Protecting Parque Castilla?

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If you live in Lima you are well aware that the city suffers from a serious shortage of green areas – just *3.7 square meters per person*. This is far short of the World Health Organisation’s recommendation of 9 square meters per person. Parks like Mariscal Ramón Castilla in Lince are literally a breath of fresh air for Limeños from all parts of the city.

As a newcomer here in 2010, I fell in love with this park and its *unique character* and in 2011 my Peruvian husband and I decided to move nearby. On any given day you could see senior citizens practicing tai chi; teenagers breakdancing or doing K-Pop routines; younger children playing football or riding bikes, scout meetings at the weekend and people of all ages dancing salsa on Saturday evenings. The fact that the park was so open and diverse and that you could even sit on the grass (not always a given in Lima!) only added to its charm.

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_Logo of #DefiendeLaCastilla (Photo courtesy of author)_

However in 2015 I began to notice some unwelcome changes: the bike track and open spaces where I used to take my nephew to play had been closed off and taken over by a private company called *Future Park*. This year I became aware of Lince Municipality’s new Ordinance 376-2016-MD which prohibits ‘active recreation’ (Article 15, e) and ‘crowds’ (Article 15, h) under the pretext of protecting the park. My neighbors and I decided to organize and investigate

Since Ordinance 376-2016-MD has come into effect, the Municipality has been *quite aggressive* in its mission to prevent ‘active recreation’. On Saturday, August 20, approximately 5 patrol cars, 20 security guards and a police officer were deployed to stop a free salsa class which had been running on Saturday nights for 7 years with full knowledge of the Municipality.

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_(Photo courtesy of author)_

The Municipality has been strangely silent on whether Future Park’s amusement rides, the new climbing wall and the Municipality’s own recreational activities constitute a danger to the park. Many neighbors like myself are happy to pay our local taxes to maintain the park but wonder why the Municipality is intent on granting concessions to private companies and reducing the public’s access to open spaces.

On Saturday, September 10, the group _Lince: Devuelvan el Parque Castilla_ a las Personas is planning a *picnic protest* that will begin at noon. We intend to go out and spend the afternoon in our park, dance, play, read, chat with friends and generally enjoy this public space with friends and family. Lince Municipality has hurriedly planned its own events for this day (including free entry to the amusements in an effort to improve its image). Please come and enjoy the park with us on September 10. Let’s defend Lima’s public spaces!

*Parque Mariscal Ramón Castilla*
Lince, Lima, Peru
Contact: defiendeelcastilla@gmail.comGreen areas in the public park are now being closed off due to an ordinance prohibiting ‘active recreation’. What’s going on, Lima?

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