The earthquake And The vultures
By Hugo Blanco
21 August, 2007
the earthquake of 1950 in Cuzco, I collaborated as a volunteer as part
of the system of aid that had been established: my task was to register
those who had lost their homes and their necessities. At first we were
received with affection, yet the more we advanced in our work, the more
the hostility increased. The people would burst out saying "You
have registered us 10 times and yet we have received nothing!"
This was true, national and
international aid was being eaten up by the vultures of the official
When the earthquake hit Ancash
in 1977, being in prison at the time, I found out that the same thing
Now, it seems that the same
thing is occurring, the vultures of the official bureaucracy are fattening
themselves off the pain of the victims, rejoicing about the large amounts
of national and international aid that is arriving.
The toll from the last earthquake,
on top of the 500 dead and more than 1.500 thousand injured: 45,000
houses affected; 250,000 left homeless.
Firstly, I would like to
point out that it is not true that natural disasters affect both rich
and poor equally. The rich do not live in precarious housing made of
adobe, which were the ones that collapsed. The rich have enough money
to leave the zone and have somewhere to go.
It is the poor population
from the affected zones, along with those from the isolated hamlets,
who are the ones who are suffering without housing, without water, without
electricity, with dead people to bury, with unattended injured, without
money to buy food whose prices have increased tenfold.
It is true that they have
received the promise of the president of the republic that "no
one will die of hunger!", but as we know, in all aspects, Alan
Garcia continues with his electoral campaign promises that have not
been implemented. Three days after the earthquake, despite the large
amount of aid that is coming from the within the country and outside,
the majority of the people continue without having received anything.
The victims, desperate because
of the cries of hunger and thirst of their children, have begun to loot
warehouses responsible for the quadrupled prices of products, and vehicles
that pass by, brimming with food in front of the eyes of the hunger
We can see in an image published
on the front page of "El Comercio" of Lima, a father with
five fish taken out of a truck belonging to a large company, with the
newspaper pronouncing his efforts to feed his children as "unjustifiable".
The police officers in charge
of "guarding order" in many opportunities do not intervene.
On other occasions, they truly "guarded order", organising
the handing out of products that they themselves distribute. We send
them our warmest greetings, we know just as well as they do that they
will be punished by there superiors, we admire the flourishing of human
solidarity in there hearts.
Rather than speeding up the
handing over of aid, the measure the government has taken has been to
send repressive forces to avoid attacks against trucks belonging to
companies which transport food.
We recommend to those who
are donating that they directly watch over the destiny of their donations.
Those who can utilise the route of some NGOs should do so, in general
they are guaranteed routes. What is certain is that the governmental
route is full of vultures who will devour the large part of the aid.
In passing, we should mention
that the services of the telephone company, whose servant is the government
of Alan Garcia, and which collapsed in a criminal formation after the
earthquake, naturally remains unpunished.
Hugo Blanco :Historic
leader of the revolutionary left and the Campesino Confederation of
Translated by Federico Fuentes,
Green Left Weekly
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