Wednesday, April 05, 2006

From Cocha to Cuzco

Okay so now I'm feeling guilty that I've let so much time elapse between the last blog in Cocha and this one. Especially since in between Cochabamba and Cuzco there were celebrations with Evo Morales in cocalero country and in his home town near Oruru, as well as the impressive inauguration ceremony at Tiwakanu. The visit to cocalero country was especially moving, with campesinos spontaneously coming up to me, tears in their eyes, putting their arms around me and saying "We´ve waited so long to have our own president." There were more tears when I interviewed Morales sister and first lady, Ester Morales, who spoke of her fear for her brother's safety now that he was president. And in the small altiplano town near Oruru, where Morales was born, everyone from the local villages showed up with traditional music and food, though Morales himself looked a little exhausted by then with all the celebrating. For a good photographic account of all this, I recommend my friend and fellow journalist Guillermo Guille's webzine for the Bolivian community in Argentina, Renacer. Go to "fotoreportajes."

So now I'm in Cuzco, on the eve of the Peruvian election, and I, like a lot of Peruvians, am less than excited about the candidates who will compete for the presidency on April 9. On the right, you have your basic rightwing neoliberal empresario, Lourdes Flores. And on the left, you have Ollanta Humala, a nationalistic caudillo with a shady military past and even shadier family members (Mom Humala says all homosexuals should be shot) and Alan Garcia, a recycled center leftist whose been here before and doesn´t seem to have a lot of new stuff to offer. Sorry guys, I know one of you is going to win, and I sincerely hope that I and my Peruvian friends are wrong in our cynicism.

So why, given the cynicism, am I in Cuzco? I guess I have to blame the apus, or mountain spirits, for that. They say that Cuzco either wants you here or it doesn't. And it seems that Cuzco wants me to stick around here for awhile and do some healing work, both with myself and with some of the people who live here or are just passing through, so that's what I'm doing. I have made friends with many of the residents and visitors, as well as with the narrow winding cobblestoned streets and the local Incan ruins, like Temple of The Moon, and Qenco. And now I can even manage a few words of Quechua, important stuff like what are you doing and where's the food?

I'll post again after the Peruvian elections. Promise I will. Tupunanchiskama. (See you later.)