Mar 20, 2023|
Last updated on June 21st, 2023 at 07:07 am
Can we travel to Peru again?
Updated 21st of June, 2023
Yes! And we would like to explain why this not just temporary.
First of all, the government completed negotiations with those that have influence in the region around Machu Picchu.
Second, alternatives abound, not only visiting Machu Picchu on another day.
You may be asking yourself: what happened? Let us explain as seen by the locals. For that we need to look at the background:
Machu Picchu lies in one of the poorest regions of Peru, tourism notwithstanding. The President comes from this area, and he was a descendent of the indigenous population. As a teacher, he stood for leftist ideas – although he was rather pragmatic in politics.
The Peruvian constitution is built around the idea of checks and balances only between Parliament and the President. When he saw Parliament as an obstruction to his policies of improving the living conditions in the poorest regions, he tried to dissolve it. In response, the Parliament ousted the President on the grounds of alleged corruption and, consequently, the Vice President stepped in.
The view in the Andean region of Peru’s South is different: There, he – now former President Pedro Castillo – is seen as having been ousted because he was not one of the Peruvian elite. This unleashed an outrageous attempt by the elite to perpetuate the income inequality between the 11 Million Limeños (people of Lima) and the 22 Million Peruvians living in rural areas.
The fact is that the countryside and especially the area of the Southern Peruvian Andes, where Cusco is the largest city, has been even poorer. One has to see, however, that the area has not been neglected by the governments. The number show continuous improvement of all economic indicators, like income, schooling, housing, hospitals and accessibility (paved roads that can be used year round). It is also true that Lima is growing faster than other parts of Peru, due to private investments in the country’s capital. The rest of the country is mainly dependent on public funds, which comes as no surprise, following years of receiving public money and other official handouts. People see and perceive their area as being neglected. Castillo, the now former President, promised to do a lot more for his neglected home area.
People him wish him back. Although constitutionally, the handover has been legal. And the Vice-President turned President Dina Boluarte even has the same ethnic background, and speaks the local indigenous language!
So why can we travel to Machu Picchu again?
The government says it has negotiated terms with the protesters, which is unlikely. The protesters are not organized. There were, however, financiers paying the travel and flight costs of the protesters to Lima. And with those people in the background, the authorities in Cusco province could talk and negotiate. Cusco depends heavily on tourism. There is almost no other source of income. People who were seeking better conditions, lost work and income because of the strikes. Therefore going back to work is essential. It was a surprise to see that the strike lasted as long as it did, despite this fact.
Should the train line – the only way to get to the citadel – from Cusco to Machu Picchu get blocked again, the military is there and prepared now until Peru can elect the next President. These elections will be held earlier than foreseen by the constitution. Earlier elections were a main demand. The turbulence came down for that reason and the general feeling that locals are being talked to and no longer ignored.
As we know now in June 2023, sadly, not much has happened. The promised early elections now might be held in 2024. Roughly one year later than many had hoped. But, people are back at work and earn the money they need. As we said before, the president also has roots in the Andes and works more than many predecessors to improve the lives of the indigenous groups of the mountains. But the main reason for the calm is, that people kind of forgot, that the excitement is gone.
We must hope, that nothing happens to the dislike of the people that could make unrest erupt again!