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Venezuelan refugees welcome in Peru

Published in Deutsche Welle on 8 August 2017

LIMA, Peru – Max Coloma, 33, shares a little apartment in the district of San Martín de Porres. It’s one of the poorer suburbs of Lima where crime thrives after the sun has gone down. But for the Venezuelan former lawyer this doesn’t matter; compared to Venezuela, where hunger and violence has pushed the country to the edge of collapse, the streets of Lima are a paradise. At least it’s possible to walk around in Peru without having to fear for your life.

When he came to Peru about two years ago, Coloma started out by making arepas – a type of corn flour bread, sold everywhere in Venezuela. Waiting at bus stops and other busy places, he sold these Venezuelan traditional delicacies to passersby. Now his venture has evolved into a delivery service. In his apartment kitchen, this Venezuelan bends over his small stove to cook his meals. Simple sandwiches have turned into a unique kind of fusion food, mixing the Peruvian kitchen with recipes from his home country Venezuela.

Read on via Deutsche Welle

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US: Justice for American Veterans with PTSD

Tucson, Arizona – Josh had never felt so angry. A small remark made by his wife triggered an argument that turned into something bigger and, before he knew it, he had smashed and broken his Xbox games console and terrified his wife.

They’d argued a lot since he had returned from military deployment, so she already knew that he was going through a difficult time. But that day was particularly bad and the 31-year-old army veteran was charged with domestic violence after their neighbours called the police.

Read on via Al Jazeera

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Memorial project in Peru courts controversy

Published in Deutsche Welle on 20 July 2017

A dilapidated concrete structure stands in the middle of the field in Ayacucho, around 570 kilometers southeast of the capital Lima. This is where the gasoline was kept, Juana Carrión tells DW. In front of it, overgrown by weeds, are the stone ruins of what used to be three ovens. This is where bodies were burned; forensic archaeologists found the charred remains of bones. The rest of the field is a mass grave called La Hoyada. The contours of the squares in which the archaeologists made their last excavations in 2014 are still visible under the weeds. The remains of an estimated 110 people were found.

During the civil war, between 1980 and 2000, this area was used as a training ground for the army, which still has its base up on the hill. It became a so-called death camp where the army would take the people suspected of being part of the Shining Path guerrilla group.

Read on in DW

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Out of prison, but stuck in Peru

Published on Deutsche Welle on 11 June 2017

When he came out of Ancón prison in March, Italian-born Davide Cannavo, 33, was lucky enough to have Peruvian friends of his family who picked him up and provided a place to stay. Many foreigners stand lost in front of the prison gates, in a deserted area on the outskirts of the capital. However, Cannavo’s acquaintances couldn’t bring him to the airport; after spending almost seven years in prison for attempting to smuggle cocaine out of the country, he wasn’t free to leave the country yet.

Foreign ex-convicts have to go through a bureaucratic process in Peru which takes, on average, around 8 months to complete. They need to get their reparation and rehabilitation documents, which take time to complete and, furthermore, need to be paid for. These documents then have to be approved by the police and migration ministry for foreign ex-convicts to leave the country. It’s a difficult process for foreigners.

Read on in DW

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In Peru, sexual equality is a controversial issue

Published in Deutsche Welle on 20 May 2017

IQUITOS, Peru – Even before she sits down, Milagros Rios starts to weep. She takes some tissues from the box on her desk to dry her eyes. In front of her lies the new school curriculum manual, which the Peruvian government sent out to all schools at the beginning of the new academic year. To her left, up on the wall, hangs an image of Jesus on the cross.

“How can I teach this to the children?” she asks. For a while she sobs silently. The new school curriculum states that men and women should have the same rights and should be treated equally. It is founded in the idea that everyone should be respected in their sexual choices. It was meant to enforce women who are often still pushed into the traditional work of cleaning the house and cooking.

Read on via DW

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Hampered by lack of resources, Peruvian officials struggle to address illegal wildlife trade

Published in Earth Island Journal on 15 May 2017

TARAPOTO, Peru – On first sight, as we wait by the river for a ferry, there appear to be only a few rickety stalls where banana chips and cans of soda are sold to Peruvian tourists waiting in their cars to cross. But as soon as the vendors have determined the coast is clear, the scene quickly changes: two snakes are pulled out of a frayed rucksack. Three monkeys are removed from a cardboard box beneath a counter. A child walks past the line of cars, showing off a woolly monkey. All of these animals are for sale.

The illegal trade and imprisonment of exotic animals is not always visible in Peru. Many local people have learned that Westerners don’t usually like seeing monkeys and sloths bound and chained up. The animals, therefore, are not always shown to Western tourists. However, anyone inquiring at a market about a particular animal species is led through the corrugated-iron shacks to someone who has that animal.

Read on in the online magazine