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?