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Peru - People, Property, and Farming


Human adaptation to the high altitudes, coastal desert, and tropical jungles requires specialized knowledge and skill in addition to the physiological adjustments noted to cope with altitudinal stress. Over the course of thousands of years, people invented elaborate irrigation systems to take advantage of the potential productivity in the coastal valleys. Visitors to even the smallest coastal valleys can still find elaborate evidence of these ancient public works. Many of these networks are still in use or form the basis of rebuilt systems that provide water to the lucrative commercial agriculture now practiced. Both in prehistoric times and now, the key to social and political affairs in these and all other coastal valleys is access to water, effective irrigation technology, and the ability to keep a large labor force at the task of construction and maintenance.

The coastal valleys from colonial times to the present have been dominated by extensive systems of plantation agriculture, with powerful elite families in control of the land and water rights. The principal crops harvested under these regimes are sugarcane and cotton, with a mixture of other crops, such as grapes and citrus, also being planted. Before the Agrarian Reform Law of 1969, about 80 percent of the arable coastal land was owned by 1.7 percent of the property owners. Despite the dominance of the great coastal estates, there were, and still are, thousands of smaller farms surrounding them, producing a wide variety of food crops for the urban markets and for subsistence. Since land reform, ownership of the great plantations has been transferred to the employees and workers, who operate them as a type of cooperative. The coastal farmland is extremely valuable because of the generous climate, flat lands, and usually reliable irrigation waters, without which nothing would succeed. These advantageous conditions are supplemented by the use of excellent guano and fish-meal fertilizers. As a result, the productive coastal land, amounting to only 3.8 percent of the national total, including pasture and forest, yields a reported 50 percent of the gross agricultural product.

In the intermontane Andean valleys, there is a wide variety of farming opportunities. The best lands are those that benefit year round from the constant flow of melting glacial waters. Most farming depends on the advent of the rains, and farmers must plan their affairs accordingly. In many areas, farmers have built reservoir and canal systems, but, for the most part, they must time their planting to coincide with the capricious onset of the rainy season. Where irrigation works are operative, as on the coast, farmers are joined in water-management districts and irrigation boards, which govern water flow, canal maintenance, and enforcement of complex water rights, rules, and customs.

Over 70 percent of the smallest farms are less than five hectares in size, with the great majority of them found in the Andean highlands. A typical peasant household with such a small property cannot harvest anything but the most minimum subsistence from it and inevitably must supplement household earnings from other sources, with most or all family members working. The adequacy of each small farm and its dispersed chacras (plots of land used for gardening) of course varies with water supply, altitude, soil fertility, and other local factors. The best irrigated farmland in the kichwa valleys tends to be highly subdivided in the competition for a rural subsistence base. The largest land holdings are the property of corporate communities, such as the numerous Peasant Communities (Comunidades Campesinas) and Peasant Groups (Grupos Campesinos). In 1990 these official forms of common entitlement, as opposed to individual private ownership, accounted for over 60 percent of pasture lands, much of which lies in the punas of the southern Andes.

The ecological mandates of the Andean environment thus structure the day-to-day farming activities of all highlanders and the character of their domestic economies. Research conducted by anthropologist Stephen B. Brush showed how peasant farmers traditionally have utilized the different ecological niches at their disposal. At the highest altitudes of production, animals are grazed and specialized tubers grown; at the intermediate altitudes grains like wheat, barley, rye, and corn, as well as pulses, such as broad beans, peas, and lentils, are sown along with a wide variety of vegetables, including onions, squashes, carrots, hot rocoto peppers, and tomatoes. At still lower levels, tropical fruits and crops prosper.

Some communities have direct access to all of these production environments, whereas others may be confined to one zone only. Traditionally, the strategy of families, the basic social units of production and consumption, is to arrange access to products from the different zones through the social mechanisms available to them. Particular chacras serve as virtual chess pieces as families buy and sell property, or enter into sharecropping arrangements in order to obtain access to specific cropping areas. Marital arrangements may also be made with specific properties in mind. Thus, the system of small farms ( minifundios) will invariably involve a confusing but systematic pattern of holdings.

In Huaylas, Ancash Department, for example, farmers owning small but highly productive irrigated chacras at about 2,700 meters cultivate corn, vegetables, and alfalfa. Slightly higher irrigated property is devoted to grains, and higher still, chacras are devoted to potatoes, oca and other tubers, and quinoa. Above the cultivated land and on the nonirrigated hillsides, cattle and sheep are grazed on communally held open ranges and puna. In the deep protected gorges and canyons on the fringes of the district, small chacras at altitudes of 1,500 meters produce a variety of tropical crops. Consequently, within a relatively small area a single family may own or have usufruct rights to a checkerboard of small chacras, whose total area does not exceed four or five hectares, but whose range of production provides a diverse nutritional subsistence base.

For this reason, attempts to unify smallholdings to make them more efficient can likely yield the opposite effect in terms of the household economy. This is, in fact, what happened in many areas after the Agrarian Reform Law of 1969 was implemented, prohibiting sharecropping and restricting the geographical range of ownership in order to achieve hoped for economies of scale. After the initial attempts to enforce the new, well-meaning laws, the minifundio system began to reemerge as peasants discovered ways to circumvent its restrictions, which inadvertently limited their ownership and use of chacras to a narrow range of ecological zones.

In other areas, such as those described by Enrique Mayer in the Hu�nuco region, the relatively compressed ecology found in Huaylas gives way to one spread out over the eastern flanks of the Andes, stretching down eventually to the Selva. In contrast to the confining peasant farms of Huaylas, farmers in the Hu�nuco region develop barter and trade relations across the production zones, permitting them to exchange their farm produce, such as potatoes, for other crops grown at different levels.

Although most Andean farmers are independent producers, there are various types of large holdings, of which three are particularly important: the manorial estate, the minifundio and family farm, and the corporate community holding. Historically, the most significant holdings relative to socioeconomic power were the great manorial properties known as haciendas, which averaged over 1,200 hectares in size but often exceeded 20,000 hectares prior to being eliminated during the 1969-75 land reform. At the time the land reform began, 1.3 percent of the highland farm owners held over 75 percent of the farm and grazing lands, while 96 percent of the farmers held ownership of but 8.5 percent of the farm area. The corporate community holdings are in the form of land held in common title by a Peasant Community. After the land reform, groups of communities were organized as corporate bodies by the government to enable them, in theory, to combine lands and resources to gain the advantages of an economy of scale. These organizations and the Peasant Communities, reportedly numbering 5,500 in 1991, assumed titles to the haciendas expropriated during the reform period.

By contrast, the population living in the Selva is engaged in a totally different set of agroecological patterns of activity. The native peoples of the tropics, living in riverine settings for the greater part, depend on fishing, hunting, and selective gathering from the forest. They also engage in highly effective horticulture, usually in a system known as slash-and-burn. Long thought to be a destructive and inefficient method of farming, studies have revealed it to be quite the contrary. In this system, the tribal farmer usually exploits a particular plot for only a three-to-five-year period and then abandons it to open another fresh area. This practice allows the vegetation and thin soil to recuperate before the farmer returns to use it again in ten to twenty years. Another facet of the system is that all fields are used in a pattern of multicropping. In this approach, as many as fifteen different crops are intermingled in such a way that each plant complements the others in terms of nutrients used or returned to the soil. The arrangement also provides a disadvantageous environment for plant diseases and insect pests. Another common horticultural system employed along the river banks in the dry season takes advantage of extensive silt deposits left by the seasonal floods. On such open plots, farmers tend to monocrop or, at least, to reduce the number of varieties sown.


Peru - The Society


PERUVIANNESS (PERUANIDAD) has often been debated by Peruvian authors who evoke patriotism, faith, cultural mystique, and other allegedly intrinsic qualities of nationality. Peru, however, is not to be characterized as a homogeneous culture, nor its people as one people. Peruvians speak of their differences with certainty, referring to lo criollo ("of the Creole"), lo serrano ("of the highlander"), and other special traits by which social groups and regions are stereotyped. The national creole identity incorporates a combination of unique associations and ways of doing things a la criolla.

The dominant national culture emanating from Lima is urban, bureaucratic, street-oriented, and fast-paced. Yet the identity that goes with being a lime�o (a Limean) is also profoundly provincial in its own way. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Lima cultural character transcended class values and ranks and to a significant degree was identified as the national Peruvian culture. The great migrations from 1950 to 1990 altered that personality substantially. By 1991 the national character, dominated by the urban style of Lima, was complicated by millions of serranos, whose rural Spanish contrasts with the fast slurring and slang of the Lima dialect. Highland music is heard twenty-four hours a day on more than a dozen Lima radio stations that exalt the regional cultures, give announcements in Quechua, and relentlessly advertise the new businesses of the migrant entrepreneurs. The places mentioned and the activities announced are in greater Lima, but unknown to the lime�o. The new lime�o, while acquiring creole traits, nevertheless presents another face, one with which the Lima native does not closely relate and does not understand because few true lime�os actually visit the provinces, much less stay there to live. Nor do they visit the sprawling "young towns" ( pueblos jovenes) of squatters that are disdained or even feared. Urban Hispanic Peruvians have always been caught in the bind of contradiction, at once claiming the glory of the Inca past while refusing to accept its descendants or their traditions as legitimately belonging in the modern state. In the early 1990s, however, this change was taking place, desired or not.

Events have been forcing the alteration of traditions in both the coast (Costa) and highlands (Sierra) in a process that would again transform the country, as did both conquest and independence. The peoples of the Altiplano and valleys of the Andean heartland--long exploited and neglected and driven both by real needs and the quest for respect and equity--have surged over the country in a "reconquest" of Peru, stamping it with their image.

For respect and equity to develop, the white and mestizo elites will have to yield the social and economic space for change and reconcile themselves to institutional changes that provide fairness in life opportunities. Up to 1991, the highlanders (serranos) had seized that space from a reluctant nation by aggressive migration, establishing vast squatter settlements and pushing hard against the walls of power. As with the Agrarian Reform Law of 1969, the elites and special interests that benefited from traditional socioeconomic arrangements had protected these old ways with few concessions to wider public and national needs. For the cholo, Peru's generic "everyman," to gain a place of respect, well-being, and a sense of progress will be a test of endurance, experiment, and sacrifice as painful and difficult as any in the hemisphere. With the agony of terroristic and revengeful revolution perpetrated by the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso--SL) and the T�pac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (Movimiento Revolucionario T�pac Amaru--MRTA), on the one hand, and the chaotic collapse of the institutional formal economy, on the other, average Peruvians from all social groups were caught between the proverbial "sword and wall."

Just as the highland migration to the urban coast was the major avenue for social change through the 1980s, increasing numbers of Peruvians sought to continue this journey away from the dilemmas of their homeland by moving to other countries. About 700,000 had emigrated by 1991, with over 40 percent going to the United States. Catholic University of Peru professor Te�filo Altamirano has documented the new currents of mobility that went from Lima, Jun�n, and Ancash to every state in the United States, with heaviest concentrations in New Jersey, New York, California, and Florida. In 1990 about 300,000 of Altamirano's compatriots (paisanos) lived--either legally or not--in the United States.

In the early 1990s, Peru's identity as a nation and people was becoming more complex and cosmopolitan, while the distinctive traits of the culture were being broadened, disseminated, and shared by an increasingly wider group of citizens. The crosscurrents to these trends were configured around the struggle for retention and status of the native cultures: the Quechua, the Aymara, and the many tribal societies of Amazonia. Whereas tens of thousands deliberately embarked on life-plans of social mobility by altering their persona from indio (Indian) to cholo to mestizo in moving from the native American caste to upper-middle class, a new alternative for some was to use ethnic loyalty and identity as a device of empowerment and, thus, an avenue for socioeconomic change. How Peruvian institutions, state policy, and traditions adjusted to these trends would determine what Peruvians as a society would be like in the twenty-first century.


Peru - Population


The special configuration and character of Peru's modern society owe their start to the Spanish conquest, when Europeans and Africans came into sexual contact with what had been a racially homogeneous population. In its own conquests, however, the Inca Empire had embraced a wide range of cultural groups that spoke over fifty languages and practiced diverse customs. As a multicultural state, the Incas had grappled with the problem of tribal diversity and competition, often resolving their disagreements with conquered peoples through violence and repression. Another Inca solution to such dilemmas was to forcibly relocate recalcitrant populations to more governable locations and replace them with trustworthy communities. Peoples resettled in this manner were called mitimaes, and the process contributed significantly to the complications of Andean ethnicity. In addition to these measures, the Incas often took the children of local leaders and other key personages as hostages to guarantee political tranquility. In some ways, then, the Inca experience harshly prefigured the Spanish conquest.

