think?


  1. I think that people associate with Ollanta because neither can read or write very well. anyone slightly educated can see that. they just had to watch the debates. and those that arent educated dont know any better that the many knows nothing of government. he knows how to use a rifle and thats it. That doesnt sit well in my books. I almost want humala to be president. He can say all the poor will have land, house and bla bla bla. They eat it up! At best all this says is that the punenos and poor from where ever else can go to any city claim their crap land on some cerro and add to the pueblo jovenes. So what they have their land which doesnt have electricity nor water. its just going to create more problems and give them something else to complain about (no water, no elecetricity etc. and they’ll want that given to them for free). So its ok for that. they can come to the city where they wont work but can beg in the streets for change. The man is a joke. He wants to give them nothing better. I dont pity many of the poor. Not when they are capable of making and selling a damn tamale. Its just so much easier to beg for change and get handouts. No thanks.

  2. I’m am very happy to have stumbled onto this blog. I am coming to Cusco in less than two weeks and I have been terribly worried about the election and it’s possbile out comes. What I am worried about is how safe Cusco will be to travel to right after the election. What do you all say? Will we be okay?

    Secondly, if Ollanta wins do you all think the US will back a coup attempt? Several American politicians have come out to support Fujimori. Being caught down there during a coup is mostly what I am worried about.

  3. Hi Heidi and thanks for visiting my blog. I don’t think you have to worry about the election results in Peru at all. So far the campaigns have been very peaceful and generally uneventful.

    You never know about US politics, there’s typically more money than sense there, but I don’t think you need to worry about a coup or anything like that. At one point it was reported that current Peruvian President Alan Garcia had threatened a coup should Ollanta win, but he has denied that accusation.

    Long story short: enjoy your trip, you should have nothing to worry about.

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