Cusco – general strike pictures

There has been a lot of social unrest in Peru as of late, in particular in the provinces. The working class, the poor and indigenous people have been justifiably unhappy with the neo-liberal free-trade policies of the government in Lima. The worst unrest happened in Bagua last month, but there has been widespread social unrest all over Peru recently.

Here are some pictures of the general strike in Cusco today:

During strikes there are typically demonstrations by the main government buildings and the roads are often blocked. For example, there has been an ongoing dispute in Sicuani that caused temporary chicken shortages here in Cusco, since trucks were not able to come from Arequipa.

Here in Cusco social unrest is very mild. Thanks to the tourism industry the standard of living in Cusco is much different from in the rural areas. If you live in Cusco, the reality is that you should plan for about 5-10 extra days of vacation every year.

Finally, during strikes here in Cusco you see Peruvian police (PNP) standing by everywhere, in case, you know, an ice cream vendor comes by 🙂

Another demonstration in Cusco

Since we live in front of the Ministery of Labor and around the corner from the Ministery of Agriculture we see occasional demonstrations and street protests in front of our house. I usually have a hard time understanding the slogans the protesters are shouting, but I believe this morning the issue was around zoning and land use.

Here in Peru there is only mild civil unrest, the demonstrations are usually mellow and good-natured. Typically the demonstrators are organized labor or indigenous peasants, while the current government in Peru is center-right. Not meaning to get into politics, I will say that in my observations there is a great disconnect between the middle class / establishment and the poorer / rural populations.

I usually don’t venture out too much while the crowds are in front of our house, since I obviously don’t fit in with either the crowd or the riot police who are 4ft outside of our house. The pictures were taken from our yard.

I’m happy to report that my humble presence here has not been the cause of any civil unrest ;).