With the arrival of conquering migrants from the Old World, new mixed races were born. The initial importance of these offspring of whites and Africans with native American mothers was minimal, however, because of the "great dying" of the indigenous population instigated by European diseases and the subsequent collapse and demoralization of the native society and economy. The continuous impact of repressive colonial regimes did not permit any resurgence of native vitality or organization, although there were a number of rebellions and revolts. Under these conditions, Peru reached its nadir in 1796, near the end of the colonial period, when fewer than 1.1 million inhabitants were censured. This figure marked a fall from an estimated pre-Columbian total of at least 16 million, although some scholars think the figure may be twice that number, and others less. Peru recovered slowly, only slightly exceeding its minimally estimated preconquest population size in 1981.

The critical factors in population growth since the midnineteenth century have been the rapid emergence of the mestizo population, which grew at a rate of over 3 percent per year throughout the colonial period until the 1980s, and the reduction but not the disappearance of sweeping epidemic diseases. Another factor that played a role in this increase was the influx of foreign migrants from Europe, and especially from China and, more recently, Japan. The rate of growth became very high during the twentieth century owing to a number of factors. The then dominant mestizo and other mixed populations were obviously more resistant to the diseases to which the native peoples, lacking natural immunities, succumbed. The mestizos also enjoyed important cultural advantages in a colonialist society, which actively discriminated against the native population on racial and ethnic grounds. From conquest to the present, it has been the fate of the native peoples not to prosper.

The Spanish colonial policy regarding population management in the viceroyalty, as throughout the hemisphere, was to create bureaucratic order through an official hierarchy of caste, with obligations and privileges attached thereto. The system attempted to keep people sorted out according to genealogical history and place of birth. Thus, white Spaniards ranked first, followed by all others: a male offspring of a Spaniard and a native American was called a mestizo, or cholo; of a Spaniard and African, a mulatto; of an African and a native American, a zambo; of a mestizo and indio, a salta atr�s (jump backward). The order encompassed all of the combinations and recombinations of race, with over fifty commonly used terms, many of which--such as mestizo, mulatto, zambo, cholo, criollo, indio, negro (Negro or black), and blanco (white)--survive in common usage today. For both white Europeans and Africans, there were two categories--those born in the Old World were called peninsulares and bosales, respectively, whereas those of both races born in Peru were called criollos (Creoles). In the case of whites, the fact that Creoles were lower in rank than their peninsular counterparts was resented and contributed eventually to the overthrow of colonial rule.

There were six basic castes in Colonial Peru: Spaniards, native Americans, mestizos, Negroes, mulattos, and zambos. In theory, these categories defined a person's place of residence and occupation, taxes, obligations to the viceroyalty under the mita, which churches and masses could be attended, and which parts of the towns could be entered. Sumptuary laws determined the nature of one's clothing as well, and prohibited natives in particular from riding horses, using buttons, having weapons, and even owning mirrors and playing stringed instruments. Such a system was hard, if not impossible, to keep on track, and its rules and powers were irregularly applied. Nevertheless, vestiges of the colonial social caste system and its associated behavior and attitudes linger in present-day Peruvian society in many ways.

Although largely replaced along the coast by mestizos, Afro-Peruvians, and Chinese laborers, the native peoples survived biologically as well as culturally in the highlands. Their survival was attributed to many factors: the sheer numbers of their original population; their relative isolation, resulting in part from the collapse of the society and inefficiency of the colonial regimes; and this assumption of the kind of passive defensive posture of silence and apparent submissive behavior that has been characterized as a "weapon of the weak." In numerous cases, communities managed to place themselves under the wing of religious orders and, ironically, the hacienda system, with its conditions of serfdom. This developed with the demise of the system of serfdom called the encomienda and the state monopoly of selling goods to the native peoples called the repartimiento. If nothing more, by becoming serfs on the haciendas, native Americans were defended by landlords, who were inclined to protect their peons from exploitation by others and especially from having to serve in the mita de minas (the mine labor draft). Consequently, the bastions of highland indigenous culture have been the small, isolated mountain villages and hamlets; dispersed farming and pastoral communities; and haciendas, where populations were encapsulated under protective exploitation and ignored by their absentee landlords.

<>Settlement Patterns
<>Urban, Rural, and Regional Populations
<>Demography of Growth, Migration, and Work
<>Regionalism and Political Divisions

Updated population figures for Peru.


Peru - Settlement Patterns


In pre-Columbian eras, the highland population was ensconced on ridges, hillsides, and other locations that did not interfere with farming priorities. Large ceremonial buildings, temples, or administrative centers, were, however, located in central locations, often apart from the residences of average persons. By the time of conquest, the Incas had rearranged settlements to suit their own vision of administrative needs in conquered areas. Thus, Inca planners and architects constructed special towns and cities, such as Hu�nuco Viejo, to handle their needs.

With Viceroy Francisco Toledo y Figueroa's colonial reforms in the late sixteenth century, however, the traditional Andean settlement patterns were drastically altered through the establishment of settlements called reductions ( reducciones), which were located in the less advantageous areas, and the founding of new Spanish towns and cities. The reduction system forced native Americans to settle in nucleated villages and towns, which were easily controlled by their masters, the encomenderos, as well as clergy and regional governors ( corregidores de indios). The Spaniards also established their own towns, which were off limits to most native peoples except for occasional religious celebrations or for work assignments. These towns eventually became home to the dominant mestizo. As the municipal and economic centers of each district and province, these mestizo towns (poblachos mestizos) remain the dominant settlements, constituting the district and provincial capitals throughout the country. Today, virtually all of the small towns and villages throughout the highlands are either the product of the reduction system of forced relocation or were established as Spanish colonial municipalities.

The striking similarities among settlements in terms of design and architecture are no accident. Virtually all settlements thus exhibit the grid pattern or model of rectangular blocks arranged around a town square, universally known as the arms plaza (plaza de armas). This design reflects the military dimension of the conquest culture, the central place in an encampment being where armaments were kept when not deployed. By direct analogy, it also demonstrates and symbolizes central authority and power. Typically, then, the most important residents lived close to the plaza de armas, in the most prominent houses. Status, conferred by birth, race, and occupation, was confirmed by a central urban residence. In modern practice, status has continued to be reflected in a hierarchy of urban residence descending from Lima to the departmental, provincial, and district capitals. No one of importance or power is rural.



Peru - Urban, Rural, and Regional Populations


The change in distribution from rural to urban has been profound: the urban population rose from 47 percent in 1961 to an estimated 70 percent in 1990. By that time, Peru's population had reached a point where its configurations were thus substantially different than they were a generation earlier, largely because of the enormous growth of metropolitan Lima, which includes the seaport of Callao. Indeed, four of the largest political districts of greater Lima began as squatter settlements and now would rank among the nation's top ten cities if they had been counted separately. The leading cities in Peru represent a mix of old colonial places--Lima, Arequipa, Trujillo, Cusco (Cuzco), Piura, and Ica--and newly emergent ones, such as Huancayo, Chimbote, Iquitos, and Juliaca, whose new elites derive mostly from the highly mobile provincial middle and lower classes. In the Sierra, Juliaca, because of its role in marketing and transportation, surpassed the departmental capital of Puno in both size and importance to become the most important city south of Cusco.

Burgeoning cities, such as the industrial port of Chimbote, had a kind of raw quality to them in the early 1990s, with blocks and blocks of recently constructed one- and two-story buildings and a majority of streets neither paved nor cobbled. As the site of Peru's prestige industry--an electrically powered steel mill-- and as a major port for the anchovy industry, Chimbote attracted bilingual mestizos and cholos, who continued to pour into the city from the highlands of Ancash, especially the provinces of Huaylas, Corongo, Pallasca, and Sihuas. The migrants' dynamism, powered by a will to progress and modernize, built the city from a quaint seaside town of 4,200 residents in 1940 to 296,000 in 1990, with neither the approval nor significant assistance of government planners or development programs. Although the energy and growth of Chimbote was impressive, the lack of urban infrastructure in the basic services, absence of attention to environmental impacts, and totally inadequate municipal budgets led directly to converting Chimbote Bay, the best natural port on Peru's coast, into a cesspool of industrial and urban wastes (meters thick in places). Even smaller coastal boom towns, such as Supe, have suffered the same outcomes. It was not surprising that the 1991 cholera outbreak should have started in Chimbote.

Just as the cities have grown, the rural sector's share of the population has declined. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s there were still more persons living in the rural regions than ever before in the nation's history. In fact, the rural population in 1991 equaled the total population of the country in 1961.

At first, the country seemed to relish its growth even though the population explosion distressed the urbane sensibilities of the elite and the comfortable middle classes. Through its increase in size, Peru gained stature internationally and maintained a superiority of sorts vis-�-vis Ecuador, Bolivia, and Chile, its regional rivals. It could be maintained that Peru's policy was to let the population problem "solve itself" through spontaneous migration by which people found their own solutions for the maldistribution of wealth, services, resources, and power. The vast and growing squatter settlements in Lima, however, gave many serious pause, and alternatives were proposed.



Peru - Demography of Growth, Migration, and Work


Significant in different ways were the divisions according to the major ecological zones. In 1990 the coastal region held 53 percent of the nation's peoples; the highlands, 36 percent; and the Selva, the other 11 percent. This distribution pattern marked an abrupt change from almost thirty years earlier when the figures for coast and highlands were nearly the reverse. These shifts obviously had significant implications for the nation in terms of government, the economy, and social relations. For example, the agricultural sector had two parts: the mechanized high-export production of the coastal plantations and cooperatives, and the intensively farmed small-holdings of the Sierra, which have depended most heavily on hand labor and were essentially unchanged in technology since the colonial period. Although the highland farm technology was effective, Andean production was undermined by urbanward migrations and the revolution and repression of the 1980s.

Within the contexts of these significant demographic changes, the general growth of the population has been constant since its low point at the end of the colonial period. Between 1972 and 1981, the country grew by 25 percent. The increase may have been greater between 1981 and 1991, reaching over 30 percent, if projections were correct. The increase ran counter to the anticipated benefits stemming from the continued drop in fertility rates, which declined from 6.7 children born per woman in 1965 to 3.3 in 1991, and in birth rates, which dropped from a high of 45 births per 1,000 in 1965 to 27 per 1,000 in 1992. The crude death rates, however, despite the many problems in health care, fell over this same period from 16 to 7 per 1,000, basically matching the decline in the birthrate and retaining the actual rate of population growth near its same level as before. Life expectancy for males in Peru has increased from fifty-one years in 1980 to estimates of sixty-three years in 1991, second lowest in South America after Bolivia. Demographers projected that Peru's population would reach 28 million by the year 2000 and 37 million in 2025 if these rates continued. Contemporary dilemmas paled before the problems posed by such estimates. A significant lowering in infant deaths would markedly increase the overall growth rate and accompanying problems posed to institutions, services, and resources.

Population Policy and Family Planning

The issue of slowing population growth through the systematic implementation of modern birth-control methods had remained lowkey since the late 1960s but erupted during the 1980s, as a result of pressure coming particularly from women. Research in the early 1980s showed that over 75 percent of women wished to use contraceptives, but over 50 percent did not do so out of fear and uncertainty about their effects or because of the disapproval of the spouse. In this context, the 1985 Law of the National Population Council came into being under the premise that although abortion and voluntary sterilization were excluded, all other "medical, educational, and information services about family planning guarantee that couples and all persons can freely choose the method for control of fecundity and for family planning." The proposed law was opposed in 1987 by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops, which retained its opposition to artificial methods and "irresponsible philosophies." Implementation of the law, however, began that year, setting targets for lowering fecundity rates to 2.5 children per family by the year 2000 and greatly amplifying the availability of clinical resources and contraceptives. In addition to government programs, there were sixteen private organizations promoting various aspects of the policy by 1988.

In 1986 a reported 46 percent of women of child-bearing age were using some form of contraception, but it was not known what percentage of men used contraceptives. The data on the incidence of abortions was not compiled until the 1980s, but according to hospital reports, in 1986 there were 31,860 abortions performed for life-threatening sociomedical reasons, which represented almost 43 percent of all hospital cases involving obstetrical procedures. The estimated rate of clandestine abortions, however, was reportedly at the high rate of 143 cases per 1,000 pregnancies, despite a law that in theory prohibited such interventions. A survey in 1986 of women's attitudes toward contraception and family planning showed that over 27 percent of women would halt their family size after one child, 69 percent would limit their family to two, and over 80 percent desired no more than three children. It was clear from this response that Peruvian women wanted to limit family size and that their demands for increased state and private services would continue to rise.

