Privatized Cusco ?

Important movements of protests marked the beginning of the year 2008 in Peru, in particular in the region of Cusco, tourist and archaeological capital of South America, in reaction to a series of laws, adopted in December, 2007, concerning the privatization of the Peruvian cultural heritage. gives today the word to an archaeologist of Cusco, Raúl del Mar Ismodes, about these new measures. Let us listen to him :

The fight of Andean peoples for the defence of the cultural heritage of Peru

The wealth of the Material and Immaterial Cultural heritage of the Peruvian Nation possesses singular peculiarities, notably in the monumental character of its vestiges as well as in the smaller archaeological installations. The arrangement and the management of these cultural rests of the inca civilization, as well as their preservation and their protection, are very delicate and complex to operate.

Movements of protests at Cusco
February 21st, the people of Cusco goes down the streets to shout his refusal to see the national heritage falling into the hands big national and international groups of tourism.
(Photo: Raúl del Mar Ismodes, February, 2008)

In this globalized world the economic capitalism of the big tourist monopolies is at present interested very close in the rich cultural heritage of Peru, through a series of laws which authorize the concession of surfaces neigh boring to this cultural heritage. The law N° 29164 and the Law N° 29167, strike a blow at the authenticity of the immovable properties as well as at their immediate environment. Both are integral parts of this cultural heritage and constitute the elements of the cosmovision of the Andean world.

These disastrous laws are unconstitutional, because they ignore that the State is itself an agent of the cultural heritage of the nation. In this sense the people of Cusco reaffirmed, by the fight, his( constant attachment for the protection and the preservation of his cultural identity. It is the reason for which the people of Cusco recently mobilized, through a protest march and the participation of more than hundred thousand protesters. Cusco was so completely paralyzed.

Movements of protests at Cusco
In real heir of the Sons of the Sun, it is really the people of Cusco who comes down in the street to defend its historic and archaeological inheritance. Here, in foreground, quechuas farmers…
(Photo: Raúl del Mar Ismodes, February, 2008)

The people of Cusco, represented by his Regional Assembly, push away categorically the privatization of the immovable properties of his cultural heritage. This law, which has its own name -"Privatization of the Cultural heritage of Cusco"-, was approved on December 20th, 2007, taking advantage that the Peruvians were getting ready to celebrate the birth of the little child Jesus. From this date, the people of Cusco was in a constant fight so that these laws are overruled by the Congress of the Republic of Peru. For that purpose, they approved a regional strike on February 7th, 2008, which was one of the most important popular demonstrations that the city had known for the defence of its heritage. The strike paralyzed all the region of Cusco.


Movements of protests at Cusco
… But also official personalities. Here, in the center left of the image, Mr. Marina Sequeiros, Mayor of Cusco. And in his left, Mr. Hugo Gonzales Sayán, President of the regional Government of the department of Cusco.
(Photo: Raúl del Mar Ismodes, February, 2008)

These actions of protests aimed at the fact that the Congress of the Republic overrules this series of laws. But, as it was necessary to expect it, the big National and international Lobbies of tourism looked by all the means to prevent this abrogation. So, the Congress finally realized only some symbolic modifications, to the detriment of the inhabitants of Cusco, changing not at all either the sense or the spirit of these disastrous laws of privatization. In reaction to these false improvements, the people of Cusco again mobilized to obtain the pure and simple abrogation of these laws facilitating certain groups trans national of tourism for example for the construction of hotels and restaurants five stars in the heart of historic zones, symbols of the Andean civilization.


Movements of protests at Cusco
On February 22nd, 2008, hundreds of persons meet Plaza de Armas to say no to the privatization of the archaeological heritage of Cusco.
(Photo: Raúl del Mar Ismodes, February, 2008)

Citizens' large number wonder about the reasons of such laws which so infringe in the foundations of the Peruvian identity. Because he continues to steer in the back of the people, the centralism of Lima, with his bureaucrats, continues to offend the intelligence of the Peruvians, having declared that the cusquenian people could not understand the spirit of these disastrous laws. So the power continues to look with indifferent eyes at these mobilizations of the people, mentioning that they were the fact only of some individuals' hundreds.


The Peruvian archaeologist Raúl del Mar Ismodes and his wife, Neyda
In front of the church of the Compaña, the Peruvian archaeologist Raúl del Mar Ismodes and his wife, Neyda, participate actively in the movement of protest.
(Photo: Raúl del Mar Ismodes, February, 2008)

The insults against the cusquenian people, according to which we would be "terrorists", bring the citizens of Cusco to react. We are defenders of our cultural identity. The homeland is not sold. It is necessary to defend our cultural heritage. The cultural heritage is not vulgar one the goods. Then who has the reason and who is wrong ? This neoliberal government of extreme-right and its crazy running in the privatizations any azimuth, either organized people who tries only to defend his heritage and to demonstrate that his cultural identity is not for sale ?

And why also not to privatize Machu Picchu ? That they privatize Chan Chan also ! That we privatize the Chapel Sixtine or the Parthenon ! That we privatize the Andes Cordillera ! That we privatize the sea, the water and the air ! That we privatize the justice and the law ! That the State privatizes ! That we privatize everything !

Raúl del Mar Ismodes,

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