I have a memory that I would like to share with you. It took place around the 1980´s when I visited my parents here in Peru but was still residing in the States: The country was in shambles, a state of terror, power outages due to the bombing of power grids, strict curfews and the presence of the army on the streets, giving the city of Lima a feeling of danger, terror, and uncertainty. I remember how people would walk around the streets with fear on their faces.
Those were the days when radical movements had taken over the country slowly but surely, and they had spread like a Cancer throughout our society. The Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement aka (MRTA) and the group known as The Shining Path.
Both of these radical, extremists and ferociously criminal groups created havoc among our country for quite a few years. They identified with Marxist, Maoist leftist ideology and philosophy and had one primary goal; to reform the Peruvian government and create a society in which ownership of property was shared and everyone enjoyed similar levels of prosperity. I really don´t want to go into the analysis and history of how and why this phenomenon happened because I do not want to even validate such a conviction and ideology and the ways in which these people decided to bring about their radical changes.
The idea behind this article is to tap into people's awareness about the dangers of the past and to point out that if we don't remain watchful, we could be facing this situation once again and this would definitely harm any positive growth that this country has achieved in the past twenty years.
Let me explain; new and masked movements are coming along these days, such as MOVADEF for example, and in my opinion, they are as radical as they come. This is a whole new generation of Peruvians who have a growing resentment against the system, the government, and our society and that won´t think twice about attempting violent and terrorist actions in the future. Not long ago, around Labor day if I'm not mistaken, there was one of those so-called rallies about asking to free many of the terrorist leaders from those days, calling them political prisoners, portraying them as heroes. A couple of things shocked me; first, a number of people showed up to this meeting, of all ages and gender, and second, a complete lack of reaction from the authorities who instead of breaking up this advocacy for terrorism activity, simply watched and even shielded them. I think freedom of speech was completely taken out of context in this particular case. I assume that the Interior Minister Mr. Basombrio will have a good explanation for this decision when he faces questioning from the Congress sometime soon.
I'm aware that we have an intelligence agency that monitors or is supposed to monitor these types of activities. But honestly, I'm a little concerned about the relaxed attitude from our authorities. Another area in Peru that has turned into a no man’s land is a placed called VRAEM which is located in the Apurimac Valleys and it is, in my opinion, a focus for the rebirth of terrorist movements in Peru. This is an extremely poor area where drug cartels and the Shining Path believers populate.
I'm a firm believer of preventive measures and especially after seeing so many warning signs, I'm quite concerned. Meanwhile, our government is too busy with their own internal affairs surrounded by scandals of corruption that don´t seem to have an end to it. Who is watching what´s going on at the San Marcos University for example and looking over the curricula of what´s being taught there? So many young Peruvians may be on the verge of becoming radicalized by these so-called Professors. Back in the 80's no one thought that this could happen but it did. Being in denial could be quite catastrophic. Let´s learn our lesson from our horrible past.
Fernando Calle is a Peruvian-born, American citizen who has lived in the USA for over 25 years. He is a Cardiovascular Technologist and Sleep Disorder Specialist, having worked for Baptist Health Systems (Florida, USA) where he held the position as Chief Technologist of the Respiratory Disorders Department. After having worked for his own companies (Sleep Services of South Florida and Total Health Diagnostics, also in South Florida), he currently resides in Lima, Peru on a new quest as an English Teacher. Holds the ELT, FCE, and ECPE (Cambridge-Michigan) international certificates. Also offer advanced English level courses for business, English Law, Technical English. He can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected] www.engforpros.com