During the 1975-90 period, contraceptives became more widely available throughout Peru, being distributed or sold nationwide through Ministry of Health programs and private clinics, pharmacies, and even by street vendors in marketplaces. Pharmacies were the most common source of both information about and supply of contraceptives. Not surprisingly, use of birthcontrol techniques increased sharply with socioeconomic status, educational level, and urban coastal residence.

Lima and the Patterns of Migration

The first Bela�nde administration (1963-68) initiated concerted efforts to develop the Amazon Basin through its ambitious Jungle Border Highway (la carretera marginal de la selva or la marginal) program, the organization of colonization projects, and special opportunity zones to steer highland migrants in that direction and away from the coast. Bela�nde's Selva-oriented program thus tended to divert investments away from the Sierra, even though much was done there on a small local scale through the self-help Popular Cooperation (Cooperaci�n Popular) projects. In hindsight, the resulting degradation of the tropical biosphere in the wake of these schemes created new sets of problems that were far from anyone's mind in 1964. Unfortunately, the net result of these expensive and sweeping efforts at tropical development has not been as planned. Significant changes in the direction of migration did not take place, and the jungle perimeter road system covering hundreds of kilometers was often used as landing strips by airborne drug traffickers and for military maneuvers.

Just as there are strong "pull" factors that attract persons to Lima and the other major cities, there are also many conditions that "push" people out of their communities: the loss or lack of adequate farmland, natural disasters such as earthquakes and landslides, lack of employment options, and a host of personal reasons. In addition, since the outbreak of terrorist activities by the Shining Path movement in 1980 and subsequent military reactions, over 30,000 persons have been dislocated from towns and villages in the Ayacucho and Huancavelica highlands, most of them gravitating to Ica or Lima.

The profound changes during the 1950-90 period, spurred by sheer increases in numbers, largely resulted from a desire for better life opportunities and progress. The significant demographic change that took place was the migration from rural areas to the cities, especially Lima. Five major features gave this great migration a particular Peruvian character: the concentration of people in Lima and other coastal cities, the regional heterogeneity of the migrants, the tendency of people to follow their family and paisanos to specific places, the development of migrant organizations, and the willingness of migrants to assist their homelands.

The migrants, searching for employment and better living conditions, went predominantly from the provinces to the national capital, creating a megalopolis out of Lima and Callao. In 1990 greater Lima had over 30 percent of all Peruvians as residents. On the north coast, cities such as Piura, Chiclayo, and Trujillo have attracted persons from their own regions in considerable numbers; significant growth has occurred in the southern highland cities of Arequipa, Juliaca, and Cusco, as well as in the remote jungle city of Iquitos. Despite rates of increase averaging more than 330 percent between 1961 and 1990, these cities drew few people compared to the numbers of persons drawn to greater Lima. In 1990 Lima was 14 percent larger than the next 24 cities combined, and 58 percent of all urban dwellers lived in greater Lima. As such, Lima had become one of the world's leading cities in terms of its level of primacy, that is, its overwhelming demographic dominance with respect to the next largest urban centers.

Lima's development as a "primate" city (megalopolis) began taking shape during the nineteenth century when the nation was recuperating from the disastrous War of the Pacific (1879-83) with Chile. This trend accelerated dramatically after about 1950, when the fishing industry began its expansion and Peru started to industrialize its urban economy in a determined manner. Thus, throughout most of this long period, no less than a third of the capital's residents were born elsewhere.

Lima's dominance has been more than demographic. In the late 1980s, the metropolis consumed over 70 percent of the nation's electrical energy; had 69 percent of its industry, 98 percent of private investment, and 83 percent of bank deposits; yielded 83 percent of the nation's taxes; had 42 percent of all university students, taught by 62 percent of all professors; and had 73 percent of the nation's physicians. Over 70 percent of the country's wages were paid out in Lima to 40 percent of all school teachers, 51 percent of public employees, and equivalent percentages of the skilled labor force and other urban workers. From television and radio stations to telephones, most consumer goods, recreational facilities, and other items of modern interest were also concentrated in Lima. In short, if Peru had it, it came first to Lima and more often than not was unavailable elsewhere.

Government, too, has been totally centralized in the capital since the establishment of the viceregal court in the sixteenth century. The centrality of Lima in colonial times was so significant that persons committing crimes were often punished by exiling them from the capital for various periods of time; the farther away, the worse the penalty. This notion still underlies much of the cultural concept of social value in Peru today. Everyone living outside of greater Lima is automatically a provincial (provinciano), a person defined as being disadvantaged and, perhaps, not quite as civilized as a lime�o. Under such circumstances, it is hardly surprising that Lima has attracted the vast majority of Peruvians hoping to improve their lives, whether looking for employment, seeking an education, or attempting to influence bureaucratic decisions and win assistance for their communities. Lima has been both hated and loved by provincianos, who have been engaged in unequal struggle for access to the nation's wealth and power. The factor of primacy loomed as one of Peru's most significant problems, as the nation attempted to decentralize various aspects of the government under a reorganization law promulgated in March 1987.

Another aspect of the migration had to do with its heterogeneity of origin in terms of both place and sociocultural features. At the beginning of the twentieth century, most of the provincial migrants were fairly homogeneous representatives of local elites and relatively prosperous sectors of provincial urban capitals. The last decades of the century, however, have seen a marked growth in the social and cultural diversity of the migrants. Between 1950 and 1990, increasing numbers of persons came from villages and hamlets, not the small district capitals, and thus were more representative of the bilingual and bicultural population, referred to as cholos. Whereas in the earlier years of this period, it was unusual to hear migrants speaking the Quechua or Aymara languages on the street, by 1990 it was commonplace to hear these languages used for commerce and general discourse in Lima. This change occurred mostly after 1970, when the populist military regime of Juan Velasco Alvarado began a strong effort to legitimize the native tongues. And thus, it has also become more common to see persons retaining various aspects of their regional clothing styles, including hats and colorful skirts, and in, general, not discarding those cultural class markers that were so denigrated a short generation earlier.

A third migratory pattern was that people invariably followed in the footsteps of relatives and fellow paisanos. Once a village had a few paisanos established in the city, they were soon followed by others. During the course of Peruvian migration, relatively few persons simply struck out on the migratory adventure alone. Thus, the society of migrants was not a collection of alienated "lost souls," but rather consisted of groups of people with contacts, social roles, and strong cultural and family ties.

This fact produced the fourth dimension of the Peruvian migratory process: the propensity of migrants to organize themselves into effective voluntary associations. The scale and pattern of these associations distinguished the process in Peru from that in most other countries. The organizations have taken several forms, but the two most outstanding examples are found in the squatter settlements and regional clubs that have proliferated in all the largest cities, particularly Lima. The process of urban growth in Lima has produced an urban configuration that conforms to no central plan. Without access to adequate housing of any type, and without funds or available loans, migrants set about developing their own solutions by establishing organizations of their own, occasionally under the sponsorship of APRA. They planned a takeover of unoccupied land at the fringes of the city and, with the suddenness and effectiveness of a military attack, invaded the property, usually on a Saturday night.

Once on the land, the migrants laid out plots with precision and raised temporary housing in a matter of hours. Called by the somewhat deprecatory term barriada, the shantytowns quickly developed both an infrastructural and a sociopolitical permanence, despite initial official disapproval and police harassment. At first, the land invasions and barriada formation provoked enormous unease among traditional lime�os and especially in the halls of government. The barriadas were wildly characterized as dangerous slums by the Lima middle- and upper classes, which felt threatened by the squatters. Research by anthropologist Jos� Matos Mar Santos and others demonstrated beyond doubt, however, that these "spontaneous settlements" were, in fact, solutions to grave urban problems. Subsequent research by anthropologist Susan Lobo established that such settlements were civilly organized and rapidly assumed positive urban attributes under the squatters' own initiatives.

In 1990 there were over 400 of these large settlements surrounding Lima and Callao, containing at least half of Lima's population. Over time, many of them--such as San Mart�n de Porres, Comas, and Pamplona Alta--had become new political districts within the province of Lima, with their own elected officials and political power. Political scientists Henry A. Deitz and David Collier have called attention to squatter organizations as mechanisms of empowerment for persons otherwise denied a base or place in the political system. An important step for the squatters was the acquisition of the skill and the ability to exercise influence in the corridors of bureaucratic power. As these settlements and their organizations gained public legitimacy in the 1960s, the Velasco government, on assuming power in 1968, soon renamed them pueblos jovenes, a name which was quickly adopted and has remained.

The regional club aspect of Peru's urban migration was not as obvious a phenomenon as the ubiquitous squatter settlements. The need for a social life, as well as the desire to maintain contact with the home community, friends, and relatives, had moved migrants from particular villages and towns to create representative organizations based on their common place of origin. As a result, according to Te�filo Altamirano, in 1990 there were over 6,000 such clubs in greater Lima, with hundreds more to be found in the other major cities. Not only have these clubs provided an important social venue for migrants, but they also have served as a vehicle by which members could give not insubstantial assistance to their homeland (terru�o), when called for.



Peru - Regionalism and Political Divisions


The formidable mountain ranges, deep chasms, and deserts that partition the habitable regions of Peru contribute greatly to the formation and maintenance of political and social identities by facilitating or obstructing communication, as well as by creating economic diversity through zonal specializations. Archaeologists and ethnohistorians have identified some forty-four different highland cultures and thirty-eight more in coastal valleys that existed at the time of the rise of the Inca Empire in the fifteenth century. Tawantinsuyu (Land of the Four Quarters) retained these preexisting ethnogeographic zones in one form or another, according to anthropologist Michael Edward Moseley, establishing at least eighty ethnically distinct political provinces throughout the empire's vast territory.

The policies of the Tawantinsuyu presaged subsequent geopolitical territorial arrangements. The "quarters" were unequal in size and population, but roughly corresponded to the cardinal directions. Each region began with its cobbled roadway leaving the "navel" of the city of <"http://worldfacts.us/Peru-Cusco.htm">Cusco, whose perimeters shaped a symbolic Andean puma. To the north, Chinchaysuyu encompassed most of the coast and highlands of modern Peru, from Nazca, and eventually with conquest, to what is now northern Ecuador. In terms of the divisions of the Inca Empire, 68 percent of Peruvians in 1990 lived in Chinchaysuyu. To the south stretched the vast region of the puna and Lake Titicaca Basin called the Collasuyu. With the Inca conquests, the Collasuyu quarter extended to the R�o Maule in what is now central Chile. To the east and west were two relatively small quarters, the Antisuyu and Cuntisuyu, respectively. The former occupied the forested semitropical highland region called Monta�a, and the latter, the arid mountains and coast encompassing present-day Arequipa and adjacent departments. Seen in this perspective, 41 percent of the people lived in four departments occupying the central region of the country, with 27 percent in the northern area, 23 percent in the south, and 8 percent in the Amazonian departments of the east in 1990. These four modern quarters of Peru often have been utilized in the context of planning studies.

The Spaniards reorganized the Tawantinsuyu on discovering that the highland Inca capitals at Cusco and Cuenca (Ecuador) and their own first choice of Jauja near present-day Huancayo suited neither their physiological nor political needs. When they founded Lima, the Spaniards turned the Inca spatial concepts upside down: centrality and place were reoriented as Cusco became a province and no longer was the "navel of the universe" from which all roads departed. Despite this change, Spanish viceregal organization educed its structure from longstanding ethnolinguistic and ecological realities. The Spaniards formed provinces ( corregimientos), which later became intendancies (intendencias), as well as Catholic dioceses or parishes.

With independence, the colonial territories were again redefined, but in most cases, the "new" politico-administrative boundaries still recalled ancient cultural and linguistic outlines. The republic carried forward many operational aspects of the colonial administrative units. Throughout their national history, Peruvians have demonstrated a propensity to revise their political affairs both with respect to leadership and the boundaries within the nation. In 1980 the department of Ucayali was created by splintering off two provinces from the Selva department of Loreto, a reflection of development and population increases in that immense tropical region. Moreover, after the census in 1981, six new provinces in Cajamarca, Ancash, and Ucayali departments and twenty new districts were created in various parts of the country through legislative acts. The new districts included six in the populous highland department of Cajamarca; three each in Ucayali, Puno, and Ancash; two in the province of Lima; and others in the departments of Hu�nuco and Cusco. Each time a census occurs, political and social identities are further refined, usually building on old traditions of similitude, as well as a desire for separate political representation and control.

