Since December last year, Peru is experiencing an unprecedented wave of protests and an increase in state-backed violence. Discontent arose after President Pedro Castillo was deposed and replaced by his vice president, Dina Boluarte. Protests have taken place around the country calling for her resignation, but Boluarte has retaliated with hateful speech and a heavy-handed repression.
Hundreds of protestors continue to take to the streets in Capital Lima and the country’s south, notably in Puno, where locals are furious by decades of marginalisation, inequality, charges of corruption, and stagnant living conditions. At least 60 people have died as a result of the unrest – mainly in police violence.
The United Nations along with other human rights groups have called on the Peruvian government to investigate claims of excessive force used by police and soldiers during the protests. â€‹Numerous autopsies have ruled that the cause of death was attributable to a “firearm projectile,” further backing the allegation of the disproportionate use of lethal ammunition.
â€‹These protests have further thrown a spotlight on the issues of racism, classism, and centralism that have caused considerable fractures in the Peruvian society and have remained unresolved for decades. â€‹Amnesty International condemned the deadly and racially motivated violence used against protestors, noting that Indigenous and campesino people made up the overwhelming majority of those killed and gravely injured. â€‹
â€‹Atoq Ramon, a Peruvian photojournalist, captures this violent repression of nonviolent protesters. â€‹While filming demonstrations in Lima in 2017, he was hit in the eye by a rubber bullet fired by the police. The poem and accompanying photo-essay are a memorial of this ongoing upheaval in this South American nation.
desaparece el dolor, no la rabia
pienso en el tiempo, pienso en mis muertos
en el PerÃº y en mis sueÃ±os rotos
por una rÃ¡faga de perdigones
disparadas a mi cara.
una piedra en mi mano y una bala en mi cabeza.
la pesadilla de buscar justicia y encontrar horror.
pienso en el tiempo, pienso en mis muertos.
mis recuerdos son borrosos, pero no olvido.
tengo una herida abierta, que voy sanando con amor
ese es mi camino y esta es mi visiÃ³n.
fuego que arde e ilumina, fuego transformador.
The pain disappears, but not the rage
I think about time, I think about my dead
in the Peru of my broken dreams
by a burst of pellets
shot in my face.
a rock in my hand and a bullet in my head.
the nightmare of searching for justice and finding horror.
I think about time, I think about my dead.
my memories are blurry, but I do not forget.
I have an open wound, which I am healing with love
That is my path and this is my vision
Fire that burns and enlightens, transformative fire.