“No Thanks” to Donation for Memorial Museum

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IPS
Blanca Rosales

Heduardo, one of the most scathing caricaturists in the Peruvian press, published a cartoon showing President Alan García more interested in a "museum of amnesia" than a proposed "museum of memory."

The cartoonist was one of the first to lash out at the government’s decision to turn down a two million dollar donation offered by Germany for the construction of a museum to commemorate the victims of the political violence that ravaged Peru from 1980 to 2000.

The proposed memorial museum would have helped Peruvians remember the two decades of armed conflict between the Maoist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas and government forces, which left nearly 70,000 dead, according to the 2003 report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR).

As the criticism mounted, government officials felt compelled to respond. Defence Minister Ántero Flores Aráoz told a press conference that the donation could be used in the fight against poverty, to build health posts or schools.

Prime Minister Yehude Simon, who spent years in prison on charges of terrorism under the Alberto Fujimori regime (1990-2000), said the government could ask to use the funds for support for the survivors of the political violence, and for social programmes.

People’s Defender (ombudswoman) Beatriz Merino, however, regretted that Germany’s offer was turned down, and urged that the decision be reviewed.

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