The result was a nation divided into a political hierarchy of 24 departments, 159 provinces, and 1,717 districts, each with its urbanized capital symbolized by a plaza bordered by a "mother church" and municipal office. Peruvians invariably identify themselves as being from one of these divisions, as the place of birth, and thus everyone carries a locality identity as a lime�o from Lima, a chalaco from Callao, a cuzque�o from Cusco, a huaracino from Huaraz, and so forth, down to the smallest hamlet. The political fissioning thus reflects a strong geocultural identity and bonding, manifested by the establishment and activities of thousands of regional and local clubs and associations by migrants from these places who live in cities throughout the country.

Provincial migrants, especially those in greater Lima, play important and often key roles in the creation of new political divisions back in their homelands, as was the case by 1990 in the highland district of Santo Toribio in the province of Huaylas. The new district was the result of political antagonisms originating in colonial times between the small mestizo district capital of Huaylas and its rural hinterland of Santo Toribio. After more than sixty years of plots and counterplots in Lima and in the patria chica (hometown or "little homeland"), the partisans of Santo Toribio, represented by migrants in Lima, finally won out over the Huaylas district lobby made up of migrants from the town that sought to maintain district unity.

In this maneuvering, the national political parties were used as the fulcrum on which the scales were tipped. The municipal government of Huaylas was held by members of the Popular Action (Acci�n Popular--AP) party, whereas the Santo Toribio interests were aligned with the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana--APRA) party, which took power nationally under Alan Garc�a P�rez (president, 1985- 90). This scenario is replicated throughout the highlands and is at the core of virtually all such alterations in political boundaries. In most cases, the imbroglio develops as rural villagers, native Americans, and cholos vie for power with the mestizo townspeople who have dominated them for centuries.

The same struggle has accompanied the dramatic growth of greater Lima, to which migrants from the provinces have gone to seek access to power, as well as education and jobs. Understanding the political structure of Lima is in itself a study in the process of empowerment. The city of Lima is actually a collection of municipalities. Instead of the two municipal districts of colonial time--Lima and R�mac--by 1961 Lima contained fifteen district municipalities, and by 1990 it had grown to thirty-three, all the result of migration. Like all their provincial counterparts, each municipal district has its plaza, elected mayor and council, and municipal functions. The government of the province of Lima unites them and coordinates the metropolis as an urban entity. The rest of metropolitan Lima consists of the constitutional province of Callao, the old colonial port. Callao is fused with the capital by a continuous blanket of housing projects, squatter settlements, and industries through which one passes en route to Jorge Ch�vez International Airport from Lima. Even so, in early 1991 there were still small patches of irrigated farmland at the northern fringe of Callao Province, awaiting the next spurt of urban growth to engulf them.

The administrative system of departments, provinces, and districts is under the central authority of the national executive, that is, the president and prime minister. As such, the decisions and policy inevitably and ultimately descend from a government overwhelmed by the needs, demands, and power of Lima. The centralization of power is resented and regarded as anachronistic, a problem that has provoked debate since 1860 about the wisdom of decentralization and how it might be accomplished.

The reorganization decree promulgated by the Garc�a government in March 1987 put forth a plan to decentralize the nation and establish new administrative zones, regrouping the present twenty-four departments into twelve larger regions with legislative, administrative, and taxing powers. Interestingly, the names Inca, Wari (Huari), and Chav�n have been applied to areas where those ancient cultures once thrived. If the system becomes fully installed, it will dramatically alter Peru as a nation and would be the most significant change in structure since independence. In the early 1990s, few Peruvians yet understood how the new system would work or what its impact would be. Because of many uncertainties created by the unstable political and economic conditions of the 1980s, both the Congress and the government of President Alberto K. Fujimori (1990- ) postponed putting the full plan into effect, although some aspects of the program had begun.





A large part of Peru's complicated modern social system started with the hierarchical principles set down in colonial times that remain as powerful guidelines for intergroup and interpersonal behavior. Peru's ethnic composition, however, is mixed. In the early 1990s, Europeans of various background made up 15 percent of the population, Asians from Japan and China and Africans formed 3 percent, the mestizo population constituted 37 percent, and the native Americans made up 45 percent, according to various United States and British reference sources. However, it is difficult to judge the composition of the native population because census data have generally undercounted or frequently failed to identify ethnic groups successfully. Even using language as the primary criterion does not take bilingualism adequately into account and omits other aspects of cultural behavior altogether. Thus, although Cajamarca Department is 98- percent Spanish-speaking, the bulk of the rural population lives in a manner identical to those classified as native people because they speak Quechua. The question as to who is a native has been an oft-debated issue. But how the individual chooses to classify his or her cultural identity is determined by the forces of society that give ethnic terms their social meaning. Because of Peruvian society's longstanding negative attitudes and practices toward native peoples, persons who have become socially mobile seek to change their public identity and hence learning Spanish becomes critical. Denial of the ability to speak Quechua, Aymara, or other native languages often accompanies the switch.

Another separate dimension of the "Indian problem" so widely discussed by Peruvian essayists has to do with the natives living in the Selva and high Selva, or Monta�a, regions of the country. The tribal peoples have a tenuous and generally unhappy relationship with Peruvians and the state, evolved from long experience along the tropical frontier. The Incas and their predecessors ventured only into the fringes of the region called Antisuyu, and the Spanish followed their pattern. The inhabitants were known collectively as savages (chunchos). In documents they are politely referred to as jungle people (selv�colas or selv�ticos). Thought to be savage, wild, and dangerous but usually described as "simple" and innocent, they are also widely considered to possess uncanny powers of witchcraft and healing. Here, the sixteenth-century concept of the "noble savage" vies with equally old notions that these are lazy, useless people who need to get out of the way of progress. Indeed, modern currents of developmental change, the expanding drug trade, oil exploration, the clearing of the forest, and the search for gold in Madre de Dios Department have placed native peoples under great pressures for which they are little prepared. The Selva tribes, like native highlanders, Afro-Peruvians, and other people "of color," are those who feel the discriminatory power of the colonial legacy as well as modern stresses, especially if they are poor. In demographic terms, the impact of poverty and oppression has been, and remains, considerable. Thus, the mortality rates of native peoples and especially their children are much higher than those of the general population. Tribal peoples are still widely susceptible to numerous uncontrolled infectious diseases and outside the religious missions have little or no access to scientific medical care.

The tribal peoples of the lower Selva along the major rivers have endured the stress and danger of contact with outside forces longer than those groups located at the upper reaches of the streams. It is in these "refuge areas" that most of the present tribal populations survive. More than any other sector of the population, the rural peoples of the Selva, and especially the tribal groups, live at the fringe of the state both literally and figuratively, being uncounted, unserved, and vulnerable to those who would use the area as their own. According to anthropologist St�fano Varese, there are about 50 tribes numbering an estimated 250,000 persons and maintaining active communities, scattered principally throughout the departments of Loreto, Amazonas, Ucayali, Hu�nuco, and Madre de Dios. The national census, however, has lowered its estimates from 100,830 in 1961 to 30,000 in 1981 for the tribal peoples, even though field studies have not supported such conclusions.

In the Selva, tribal lands in the early 1990s were in even more jeopardy than the Quechua and Aymara farmland in the Sierra. Although community rights were acknowledged, if not respected, in the Andes, outsiders have virtually never accepted this fact in the case of the Amazonian peoples. Nevertheless, apparently many tribal societies, such as the Shipibo, have held their traditional hunting, fishing, and swidden lands in continuous usufruct for as long as 2,000 years. As a result of the land reforms under the Velasco government, however, laws established the land rights of Amazonian native communities. Consequently, some groups, such as the Cocama-Cocamilla, have been able to secure their agroecological base.

The Afro-Peruvians who came as slaves with the first wave of conquest remained in that position until released from it by Marshal Ram�n Castilla (1845-51, 1855-62) in 1854. During their long colonial experience, many Afro-Peruvians, especially the mulattos and others of mixed racial parentage, were freed to assume working-class roles in the coastal valleys. Even fewer blacks than Europeans settled in the highland towns and for virtually all the colonial epoch remained concentrated in the central coastal valleys. Lima's colonial population was 50 percent African during much of the era. Indeed, the term "criollo" was originally identified with native-born blacks and acquired much of its special meaning in association with urban, streetwise behavior. The social status of blacks in many ways paralleled that of the native Americans in rank and role in society.

Completing the human resource mix in Peru were the immigrants from Europe and Asia. The former arrived with the advantages of conquest; the latter arrived first as indentured laborers and later as Japanese and Taiwanese immigrants who pursued careers in truck farming, commerce, and business. The Chinese who were brought to Peru from Macao and other ports between 1849 and 1874 numbered about 90,000. The Chinese influx occurred in the same period as the United States' importation of Chinese coolies, and many of the latter were eventually shipped from San Francisco to Lima. Most Chinese eventually survived their indentures and took up residence in the coastal towns where they established themselves as active storekeepers and businesspeople. The growth of the Japanese presence in Peru began early in the twentieth century and quietly increased over the 1970-90 period. In 1990 Japanese immigrants constituted the largest foreign group in Peru and were rapidly integrating into Peruvian culture, gaining positions from president (Fujimori) to popular folk singer (the "Little Princess from Yungay"). In the middle range of Peruvian class structure, the Chinese and especially the Japanese have achieved status and mobility in ways the native peoples have not.

The key to understanding Peruvian society is to view aspects of its dynamic ethnoracial character as a set of variables that constantly interplays with socioeconomic factors associated with social class configurations. Thus, a native American might acquire the Spanish language, a university education, a large amount of capital, and a cosmopolitan demeanor, but still continue to be considered an indio (Indian) in many circles and thus be an unacceptable associate or marital companion. Yet, there is opportunity for socioeconomic mobility that permits ambitious individuals and families to ascend the hierarchy ranks in limited ways and via certain pathways. Such mobility is easier if one starts on the ladder as a mestizo or a foreigner, but especially if one is white.

<>Indigenous Peoples
<>Legacy of Peonage
<>Military Classes
<>Urban Classes


Peru - Indigenous Peoples


The word indio, as applied to native highland people of Quechua and Aymara origin, carries strong negative meanings and stereotypes among non-native Peruvians. For that reason, the ardently populist Velasco regime attempted with some success to substitute the term peasant (campesino) to accompany the many far-reaching changes his government directed at improving the socioeconomic conditions in the highlands. Nevertheless, traditional usage has prevailed in many areas in reference to those who speak native languages, dress in native styles, and engage in activities defined as native. Peruvian society ascribes to them a caste status to which no one else aspires.

The ingrained attitudes and stereotypes held by the mistikuna (the Quechua term for mestizo people) toward the runakuna (native people--the Quechua term for themselves) in most highland towns have led to a variety of discriminatory behaviors, from mocking references to "brute" or "savage" to obliging native Americans to step aside, sit in the back of vehicles, and in general humble themselves in the presence of persons of higher status. The pattern of ethnoracist denigration has continued despite all of the protests and reports, official policies, and compelling accounts of discrimination described in Peruvian novels published since the beginning of the twentieth century.

The regions and departments with the largest populations of native peoples are construed to be the most backward, being the poorest, least educated, and less developed. They are also the ones with the highest percentages of Quechua and Aymara speakers. The reasons for the perpetuation of colonial values with respect to autochthonous peoples is complex, being more than a simple perseverance of custom. The social condition of the population owes its form to the kinds of expectations embedded in the premises and workings of the nation's institutions. These are not easily altered. Spanish institutions of conquest were implanted into colonial life as part of the strategy for ruling conquered peoples: the indigenous people were defeated and captured and thus, as spoils of war, were as exploitable as mineral wealth or land. In the minds of many highland mestizos as well as betteroff urbanites, they still are.

Although the Spanish crown attempted to take stern control over civic affairs, including the treatment, role, and conditions of native Americans who were officially protected, the well-intended regulations were neither effective nor accepted by creole and immigrant interests. Power and status derived from wealth and position, considered not only to be in the form of money and property, but also coming from the authority to exercise control over others. Functionaries of the colonial regime paid for their positions so that they could exact the price of rule from their constituent populations. Encomenderos, corregidores, and the numerous bureaucrats all held dominion over segments of the native population and other castes, which were obliged to pay various forms of tribute. With the decline of the colonial administration and the failure of the many attempts at reform to control the abuses of the native peoples, Peru's political independence saw a transfer of power into the hands of Creoles and mestizos, the latter of whom comprised the majority of Peru's citizens in the early 1990s.

