24 May 2013
Category : Opinion
Reflections on Peru
Lima has left a good taste in the mouth. This is reflected in the interviews, news items, videosand different communication materialsthat the Forum has generated, with others yet to arrive, and which are available in the different communication channels of FIIAPPand EUROsociAL. Enrique Martínez, head of communication of EUROsociAL (Click here to see the interview)
But, in addition, it inspires other reflections, perhaps best considered here, of a personal and professional nature, individual and collective, from continent-wide to local:
- Latin America and Europe improve each other, they need to work together, but in addition to doing so through new communication technologies, it is vital to meet face to face, converse and listen to each other.
- Peru. The week of the Forum coincided with the World Economic Forum for Latin America, just over two kilometres from us. However, it was Repsol and its possible purchase by the Peruvian government that made headlines. It was front-page news for three consecutive days in El Comercio, the newspaper of reference in Peru. Economic growth also occupied many column inches, given the current positive situation in Peru. This was very much in evidence in Lima, with its bustling streets, its new constructions and its excellent services. For the organisation of its Annual Forum, EUROsociAL turned to three local providers (Hotel Sol de Oro, Tres Mitadesand Lima Tours), which understood our needs and worked in coordination with each other.
In chats over a cup of coffee or a glass of pisco, frequent themes were prudence regarding growth and the concern about the dependency on mineral resources. The challenge is there, and human capital is very valuable.
- Cuzco, a tourist centre of worldwide fame, teeming with people eager to see Machu Pichu, Aguas Calientes, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Moras, Moray, the Sacred Valley, etc. In this spectacular setting, there are still considerable pockets of poverty despite the considerable demand for labour and the great number of people passing through throughout the year, bringing their foreign currencies with them. It reminds me of the words of Eduardo Steinwhen he was Vice-President of Guatemala, who recognised the immense difficulty of reaching extreme poverty, a phrase which we also heard in the Course on the 4th Master Planat the Diplomatic School. After 10 years in cooperation through a government agency, an international development body, a DNGOand a regional programme of the EU, we continue to ask ourselves the same question.
At this point, I feel I need to mention some names of people without whom these two weeks would not have been the same: Katia, Melisa, Luis, Verónica, Diego, Jayki, Johana, Lorena, Vanesa, Eduardo, Natalia, Michelle, Franca, Alejandro, Rosana, Blanca, Patricia, Martha, Anny, Carlos, Liliana, Liz, Gisela. Many thanks to each and every one of you.
Speaking of good tastes, they are to be found everywhere in Lima, in every restaurant of every city of a country with an indescribable gastronomy… or perhaps just the opposite.
And, to end, an evocation of Lima and what is considered one of the best openings to a novel (Conversation in the Cathedral, by Mario Vargas Llosa), which I read to myself, in a low voice, right there on that Avenue:
“From the doorway of La Crónica Santiago looks at the Avenida Tacna without love: cars, uneven and faded buildings, the gaudy skeletons of posters floating in the mist, the gray midday. At what precise moment had Peru fucked itself up? The newsboys weave in and out among the vehicles halted by the red light on Wilson, hawking the afternoon papers, and he starts to walk slowly toward Colmena. His hands in his pockets, head down, he goes along escorted by people who are also going in the direction of the Plaza San Martín. He was like Peru, Zavalita was, he’d fucked himself up somewhere along the line. He thinks: when? Across from the Hotel Crillón a dog comes over to lick his feet: don’t get your rabies on me, get away. Peru all fucked up, Carlitos all fucked up, everybody all fucked up. He thinks: there’s no solution. He sees a long line at the taxi stop for Miraflores, he crosses the square, and there’s Norwin, hello, at a table in the Zela Bar, have a seat, Zavalita, fondling a chilcano and having his shoes shined, he invites him to have a drink. He doesn’t look drunk yet and Santiago sits down, tells the bootblack to shine his shoes too. Yes, sir, boss, right away, boss, they’ll look like a mirror, boss.”
Reflections after the forum held by EUROsociAL in Lima in April
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the person who write them.