Peru TravelBlog 08 Index

2.22.08 Paró (Strike) in Cusco

I had tears in my eyes today watching the people of Cusco. It was the second day in a row that there was paró. Most of the town of Cusco was on strike, businesses were closed, taxis were nowhere to be found, no busses going anywhere.

The people were in the streets making their voices heard. The picture below gives an idea of the issue. On this wall, most of the signs were in Spanish, but there was a section in English and they will explain what is going on.

The signs are transcribed below.

The signs say:

"Please put up with our protest and try to understand we are doing this for the future wellbeing of Cusco."

"Everyone in the government are massive liars and official thieves of the state."

"Privatization in Chile is only %49 foreign investment. In Peru there is no official percentage of foreign investment."

"Reason for strike. Government has passed a law allowing large hotel
chains to build close to archeological sites like Machu Picchu."

"The government are doing everything from Lima without consulting local government or thinking of the effects here in Cusco."

"The government must consult with the people, after all, the natural resources belong to them."

"The corrupt APRA government receive huge bribes from big hotel corporations to pass these unjust laws."

Here is an article about the Paró in Spanish for those of you who know the language: Cusco paró para defender su patrimonio

For an English translation, check out this page.

So I was watching the protestors and taking some pictures and a group stopped in front of me. A couple of women motioned me to join them.

I guess this is a good time for me to mention that I don't really look like your typical tourist. In fact, I find the way that some Peruvian women
carry their day-to-day loads very appealing so I have taken on their custom. From Musi I have earned the nickname, Mamacha Cobre.

Below is a self portrait I did upon arriving home today so you would have an idea of how I travel through the streets of Peru.

I am almost speechless about the reception I receive. I am accepted into this Peruvian family by so many people that I encounter. Heads are often turning, people pointing me out to their friends as I pass by. I look them in the eyes, young and old and greet them, sometimes with the wrong time of day, like buenas dias when it's really buenos tardes. We smile together and they feel my heart and I theirs. It is a very special feeling to not be afraid, to not hide and to communicate with the bit of Spanish that I can speak.

I didn't expect to feel so comfortable and to be able to talk with people as much as I have been. Willingness, it counts for a lot. The people here respond to my willingness. Conversations happen. Most of the time, I can get my message across with my simple vocabulary and descriptive gestures. I am having countless wonderful encounters.

This blog should give you an idea of where in the world I am today and what is happening here.

The view from the inside. As I marched with the people, I thought, what am I doing? Well, they invited me so I guess I'm sposed to be here.

check out las mujeres, my inspiration