The growth of large estates with resident serf populations was an important feature of this transition period. The process benefited from the new constitutional policies decreeing the termination of the Indian community (Comunidad Indio)--the corporate units formerly protected by the crown. The subsequent breakup of hundreds of communities into individually owned properties led directly to these lands being purchased, stolen, or usurped by eager opportunists in the new society. The most critical native American franchise was thus lost as entire communities passed from a relatively free corporate status to one of high vulnerability, subject to the whims of absentee landlords. Although the development of haciendas occurred rapidly after the demise of the colonial regime, the system had long been in place, established through the assignment of property and people to benefit particular individuals for their service to the crown, to institutions such as the church, and to public welfare societies intended to offer succor to the poor by maintaining hospitals and orphanages. Debt peonage constituted the basic labor arrangement by which landlords of all types operated their properties nationwide. The system endured until it was abolished by the land reform of 1969.


Peru - Legacy of Peonage


Although a thing of the past, the numbing effects of four centuries of peonage on Peruvian society should not be underestimated. One archetypical Andean estate operated at Vicos, Ancash Department, from 1594 to 1952, before it became part of Peru's first land-reform experiment. The 17,000-hectare estate and the landlord's interests were managed by a local administrator, who employed a group of straw bosses, each commanding a sector of the property and directing the work and lives of the 1,700 peons (colonos) attached to the estate by debt. Dressed in unique homespun woolen clothing that identified them as vicosinos (residents of Vicos), each colono family lived in a house it built but did not own. Rather, it owed the estate three days of labor per week, and more if demanded, in exchange for a small subsistence plot and limited rights to graze animals on the puna. Grazing privileges were paid for by dividing the newborn animals each year equally between colono and landlord. For the work, a symbolic wage (temple) of twenty centavos (about two cents in United States currency of the time) and a portion of coca and alcohol were given to each peon. In addition, peons were obliged to provide other services on demand to the administrator and landlord, such as pasturing their animals, serving as maids and servants in their homes, running errands of all types, and providing all manner of labor from house construction to the repair of roads. The landlord might also rent his peons to others and pay no wage.

To enforce order on the estate, the administrator utilized "the fist and the whip." Vicos had its own jail to which colonos were sent without recourse to any legal process; fines, whippings, and other punishments could be meted out arbitrarily. As individuals, the colonos were subject to severe restrictions, not being allowed to venture outside of the district without permission, or to organize any independent activities except religious festivals, weddings, and funerals that took place in the hacienda's chapel and cemetery, only occasionally with clerical presence. The only community-initiated activities allowed were those under the supervision of the parish church.

Outside the protection of the estate, peons correctly felt themselves to be vulnerable to exploitation and feared direct contact with those mistikuna whom they regarded as dangerous, even to the extent of characterizing whites and powerful mestizos as pishtakos, mythical bogeymen who kill or rape natives. In protecting themselves from the threats of this environment, vicosinos, like tens of thousands of other colonos across the Andes, chose to employ the "weapons of the weak," by striking a low profile, playing dumb, obeying, taking few initiatives, and in general staying out of the way of mestizos and strangers they did not know, reserving their own pleasures and personalities for the company of family and friends.

Peonage under the hacienda functioned in a relatively standard fashion throughout Peru, with variations between the coastal plantations, on the one hand, and the highland estates and ranches, on the other. On some highland estates, conditions were worse than those described; in others they were not as restrictive or arbitrary. Although called haciendas, the coastal plantations were far more commercialized, being given to the production of goods for export or the large urban markets. Under these more fluid socioeconomic circumstances, the plantation workers, called yanaconas (after the Incan class of serfs called yanas), who permanently resided on the estates, also had access to subsistence plots. Moreover, they usually had "company" housing, schools, and access to other facilities specified under a signed labor contract often negotiated through worker unions.

Nevertheless, there were lingering connections to the highland manorial system. Because plantation crops, such as sugarcane and cotton, require a large labor force for harvests and planting, workers are seasonally recruited from the highland peasantry for these tasks. In some instances, owners of coastal plantations also possessed highland estates from which they might "borrow" the needed seasonal workers from among the colonos they already controlled in peonage and pay them virtually nothing. In most cases, however, the coastal plantations simply hired gangs of peasant farmers for the short term, using professional labor contractors to do the job. For thousands of young men, this became an important first experience away from their family and village, serving as a rite of passage into adulthood. It also constituted an important step for many in developing the labor and life skills needed to migrate permanently to the coast. Employment on the coastal plantations offered many opportunities to the highland farmer to use mechanized equipment and different tools, observe agricultural procedures guided by scientific principles and experts, and work for wages that greatly surpassed what they might earn in the villages. For most farm workers, it was the only chance to actually accumulate money.


Peru - Elites


Concentrated in the provincial, departmental, and national capitals, Peru's upper class was the other side of the coin of peonage. Whereas the Quechua or Aymara native population was powerless, submissive, and poor, the regional and national elites were Hispanic, dominant, and wealthy. The inheritors of colonial power quickly reaffirmed their political, social, and economic hegemony over the nation even though the Peruvian state itself was a most unstable entity until the presidency of Ram�n Castilla. They continued to strike the posture of conquerors toward the native peoples, justifying themselves as civilized, culto (cultured), and urbane, as well as gente decente (decent people), in the customary phrase of the provincial town. Such presumption of status is a powerful but unwritten code of entitlement. It permits one to expect to have obedient servants, to be deferred to by those of lesser station, and to be the first to enjoy opportunity, services of the state, and whatever resources might be available.

The modern national upper classes of Peru are today a more diverse population than was the case even at the end of the nineteenth century. They have remained essentially identified with the Costa, even though they have controlled extensive property in the highlands and Selva. Nevertheless, these elites are highly conscious of class integrity as social life unfolds in the context of private clubs and specialized economic circles. The predilection of the upper-class families to show the strength of their lineages is revealed not only in the use of full names, which always contain both one's father's and mother's last names in that order, but also the apellidos (last names) of important grandparental generations. Thus, magazine society pages report names like Jos� Carlos Prado Fernandini Beltr�n de Espantoso y Ugarteche, in which only Prado is the last name in the American sense. Use of the family pedigree to demonstrate rank is common among the elite when the names are clearly associated with wealth and power.

As Peruvians have become more cosmopolitan, foreign names from Britain, Italy, Austria, and Germany have appeared with increasing frequency among those claiming upper-class credentials, leading to the conclusion that it is easier to reach elite status from outside Peru than to ascend from within the society. There are, of course a number of families who can trace their lineages to the colonial period. However, families of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century immigrants constitute about 40 percent of Peru's most elite sector, indicating a surprising openness to cosmopolitan mobility. In a 1980s list of Peru's national elite containing over 250 family names, for example, only one of clearly Quechua origins could be identified.

The racial composition of the upper class is predominantly white, although a few mestizos are represented, especially at regional levels. The social structure of the country follows a Lima-based model. The national upper class is located almost exclusively in the province of Lima, the second strata of elites is provincial, residing in the old principal regional cities, such as Arequipa, Trujillo, and Cusco, but not in Huancayo, Chimbote, or Juliaca, whose populations are predominantly of highland mestizo and cholo origins. Upper-class status in provincial life generally does not equate with the same levels in Lima, but rather to a middle level in the national social hierarchy.

Traditionally, the upper classes based their power and wealth on rural land ownership and secondarily on urban industrial forms of investment. This situation has changed in part through the rise of business, industry, banking, and political opportunities, and also because of the Agrarian Reform Law of 1969, which forced dramatic changes in land tenure patterns. It was, however, a change as difficult to make as any that could be imagined: the fabled landed oligarchy greatly feared any alterations in its property rights, which included the colonos and yanaconas attached to both highland and coastal estates. Their control over Peru's power, purse, and peasantry bordered on the absolute until the second half of the twentieth century, when the great highland migrations took hold of coastal cities and industrial growth exploded. Ensuing social and political demands could no longer be managed from behind the traditional scenes of power.

Vested interests of the landed upper class were ensconced in the National Agrarian Association (Sociedad Nacional Agraria-- SNA). Until the first government of Fernando Bela�nde, it had been impossible to discover just what the property and investment interests of this group were because government files on these subjects were closed and, indeed, had never been publicly scrutinized. All of this changed abruptly after the peasant land invasions of estates in 1963, when the need for solutions overcame the secrecy. In 1966 economic historian Carlos Malpica Silva Santisteban identified the landed oligarchy as a relatively small group, with 190 families owning 54 percent of the irrigated coast and 36 families or persons holding 63 percent of titled land in the Selva, for a total of over 3 million hectares. In the highlands, the data were similar in content but hard to verify.

Although upper-class wealth was founded on rural properties, it is evident that elite urban, mining, and industrial interests were also extensive. An indefatigable compiler of data on Peru's elites, Malpica annotated an extensive catalog of modern business and banking concerns showing the concentration of economic control in the hands of a tiny group of elite families, many being familiar traditional members of the oligarchy, now deprived of their land base by the agrarian reform. Of the seventy-nine families holding significant blocks of shares in the twelve principal insurance and banking operations in 1989, almost 50 percent were descended from the aforementioned European immigrant groups. Despite this Eurocentric trend, descendants of Japanese and Chinese immigrants have also entered the economic elites, if not with the equivalent social status. At least one Chinese-Peruvian family, which holds substantial banking, commercial, and industrial investments, descends from immigrants who arrived as indentured laborers in the nineteenth century.


Peru - Military Classes


The militarily connected population has developed into a significant national sector. Playing an ever more important social role, los militares (the military) have, in effect, emerged as a subsociety, with special attributes and arrangements that set them apart from other social classes as a powerful special interest elite, with its own allegiances and identity, sense of mission, and objectives developed in coherent, relatively independent ways from other national policy and planning processes. No other groups within the population, with the possible exception of the cabals of the oligarchy, can be so characterized.

The people involved in ancillary activities--military industries, medical services, civilian business managers and employees, service and maintenance personnel, in addition to members of family networks who benefit from having one of their number in the armed forces--probably approach 1 million, or 4 percent of the nation's population. The military domain commands 20 percent of central government expenditures, 5 percent more than education, the next largest share of the national budget, and much more than health services, which claimed 5.8 percent in 1988. Indeed, Peru's military expenditures of US$106 per capita exceeded three times the average expenditure per capita of all other South American nations in 1988. Over a twenty-year period, the military budget gained 38 percent in its share of the national budget, whereas education dropped by 35 percent and health gained by less than 5 percent since 1972.

Professionalization has involved areas that few have analyzed but that constitute the major reward system for professional career officers and noncommissioned personnel. These are the elaborate infrastructure and exclusive services for personnel and their families, including beach resorts and hotels, consumer discount cooperatives, casinos and clubs, schools of several types and levels, hospitals and general medical services, insurance coverages, recreational facilities, and a variety of other programs. In addition, there are extensive housing subdivisions in Lima for the officer corps and other military employees, named for the military branches that they serve. There are special retirement provisions and a plethora of other benefits for members of military that are unavailable to others in the society at large.

The sphere of military activities includes an extremely active internal social calendar of commemorative events that have the function of bonding the members and their families more tightly to group interests. In sum, the Peruvian military constitutes a virtually encapsulated society within the larger one and competes with advantage for the public funds vis-�-vis other interests by operating its own industries, sponsoring its own research and advanced study, and engaging in civic-action programs that often replicate the assigned work of civilian institutions, such as the Ministry of Agriculture. Consequently, the ubiquitous and well-established institutions of military society pervade Peruvian life at every turn and are regarded with skepticism by many who see them as depriving civilian needs of essential resources.


Peru - Urban Classes


Between the extremes of wealth and power represented by the white upper class and the native caste is the predominantly mestizo and cholo population, which largely comprises the lower and middle sectors of rural and urban society. These are the most numerous and diverse sectors, constituting the core of Peruvian national society in culture, behavior, and identity. Together, these sectors include a wide range of salaried workingclass families, persons in business and commercial occupations, bureaucrats, teachers, all military personnel (except those related to elite families), medical, legal, and academic professionals, and so forth. In terms of occupation, residence, education, wealth, racial, and ethnic considerations, the population is diverse, with few clear-cut markers differentiating one segment from another. Yet, there are obvious differences among the regions of the country that combine with those indicators to suggest a person's social position in relation to others. The importance of the regions derives from the fact that the urban and rural areas of the Sierra are, as a whole, measurably poorer than the Costa and Selva, and the various occupational groups less well-off in proportion. As in the case of the provincial upper class, being middle class in the regional context does not necessarily mean the same thing in the capital, although being marked as lower class would translate to the same category in Lima or Trujillo.

