Two hundred years ago, on 28 July 1821, Peru proclaimed its independence from Spain. I would like to remember hundreds of anonymous women and men from the different social environments of the peoples of Peru who awaited independence from the Spanish crown.
They engaged in a hopeful struggle for freedom and equal rights that was not entirely achieved.
Close to celebrating a historical milestone such as the bicentenary of Peru’s Independence, the gaps in inequality of opportunities are still enormous.
The struggle of powers and political-economic interests have become the daily life of coexistence, especially in the large cities such as Lima, where the poor and the ordinary people live alongside the powerful and money-hungry.
Independence for many people represented the hope for autonomy in decision-making or the beginning of a free government, and the possibility of better rights. For many people, including those who were supporters of independence from Spain, it unfortunately meant absolute chaos.
Now, two hundred years after independence and before the official commemoration of the bicentenary, we need to stop and think in a critical-reflective attitude.
What does Peru lack as a country? What country is the Peruvian building or allowing others to build?
Labor exploitation, discrimination, racism, social and family violence, remote peoples without access to a decent life with basic services – all these issues, among others, continue to affect the most vulnerable.
The well-known writer Eduardo Galeano described them in his poem The Nobodies, as those for whom “good luck does not rain yesterday, today, tomorrow, or ever”.
I believe that celebrating is not only about remembering what happened, but also about committing to the emerging call for citizen vigilance, promoting the defense of life, encouraging the fulfillment of duties and, above all, contributing to social justice and the common good.
I am convinced that these were, are and will continue to be, the ideals of freedom that Peruvians wanted two hundred years ago and still want now.
Charo Zurita Silva rsj
Photo by Mckay Savage is licensed under CC BY 2.0