Updates: CVR and BNP

It has been quite festive in Lima during the holiday weekend. I’ve been busy visiting the CVR archive, which I will now take a step back from. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I’ve narrowed down my focus to Raucana and Huaycan. Two very different urban projects. Last week I spent some time reading testimonies and interviews from the CVR. An interesting find is that the culprit behind the violence in majority of the testimonies is the military and police. Technically it is not surprising, in the case of the Raucana, the inhabitants lived a ten-year military occupation as opposed to a one-year Sendero occupation. However, they are remembered as “Red Zones,” identified as Sendero territory. Both sides were responsible, as were other groups such as the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru and the paramilitary group Comando Rodrigo Franco.

On Tuesday, I had the chance to read through two case files for the investigations of two assassinations by Sendero. The files were thick, and luckily, I obtained digital copies. These included the long interrogations of suspects by DINCOTE, the government’s anti-terrorism organization. The questions were very systematic, as were some of the answers. Many of those questioned had already been accused of being terrorists, and even served time. And yet, they continued to deny being terrorists. “Traitors” is one of the labels on the paperwork, which is ironic considering the state was not taking the country’s needs into its priorities (One corrupt leader after another…just look at the country now). One specific example of the interrogations was about weapons and propaganda found buried in a man’s backyard. The man claimed he had not acquired them, but that some individuals had left them in his home. Out of fear, he had buried them.

One of the case files I obtained was the CVR’s investigation of Pascuala Rosado’s assassination. Rosado was a local activist and politician in Huaycan, working on women’s issues, as well as neighborhood improvement projects. Her platform and exposure made her an easy target for Sendero. The case file, in addition to the interrogations, also includes a wide array of newspaper and magazine clippings. These prove very helpful, as I plan to revisit some of them in the Hemeroteca of the Biblioteca Nacional (BNP).

Last Friday, following up on a few contact recommendations, I visited the BNP searching for the Alfonso Barrantes collection. This fairly large collection was found on the rare books room on the fourth floor. Although some of Barrantes’ papers were not organized in the most efficient way, his collection seems like a promising place to start. Barrantes was the major f Lima during the mid-1980s. His socialist policies helped start several welfare programs such as Vaso de Leche, which changed the character of several shanty towns. Additionally, Barrantes and his party, Izquierda Unida (IU), were at the forefront of the Huaycan project.

My last update is from Wednesday, when I met with a current community leader from Comas. While a very informal meeting, it deserves a post of its own.

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