An important study by anthropologist Carlos E. Aramburu and his colleagues in 1989 provides a graphic outline of how levels of living vary throughout the nation. Analyzing the 1981 census, they ranked the 153 provinces on the basis of five variables: the proportion of households without any modern household appliance; the average per capita income; the percentage of illiterate women over fifteen years of age; the number of children between six and nine years of age who regularly worked; and the rate of infant mortality. These indicators were representative of involvement in the economy, participation in state-operated institutions, and access to health services, each of which is critical for marking advances in the level of living from the perspective of the modern state. Only 9 of the 100 highland provinces were represented among those in the top two levels of wealth, and only Arequipa was in the top rank. In contrast to the Selva provinces, which lacked any rank, eighteen of the twenty-eight coastal provinces registered in the top third of provinces according to wealth. At the other end of the scale, all but three of the poorest fifty-three provinces with 20 percent of the population were in the highlands, and none were on the coast. These data, when juxtaposed with the distribution of monolingual Quechua and Aymara speakers, confirm the poverty status of Peru's native population at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale.

Thus, the provincial upper classes, with few exceptions, do not equate with the Lima-based national elite, whose socioeconomic position is vastly enhanced by their status as Lima residents and, subsequently, by their international connections. The same can be said for the other middle and lower sectors of the provincial population in comparison to Lima. In a very real sense then, Peru has two levels of class structure layered in between the national extremes of the oligarchic elites and the rural native peasantry: one in the context of Lima's primacy, the other with reference to the rest of the nation.

Although the role of racial phenotypes and associated ethnic behaviors is clearly seen at the extreme poles of Peruvian society, it is somewhat obscured in the middle sectors. In general, the more closely one approximates the ideal of Euro-American appearance, the greater the social prestige and status derived. On the other hand, Peru is a country whose majority population is darker skinned, with distinctive facial and bodily features. The varied shades of meaning attached to the designations mestizo and cholo are as much socioeconomic and cultural in import as they are racial. Thus, in the Peruvian vernacular phrase, "money whitens" one's self-concept and expectations.

With other non-native groups, such as the Japanese, Chinese, and Afro-Peruvians, status and class considerations are structured somewhat differently, yet exhibit the same tendencies toward ethnoracist marking. Just how strongly stereotypes have prevailed over facts was witnessed by the 1990 presidential election of the Japanese-Peruvian Alberto Fujimori, who was constantly referred to as el chinito (the little Chinaman). Racial terms are frequently employed in normal discourse in ways that many foreigners find uncomfortable. Afro-Peruvians are referred to as zambos negritos, or more politely as morenos (browns). In many instances, this terminology implies behavioral expectations and stereotypes, and yet in others the same term is simply used as an impartial means of description.




Much has been said about kinship and family in Latin America. The "Peruvian family" is of course not a homogeneous entity, but rather reflects both ethnic and socioeconomic factors. If there is a generalization to be made, however, it is that families in Peru, no matter what their status, show a high degree of unity, purpose, and integration through generations, as well as in the nuclear unit. The average size for families for the nation as a whole is 5.1 persons per household, with the urban areas registering slightly more than this and, contrary to what might be expected, rural families, especially in the highlands, being smaller, with a national average size of 4.9 persons. This apparent anomaly runs counter to the expected image of the rural family. This is because the highland families that constitute the bulk of rural households have been deeply affected by the heavy migration of their members to the cities, coastal farms, and Selva colonizations.

The roles of the different family members and sexes tend to follow rather uniform patterns within social class and cultural configurations. In terms of family affairs, Hispanic Peruvian patterns are strongly centered on the father as family head, although women increasingly occupy this titular role in rural as well as urban areas, amounting to 20 percent of all households. As is the pattern in other countries, women have increasingly sought wage and salaried work to meet family needs. This, coupled with the fact that social and economic stress has forced a departure from the traditionally practiced versions, the patriarchal family is gradually losing its place as the model of family life. Contributing to these changes are the neolocality of nuclear families living in cities and the loss of male populations in rural areas through migration and various povertyrelated conditions that lead men to abandon their families. Families are patricentric, and the male head of household is considered the authority. His wife follows him in this respect, yet exercises considerable control over her own affairs with respect to property and marketing. This gender and lineage hierarchy is to be seen as families walk single-file to market, each carrying their bundles, the husband leading the way, followed by his wife and then the children.

In many Quechua communities, the ancient kinship system of patrilineages (called kastas in some areas) survives. It is thought to have been the basis for the Incaic clan village, the ayllu. In a patrilineal system, wives belong to their father's lineage and their children to their father's side of the family tree. This differs from the Hispanic system, which is bilateral, that is, including one's mother's kin as part of the extended family, as in the British system. Where the native Americans follow a patrilineal system, families are at once at odds with the formal requirement of Peruvian law, which demands the use of both paternal and maternal names as part of one's official identity, thus forcing the bilateral pattern on them.

In many Hispanic mestizo homes, fathers often exercise strong authoritarian roles, controlling the family budget, administering discipline, and representing the group interest to the external world. Mothers in these homes, on the other hand, often control and manage the internal affairs in the household, assigning tasks to children and to the female servant(s) present in virtually every urban middle- and upper-class home. For children school is de rigueur, and the more well-to-do, the more certain it is that they attend a private school, where the educational standards approach or equal good schools in other countries. The home is prized and well-cared for, with patios and yards protected by glass-studded walls and, in recent years, by electrical devices to keep out thieves.

The lower-class household in the urban areas--such as Lima, Trujillo, or Arequipa--presents the other side of this coin. In metropolitan Lima, 7 percent of the population lives in a tugurio (inner-city barrio) and 47 percent in a squatter settlement. The older pueblos jovenes erected in the 1950s had the look in 1990 of concrete middle-class permanency, with electricity, water, and sewerage. The newer invaded areas, however, had a raw and dusty look: housing appeared ramshackle, made of bamboo matting (esteras) and miscellaneous construction materials scrounged from any available source. Here, as in the tugurios, the domestic scene reveals a constant scramble for existence: the men generally leave at the crack of dawn to travel via long bus routes to reach work sites, often in heavy construction, where without protective gear, such as hard hats or steel-toed shoes, they haul iron bars and buckets of cement up rickety planks and scaffolding. With an abundance of men desperate for work, modern buildings are raised more with intensive labor than machinery.

Women's roles in the squatter settlements cover a wide variety of tasks, including hauling water from corner spigots and beginning the daily preparation of food over kerosene stoves. In the 1975-91 period, the food supply for substantial numbers of the urban lower class in Lima and other coastal cities came from the United States Food for Peace (Public Law 480) programs administered by private voluntary organizations. Women also keep their wide-ranging family members connected, seeking the food supply with meager funds, and doing various short-term jobs for cash. According to social scientist Carol Graham, the poor urban areas have a high percentage of female-headed households, as well as a large number of abandoned mothers who are left with the full responsibility for supporting their households and raising the children.

Urban Informal Sector

In 1990 the vast "informal sector" of Lima's economy was the most striking feature of its commercial life. There, 91,000 street vendors, 54 percent of them women, sold food in the streets or public squares of central Lima or the residential area of Miraflores, the upscale mecca of the city. Street vendors have been a part of Lima life and culture since early colonial times, and the city government has persistently attempted to remove them to fixed market places. Nevertheless, street commerce in Lima throughout the colonial period and until the twentieth century was generally regarded as a colorful, folkloric aspect of urban life and was often depicted in period paintings and descriptions. Since the great migrations began in the early 1950s, however, the city elites have come to disdain the street vendors who swarm over the R�mac Bridge every afternoon. As Hernando de Soto has abundantly documented in El otro sendero (The Other Path), this freewheeling entrepreneurial sector of the labor force was, in the 1980s, producing the equivalent of almost 40 percent of the national income. As "unregistered" business, this activity is outside the control of the national economic institutions, whose cumbersome and often corrupt bureaucratic regulations stifle initiatives, especially if one lacks resources to pay all the bribes and formal start-up costs. In the circumstances of 1991, the public need to participate in the economy had, in essence, neutralized and bypassed the official system.

Domestic Servants

The urban middle-class family without servants is incomplete. Although household servants constitute a major element in the urban informal economic sector, they are rarely analyzed as part of it. The retaining, training, disciplining, or recruiting of domestic help is constantly in progress under the supervision of the wife of the household head. One of the most common sights in Lima is therefore the small printed sign in front of houses reading "Se necesita muchacha" ("girl needed").

There is a constant flow of young highland migrant women to urban areas, and a very large portion of them seek domestic positions on first arriving in Lima. Although census figures were dated, it appeared that about 18 percent of all women employed in metropolitan Lima in 1990 were domestic servants. Domestic service work of course pays poorly, and social and sexual abuse appear often to accompany such employment. Nevertheless, in the absence of other alternatives, migrant women find these jobs temporarily useful in providing "free" housing and a context for learning city life, while also having some opportunity to attend night school to learn a profession, such as tailoring or cosmetology, two of the more popular fields. As domestic work has been increasingly regulated, the term empleada (employee) has begun to replace the use of muchacha as the term of reference. Over the 1960-91 period, households have been obliged to permit servants to attend school and to cover other costs, such as social security.


Family life at all levels of society is nourished by an ample number of ceremonial events marking all rites of passage, such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or important religious events, such as baptisms, confirmations, and marriages. Family life is thus marked by small fiestas celebrating these events and passages. In this context, Peruvians have greatly elaborated the Roman Catholic tradition of godparenthood (padrinazgo) to encompass more occasions than simply celebration of the sacraments of the church, although following the same format. The parties involved include the child or person sponsored in the ceremony, the parents, and the godparents who are the sponsors and protectors. The primary relationship in this triad is between the godchild (ahijado) and the godparents (padrinos). The secondary bond of compadrazgo is between the parents and godparents who after the ceremony will forever mutually call each other compadre or comadre. For the child, the relationship with the godparents is expected to be one of benefit, with the padrinos perhaps assisting with the godchild's education, finding employment, or, at the least, giving a small gift to the child from time to time. For the compadres, there is the expectation of a formalized friendship, one in which favors may be asked of either party.

Ritual sponsorship has two dimensions with respect to its importance to family and community. On the one hand, the mechanism can be utilized to solidify social and family relations within a small cluster of relatives and friends, which is generally the case for families concerned with enclosing their social universe for various reasons. Among the top upper class, it may provide a way of concentrating power relations, business interests, or wealth; among the Indian caste, the inward selection of compadres may follow the need to protect one's access to fields or to guarantee a debt. On the other hand, many families deliberately choose compadres from acquaintances or relatives who can assist in socioeconomic advancement. In this fashion, the original religious institution has lent itself to social needs in a dynamic and flexible manner. In the more closed type of community setting, there are only five or six occasions for which godparents are selected; among more socially mobile groups, there may be as many as fifteen or more ways in which a family may gain compadres. Thus, it would not be unusual for the parents of a family with four children to count as many as forty or more different compadres. In a more conservative setting, the number might be less than ten for a similar family.

Rural Family and Household

The Andean peasantry, often maligned by those who discriminate against them as being lazy and poor workers, are the reverse of the stereotype. The peasant family begins its day at dawn with the chores of animal husbandry, cutting the eucalyptus firewood, fetching water, and a plethora of other domestic tasks. Field work begins with a trek to the often distant chacras, which may be located at a different altitude from the home and require several hours to reach. Where chacras are very distant from the home, farmers maintain rough huts in which to store tools or stay for several days. Andean peasants of all ages and both sexes lead rigorous lives, hustling about steep pathways carrying loads of firewood, produce, and tools on their backs.

Although horses and mules are of greater market value than burros, they are more expensive to maintain, and thus burros are the most common beasts of burden in most of the highlands. Native Andean llamas and alpacas are commonly found in the central and southern Andes, where they are still widely used for transport, wool, and meat. Peasant women and girls, although carrying a burden, perpetually keep their hands at work spinning wool to be hand woven by local artisans into clothing, blankets, and ponchos. Although there are few who approach full selfsufficiency in the Andes (and none on the coast), the Andean peasantry make, repair, invent, and adapt most of their tools; they also prepare food from grain they have harvested and animals they have raised and butchered.

Although modern amenities and appliances have found their way into most nonfarm households, the rural poor by necessity must conduct their affairs without these instruments of pleasure and work. Even though consumer items--such as electric irons, blenders (especially useful for making baby food), televisions, and radiocassette tape players--are keenly desired, surveys have shown that 25 percent of all Peruvian households possess none of these things. The great majority of households (more than 50 percent) lacking modern appliances were in the rural areas of the Andes. The contributions of many hands, therefore, are vital to the rural economy and household. The same survey by Carlos Aramburu and his associates also showed that the poorest and most rural areas were also the provinces that in demographic terms had the highest dependency ratios (the largest number of persons--the very young and the aged--who were only limited participants in the labor force). Consequently, the loss of youth to migration cuts deeply into the productive capacity of hundreds of families and their communities. In those districts in the central highlands especially, where the Shining Path has been active since the early 1980s, the absolute decline in work force numbers has left a third of the houses empty, fields in permanent fallow, and irrigation works in disrepair, losses which Peru could ill afford in view of its declining agricultural production and great dependency on imported foodstuffs, even in rural areas.

