Palabras de Peru: Riqueza

Travelling throughout the city of Lima, I have come across several different ideas of wealth and economy.

A consensus of economy throughout history has only been in hopes of achieving. Ideologies of the definition of wealth has become a focal point of organizing and revolution throughout the beginning of Peru. Auditing a class on the History of the Andes before travelling to Peru, I learned that there were various political relationships and sometimes conflicts among Indigenous communities before the arrival of Spaniards. The primary interest in Western Exploration and migration to Peru derived from the interest in resources and land ownership. In that initial history to now, extraction of “resources” have been the foundations of Peruvian economic development. Mining has always been an industry that attracted controversy; first, from enslavement of Incan people then African peoples to perform forced labor in mines, and now, being the majority of causes for protest and rebellion throughout the nation.

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Fast forwarding to the present, I can’t help but compare the violent but very recent past of directly violent internal conflict and the rather silent and violent conflict with economy and wealth now. Ideologies of capitalism has seeped through the years and created oceans of distance between the wealthy and poor, urban and rural communities. They are not necessarily distant in their physical positions but distant in their abilities to compromise and understand.

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During our first visit with Cesar, I learned about the Saint, San Martin de Porres when visiting the San Martin Cathedral in the historical district of Lima. Learning that there is a saint, known for helping those in need, humbling himself to work and help those in need such as orphans, peoples of mixed-race and the poor, I had a strong curiosity in Peru in relationships to reciprocity and responsibility.

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Another significant moment that narrated a greater understanding of wealth, was visiting Chorrillos and speaking to Maestro Primativo. During his presentation of his tablo art, he spoke stories of Quechua people from wealthy classes. He told the class that the wealthy had a responsibility to take care of those that were not wealthy. They were held accountable by the community for distributing their wealth in feasts, support and abundance. The idea of wealth still had notations of being communal and not individual.

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