Peru's Growing Social Activism ; Groups That Champion Women, Human Rights, and Other Causes Find a New Voice in Post-Fujimori Era

By Howard LaFranchi writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, January 5, 2001 | Go to article overview

Peru's Growing Social Activism ; Groups That Champion Women, Human Rights, and Other Causes Find a New Voice in Post-Fujimori Era


Howard LaFranchi writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


The calm of a quiet Sunday morning was broken at the main square of this Andean mountain city by a parade of university students.

Dressed in costume, students blew whistles and chanted "Where are they?" - the question that across Latin America refers to civilians who "disappeared" during past anti-subversion campaigns.

The colorful street theater - calling for the public to participate in a human rights rally - is part of a resurgence of citizen participation in public affairs across Peru.

From an increasingly pluralistic press and growing numbers of community organizations to these recent demonstrations in the town that gave birth to the Maoist Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) movement, Peruvians are breaking the silence they largely kept for the past two decades.

What the fear engendered by the Shining Path terrorist group in the 1980s didn't do to squelch an emerging civil society, Peruvian analysts say, the authoritarian rule of Alberto Fujimori over the past decade did. International rights and development organizations had come to speak of the Andean "sandwich" - a backward Peru sandwiched between Ecuador and Bolivia, two countries with more- vibrant citizen participation.

But all that changed over recent months - starting with the April presidential election, when the public perceived that Mr. Fujimori resorted to widespread fraud to hold on to power.

"The first round of the election was such a catalyst for public involvement that it took everyone by surprise," says Enver Quinteros, a history student at Ayacucho's San Cristobal de Huamanga University, where Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman once taught philosophy. "People were inching back before, but I see that date as the rebirth of student involvement."

Mr. Quinteros, now involved in human rights issues and student discussion groups on "rebuilding Peru's democratic institutions," fondly recalls the day after the first round. Many Peruvians believe opposition candidate Alejandro Toledo won, but official results showed Fujimori leading with just under 50 percent and thus requiring a runoff.

"About 30 students decided we had to do something, so we carried a coffin marked 'democracy' around the central square," he says. And to their surprise, hundreds of Ayacuchans came out to watch, many indicating their support.

"There's a growing desire to participate," says Ernesto de la Jara Basombrio, director of Ideele, a legal defense institute in Lima. "People want something other than manipulation from their political leaders."

For years, Peruvians learned to associate democracy with terrorism, violence, and corruption, Mr. de la Jara says. "But all that has changed very quickly." He cites the example of Ayacucho, where long lists of citizens signed up this year to run for public office.

To some observers, the participation rebirth is all the more surprising in Ayacucho. The stark Andean province was the region hardest hit by the Shining Path violence. It became a bastion of support for Fujimori when he smashed the terrorist organization, and he then poured in millions of dollars for infrastructure work and public-assistance programs.

But ironically, it was Fujimori himself who planted the seeds of the participation renaissance, analysts say. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Peru's Growing Social Activism ; Groups That Champion Women, Human Rights, and Other Causes Find a New Voice in Post-Fujimori Era
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.