These demographic changes also threaten other community and family institutions like the use of festive and exchange-labor systems (minka and ayni, respectively) that have been such an integral part of the traditional peasant farm tradition. The minka involves a family working side by side with relatives and neighbors to plant or harvest, often with the accompaniment of musicians and always with ample basic food supplied by the hosts. On some occasions, invited workers may request token amounts of the harvest. Exchange labor, or ayni, is the fulfillment of an obligation to return the labor that someone else has produced. The communities of peasant farmers, whether native or cholo, utilize these mechanisms to augment family labor at critical times. Minka work crews, however, are often inefficient and overly festive, and their hosts are unable to keep activities task-oriented on a late afternoon. As a consequence, farmers who are mainly concerned with monetary profitability, tend to utilize paid temporary workers instead of the minka, whose ceremonial aspects are distracting. On the other hand, the purpose of the minka is obviously social and communal, as well as economic. Family economic activity in rural communities has invariably relied primarily on unpaid family labor, augmented by periodic cooperative assistance from relatives and neighbors to handle larger seasonal tasks.




The importance of developing and maintaining effective intracommunity relationships underlies many of the kinship traditions that are universal in Andean and Peruvian family life in small towns. Throughout the Andes, there has been a constant need for peasants to retain strong interpersonal and family bonds for significant socioeconomic reasons. For centuries the peasantry suffered the constant loss of land until the Agrarian Reform Law of 1969 reversed the pattern. The stronger a community is tied together, the greater has been its ability to defend its interests against usurpers, a fact often shown in ethnographic studies throughout the region.

By practice and reputation, Andean villages and towns often enjoy reputations for cohesiveness, community action, and the good, simple life. The tight social relationships in Peru's towns and villages, peasant communities, and small cities, however, are not necessarily based on "rural" or agricultural needs and a positive community spirit. Even in small populations where everyone knows everyone else, or knows about them, there can be marked ethnic and social class differences and rivalries that afford many opportunities for disagreement and feuds. Although people share their culture, values, and participation in a community, family interests often clash over property ownership and chacra boundaries, local politics, and any of the myriad reasons why people might not like each other. Thus, small town life can be difficult when conflicts erupt: "pueblo chico, infierno grande" ("small town, big hell") is the expression used. There are, therefore, two contradicting images of small town life: one bucolic, tranquil, and good natured; the other, petty and conflictive. Both images are rooted in fact.


Peru - Catholicism and Community


Like many Latin American nations, Peru's predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, which after 460 years has remained a powerful influence in both state affairs and daily activities. Church activities and personnel are, of course, centered in Lima, symbolically located on the east side of the Plaza de Armas to one side of the National Palace and the Municipality of Lima, which occupy the north and west quarters, respectively, of the central square from which all points in Peru are measured. The ceremonial functions of the state are integrated into the rites of the church, beginning with the inauguration of the president with high mass in the cathedral, Holy Week events, and the observances of major Peruvian saints' days and festivals, such as that of Santa Rosa de Lima (Saint Rose of Lima) and others. The institutional role of the church was established with conquest and the viceroyalty, but since independence it has slowly declined through losing its exclusive control over the domains of education, maintenance of vital statistics, marriages, and the organization of daily life around church rites. Nevertheless, the ceremonial aspects of the Catholic religion, moral dictates, and values are profoundly embedded in Peruvian culture; parish priests and bishops play active roles in local affairs where they are present.

The policies of the church historically have been considered as very conservative, and the various parishes and bishoprics were great landlords, either managing their properties directly or renting them to other elites. Church districts with such properties were eagerly sought by ambitious clergy, many of whom even gained dubious reputations as hacendados. Throughout the highlands, the priesthood actively carried the colonial legacy in its dealings with the Quechua and Aymara peoples until the decade of the 1950s, when many foreign priests, notably the Maryknolls in Puno, began introducing substantial changes in these traditional patterns. Part of this development resulted in the emergence of a strongly populist and social activist theme among many clergy, such as Gustavo Guti�rrez, whose 1973 book, A Theology of Liberation, was perhaps to have greater political impact outside of Peru than in it. The changes, however, were considerable, and many priests and nuns worked to assist the poor in ways that marked a turnabout in both style and concept of duty from a short generation before. Although the Peruvian priesthood has been thus invigorated, the church remains unable to fill a large percentage of its parishes on a regular basis, in part because of the demand for clergy in Lima and the other coastal cities.

Roman Catholicism, as the official state religion, has played a major role in Peruvian culture and society since conquest, with every village, town, and city having its official church or cathedral, patron saint, and special religious days, which are celebrated annually. These kinds of activities are focal events for reaffirming social identity and play key roles in the life of all types and sizes of community. Participation in these events is spurred by both religious devotion and desire to serve in community functions for prestige and perhaps political purposes. The most notable of these activities are the patronal festivals that each settlement annually celebrates. Costs for these affairs vary greatly, depending on the size of the town or community. In the case of large cities like Ica or Cusco, expenses are impressive. To underwrite the costs, localities have each developed their own methods of "taxation," although none would call it that. The most common method is to obtain "volunteers," who agree to serve as festival sponsors, called mayordomos, who can enlist their family members to aid in the work of organizing and paying for community-wide celebrations. In small places, the mayordomo and his or her family may handle the costs within the group, even going into debt to do things properly. In large towns and cities, the festivals are often sponsored by the municipal government as well as the church, with mayordomos serving in only limited capacities. In many towns, there is a religious brotherhood (hermandad) or other organization that also takes part in this fashion. Peru's largest religious celebration, the Se�or de los Milagros, which takes place in Lima during the month of October each year, is largely funded by the brotherhood of the Se�or de los Milagros.

In communities that maintain strong native cultural traditions, Roman Catholicism is intricately mixed with facets of Incaic beliefs and practices. The native populations hold firm animistic notions about the spirits and forces found in natural settings, such as the great snowpeaks where the apus (lords of sacred places) dwell. Many places are seen as inherently dangerous, emanating airs or essences that can cause illness, and are approached with care. The Incas and other Andean peoples revered the inti (sun) and pacha mama (earth mother), as well as other gods and the principal ancestral heads of lineages. The Spaniards, in converting the people to Catholicism, followed a deliberate strategy of syncretism that was used throughout the Americas. This process sought to substitute Christian saints for local deities, often using existing temple sites as the location of churches. Many of the biblical lessons and stories were conveyed through dramatic reenactments of those events at fiestas that permitted people to memorize the tales and participate in the telling. Thousands of Andean fiestas are based on such foundations.

The annual celebrations of village patron saints' days often coincide with important harvest periods and are clearly reinterpretations of preconquest harvest observances disguised as Catholic feast days. In the south highlands, among such pastoral peoples as those of Q'eros, Cusco preserves many ancestral practices and lifeways. Elaborate rites to promote the fertility of their llama and alpaca herds are still undertaken. In other communities, religious rites that evoke natural and spiritual forces require sacrifices of animals, such as llamas or guinea pigs, the spillage of chicha or alcohol on sacred ground, or the burying of coca and other ritual items to please the apus or the pacha mama. In numerous highland areas, the Spanish introduced the Mediterranean custom of blood sports, such as bullfighting, bullbaiting, and games of horsemanship in which riders riding at full gallop attempt to wring the necks of fowl or condors. Jos� Mar�a Arguedas recounts these practices in his famous 1941 novel, Yawar Fiesta.

Andean religious practices conform to the sociocultural divisions of Peruvian society, with the Hispanicized coastal cities following general Roman Catholic practices, and the Andean towns and villages reflecting the syncretisms of conquest culture, which endure as strong elements in modern belief and worldview. The importance of these events is considerable because they evoke outpourings of devotion and emotional expressions of belief, while giving opportunity for spiritual renewal. They also function to tie the population together in their common belief and allegiance to the immortal figure of the saint or apu, and thus constitute important bonding mechanisms for families and neighborhoods. From the major celebrations--such as those of two specifically Peruvian saints, Santa Rosa of Lima and San Mart�n of Porres (Saint Martin of Porres)--to the dozens of important regional figures, such as the Virgin de la Puerta (Virgin of the Door) in La Libertad Department and the revered saints and crosses in village chapels, these feast days have a singular role in social life. Indeed, not only do settlements have religious allegiances, but so, too, do public institutions. For example, the armed forces celebrate the day of their patroness, the Virgen de las Mercedes (Virgin of the Mercedes--Our Lady of Ransom), with pomp and high-level participation around the country.

Since about 1970, Protestantism has been winning converts in Peru at a relatively rapid rate among the urban poor and certain Indian populations. Yet, Peruvians, like those in other Andean countries, have not been as receptive to Protestant entreaties to convert as have people in Central America. According to one study, only about 4.5 percent of Peruvians can be counted as Protestants, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) forming about a quarter of the number and the rest belonging to various other groups. To many, the appeal of Protestantism comes in reaction to the kinds of ceremonial obligations that have accompanied Roman Catholic practice and the failure of the traditional church to address adequately the pressing issues that were problems among the poor.

Most intensive Protestant missionary attention has been directed toward the tribal peoples of the Amazon Basin, where the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), Wycliffe Bible Translators, and similar evangelical groups have long worked. In particular, the SIL has occupied a peculiar position in Peru through its long-running contracts with the Ministry of Education to educate the numerous tribes, such as the Shipibo, and assist the government in developing linguistically correct texts for several groups. Nevertheless, nationalistic public reaction to the SIL's activities has provoked many attempts to force the organization out of Peru. Because the force behind the evangelical movements emanates largely from the United States and because Roman Catholicism is the official state religion, there have been occasional hints of loyalist hostility with respect to zealous proselytizing.

Catholic cults have also bloomed throughout Lima's squatter settlements. The role of religion and the fact that the people themselves generate institutions of worship with relatively little external guidance is yet another expression of the migrants' striving for a sense of community in the difficult circumstances of Lima's squatter settlements.


Peru - Community Leadership


Throughout the highlands, there are vestiges of the colonial civic and religious organizations of "indirect rule" originally implanted by Spanish officials. Where they survive in Peru, principally in Indian communities, there are networks of villages tied together in an association broadly supervised by a parish priest or his surrogate. The village religious leaders, who are called by various names such as alcaldes ped�neos (lesser mayors) and varayoq or envarados (staff bearers), plan and carry out elaborate yearly festival cycles involving dozens of lesser special lay religious authorities. Often referred to as carrying a "burden" or responsibility (cargo), all of these village officials are selected annually by elaborate systems of prestige rankings based on prior experience and local values of devotion, honesty, reputation for work, and capacity to underwrite the costs of office.

The principal officials in these hierarchies carry holy staffs of office, often made of chonta (tucuma) palm wood brought from the tropics and adorned with silver relics and symbols. The additional duties of the varayoq include the supervision of village morals, marriage, and the application of informal justice to offenders of village norms. Although specifically outlawed in several of Peru's older constitutions, the system has endured throughout the highlands. Changes have occurred, however, when communities, under pressures to modernize, abolished the varayoq institution. In other cases, the system has evolved into a more formal political apparatus, leaving the religious activities in the hands of the parish priest, lay brotherhoods, and other devotees. The multicommunity Peasant Patrols (rondas campesinas) in the highlands have acted as informal but powerful self-defense forces controlling rustling and, beginning in the 1980s, the intrusion of unwanted revolutionaries like the Shining Path. In aspects of their orientation and organization, they may aspire to resemble the varayoq as moral authorities.

The formal political and social organization of Peruvian towns and cities of course follows the outlines laid down in the constitution of 1979 and various laws enacted by the Congress. One of the somewhat confusing arrangements, however, pertains to the officially constituted corporate community enterprises, the Peasant Communities, and their offshoots--such as the Social Interest Agrarian Association (Sociedad Agr�cola de Inter�s Social--SAIS) and the Social Property Enterprises (Empresas de Propiedad Social--EPS). There is disagreement over how these entities fit into the community and political picture because their constituencies overlap with the political divisions. The districts and provinces are political subdivisions with elected mayors and council members charged with administering their areas. Corporate communities are a form of agrarian cooperative business that own inalienable land, with memberships that are not necessarily restricted to a single residential unit like a town.

The Peasant Communities and other units conduct their affairs through a president, as well as administrative and vigilance committees elected by the general assembly of the membership. Community property and members (comuneros) are within the administrative domains of districts and provinces for all other civic purposes. In some areas, the boundaries of the Peasant Communities coincide with those of a district, as is frequently the case in the Mantaro Valley. In other areas, community lands occupy only a portion of the district; there may also be two separate Peasant Communities within a district, or districts with residents who do not belong to the corporate organization.

Members of Peasant Communities and other corporate groups constitute about 30 percent of all rural people and therefore have been a significant factor in economic and political affairs throughout the highlands and in some areas of the Costa, where the former plantations passed into workers' hands after 1969. On the coast, there have long been linkages between worker unions and the regional political powers, but in the Sierra these ties have not developed strongly. The exception is in the central highland department of Jun�n and in the southern department of Puno, where in the 1980s there were powerful, organized movements based on Peasant Communities and independent small farmers groups allied with political parties. The influence of these groups was, for the most part, localized.


Peru - Landlords and Peasant Revolts in the Highlands


In the great majority of highland provinces, political and economic leadership and power were based on traditional social elites, a landlord class that controlled the haciendas and, thus, very large proportions of the rural poor. In these contexts, powerful landlords (terratenientes) manipulated political affairs, either by themselves holding positions of authority, such as the prefectures, municipal offices, and key government posts, or influencing those who did. A tradition of ruthlessness, greed, and abuse is associated with this system (gamonalismo) throughout Peru. A gamonal is a person to be feared because he has extraordinary and extralegal powers to protect his interests and act against others. Although the agrarian reform of 1969 did much to cut this power, local affairs in many districts and provinces have remained under such domination, to the deep resentment of the rural poor, who most directly feel its consequences.

Since the late nineteenth century, various regional movements have arisen to address abuse. Historian Wilfredo K�psoli Escudero had documented thirty-two peasant revolts and movements from 1879 to 1965, a number that is not exhaustive but which contradicts the view that Peru's native peasantry was passive in accepting its serfdom. Characteristically, virtually all of these efforts were specifically directed against the abuses of gamonales and hacendados, at least in their initial phases. The forces in the 1885 Ancash uprising, led by Pedro Pablo Atuspar�a, an alcalde ped�neo from a village near Huaraz, eventually captured and held the Callej�n de Huaylas Valley for several months before federal troops reclaimed it.

Most peasant revolts were not as dramatic, but all testified to the burgeoning feelings of frustration, anger, and alienation that had built up over the centuries. In part, this anger and frustration stemmed from the fact that native American communities had been deprived of their communal holdings after national independence, which meant that extensive holdings passed from community control to private elite interests. Demands for redress of this situation led to the reestablishment of the official Indian Community in 1920 during the second presidency of Augusto B. Legu�a (1919-30). Subsequently, communities that could prove they at one time had held colonial title to land were permitted to repossess it, a long and arduous bureaucratic process in which the most successful communities were those with active migrants in Lima who could lobby the government.

Another response was President Manuel A. Odr�a's (1948-56) sanctioning of the Cornell-Peru project in which the Ministry of Labor and Indian Affairs, in collaboration with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, would conduct a demonstration of community development and land reform at Hacienda Vicos in Ancash Department, starting in 1952. It was Peru's first such development program and received extensive publicity around the country. This situation provoked consternation among landlords and elite interests, which purposefully delayed the conclusion of the project. The colonos of Vicos became an independent community in 1962, when they were finally permitted to purchase the estate they and their ancestors had cultivated for others for 368 years.

With its widespread publicity, the Vicos project helped to whet appetites for change. At that time, several hundred hacienda communities like Vicos were requesting similar projects and the freedom to purchase their lands. When the reluctant government of oligarch Manuel Prado y Ugarteche (1939-45, 1956-62) and the slow and corrupt mechanisms of the bureaucracy could not meet these rising demands, an explosive situation developed. Peasant invasions of hacienda lands began a few days after Fernando Bela�nde assumed office as president in 1963. He had promised to organize a land reform, and the native communities, in their words, were "helping" him keep his word. Hundreds of estates were taken over by peasants, provoking a national crisis that eventually subsided when Bela�nde convinced communities that his administration would fulfill its promises. It did not happen.

However, on the "Day of the Indian" (D�a de la Raza--Race Day), June 24, 1969, General Juan Velasco Alvarado (president, 1968-75), head of the populist "Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces," decreed a sweeping and immediate land reform, ending serfdom and private latifundios that included the sacrosanct coastal plantations. Hope and expectations of the peasantry had never been higher, but the succeeding years brought back the frustration; serious problems resulted from natural disasters, the withdrawal of significant international credit and support from the United States for reform programs, bureaucratic failures, and a lack of welltrained personnel. After the Velasco government gave way to more conservative forces within the army in 1975, a retrenchment began. In this phase of the process, some haciendas, including several in Ayacucho Department, were returned to their former owners, provoking bitter disappointment and further alienation among the peasants.


Peru - Shining Path and Its Impact


The social history of the 1960s and 1970s is background for the emergence of the disturbing Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso-- SL) movement. Its many violent actions have been directed against locally elected municipal officials and anyone designated as a gamonal in the departments of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Apur�mac, Jun�n, Hu�nuco, and portions of Ancash and Cusco departments, as well as some other areas designated as emergency zones where government control was deeply compromised. The Maoist-oriented SL opposed Lima as the metropolis that usurps resources from the rest of the nation. Like most past revolutionary movements (as opposed to peasant revolts) acting on behalf of the poor, the SL leadership has consisted of disgruntled and angry intellectuals, mestizos, and whites, apparently from provincial backgrounds. Many adherents have been recruited from university and high school ranks, where radical politicization has been a part of student culture since the late nineteenth century. Others have come from the cadres of embittered migrant youths living in urban lower-class surroundings, disaffected and frustrated school teachers, and the legions of alienated peasants in aggrieved highland provinces in Huancavelica, Ayacucho, and adjacent areas.

Peru's socioeconomic and political disarray has taken on its present pattern after four decades of extravagant demographic change, a truncated land reform that never received effective funding or ancillary support as needed in education, and incessant promises of development, jobs, and progress without fulfillment. The SL has sought to eliminate the perpetrators of past error to establish a new order of its own. The SL's vengeful approach appeared attractive to many, coming at a time when the migration pathway to social change appeared blocked, the ability to progress by this method stymied by the economic crisis, and rural development was at an all-time low ebb.

The immediate impact of the terror-inspiring violence of SL actions and the correspondingly symmetrical responses of the Peruvian Arm (Ej�rcito Peruano--EP) has had a devastating effect on rural and urban life, public institutions, and agricultural production, especially in the emergency zone department of Ayacucho. Since the SL's first brutal attack on the defenseless people of Chuschi, its actions and the violent reactions of the police and army have produced chaos throughout the central highlands and deep problems in Lima.

From 1980 to 1990, an estimated 200,000 persons were driven from their homes, with about 18,000 people killed, mostly in the department of Ayacucho and neighboring areas. In five provinces in Ayacucho, the resident population dropped by two-thirds, and many villages were virtual ghost towns. This migration went to Lima, Ica, and Huancayo, where disoriented peasants were offered little assistance and sometimes were attacked by the police as suspected Senderistas (SL members). Many communities have responded to SL attacks by organizing and fighting back. Towns or villages in La Libertad and Cajamarca departments, in particular, greatly amplified the system of rondas campesinas. Elsewhere, the army organized local militias and patrols to combat and ferret out SL cadres. Unfortunately, in addition to providing for defense all of these actions left room for abuses, and there were numerous cases of personal vendettas taking place that had little to do with the task.

There was no question that the SL's revolutionary terrorism was producing major disruptions and profound changes in Peruvian society. Surveys indicated that 71 percent of Peruvians agreed that poverty, social injustice, and the economic crisis were together the root cause of the SL's revolution, and that 68 percent identified the SL as the nation's most serious problem. Drug trafficking was ranked a distant second by only 11 percent of respondents. At least one conclusion, however, seemed abundantly clear: Peruvians had to address their longstanding and deeply interrelated ills of poverty, inequity, and ethnoracial discrimination if they hoped to take control of the situation.




In Peru schooling is regarded as the sine qua non of progress and the key to personal advancement. In 1988 there were over 27,600 primary schools in Peru, one for virtually every hamlet with over 200 persons throughout the country. It is no exaggeration to say that the presence of a village school and teacher is considered by the poor as the most important first step on the road to "progress" out of poverty and a state of disrespect, if not for themselves, for their children. Because of the historical ethnic and racial discrimination against native peoples, the village school became the instrument and method by which one could learn Spanish, the most important step toward reducing one's "visibility" as an identifiable object of denigration and being able to gain mobility out of the native American caste. The primary school also has provided the means to become a recognized citizen because the exercise of citizenship and access to state services require (in fact, if not officially) a basic ability to use written and spoken Spanish. Thus, the spread of primary schools owed much to the deep desire on the part of the native and rural poor to disassociate themselves from the symbols of denigration. The thrust of Peruvian education has been oriented toward this end, however subtly or even unconsciously. School policies encouraged the discarding of native American clothing and language, and the frequent school plays and skits burlesqued native peoples' practices, such as coca chewing or fiestas, or equated indigenous culture with drunkenness and, often, stupidity and poverty, while at the same time exhorting native children to "lift themselves up." The opposite pole to being native American was to be Spanish- speaking, urban, white-collar, and educated.

The influence of these educational policies is reflected in the currents of social change sweeping Peru in the second half of the twentieth century. In the early 1960s, Peru was a nation where almost 39 percent of the population spoke native languages, half being bilingual in Spanish and half monolingual in a native tongue. By 1981 only 9 percent were monolingual, and 18 percent remained bilingual. In 1990 over 72 percent claimed to speak only Spanish, whereas in 1961, about 60 percent did. In 1990 Quechua was by far the dominant native language spoken in all departments, except Amazonas and Ucayali. Almost 80 percent of Aymara speakers lived in Puno, with many bilingual persons in Arequipa, greater Lima, Tacna, and Moquegua. About 85 percent of the population in 1991 was literate.

There are many technical and cultural difficulties associated with gathering and reporting information on native languages. Because of this, most experts have concluded that native languages are significantly underreported with respect to bilingualism. According to one study, native languages are the preferred means of communication even within those households whose adult members are bilingual. However, given the force of state policy in education and the many concomitant pressures on the individual, Quechua and Aymara will likely survive largely as second languages.

In the Sierra, where villages and communities are famous for their voluntary work, the majority of self-financed public community projects have been dedicated to the construction and maintenance of their escuelitas (little schools) with little assistance except from their migrant clubs and associations in Lima or other large cities. This overwhelming drive to change personal, family, and community conditions by means of education began at least 150 years ago, at a time when public education was extremely limited and private schooling was open to only the elite mestizo and white populations of the few major cities. In 1990, however, 28 percent of all Peruvians, over 5 million people, were matriculated in primary or secondary schools, which were now within reach of people even in the remotest of places.

In the mid-nineteenth century, aside from a few progressive districts that operated municipal schools, most educational institutions were privately operated. Individual teachers would simply open their own institutes and through modest advertising gain a clientele of paying students. There have been laws mandating public education since the beginning of the republic, but they were not widely implemented. In 1866 the minister of justice and education sought to establish vocational schools and uniform curricula for all public schools and to open schools to women. The Constitutional Congress in 1867 idealistically called for a secondary school for each sex in every provincial capital. With constitutional changes and renewed attempts to modernize, it became the obligation of every department and province to have full primary and secondary education available, at least in theory, to any resident. Primary education was later declared both free and compulsory for all citizens.

The Ministry of Education in Lima exercises authority over a sprawling network of schools for which it uniformly determines curricula, textbook content, and the general values that guide classroom activities nationwide. Because of the importance invested in education, the role of the teacher is respected, especially at the district level, where teachers readily occupy leadership positions. Owing to this tendency, for many years teachers were prohibited from holding public office on the theory that they would, like priests, exercise an unusual level of influence in their districts. The power accruing to a teacher as the only person with postsecondary education in a small rural town can be considerable: the teacher is sought out to solve personal and village problems, settle disputes, and act as spokesperson for the community. Both men and women have eagerly sought teaching positions because they have offered a unique opportunity for personal advancement. In a nation steeped in androcentric traditions, however, teaching has been especially important for women because it has been an avenue of achieving upward mobility, gaining respect, and playing sociopolitical roles in community affairs that have been otherwise closed to them.

Higher education is hence greatly respected. University professors symbolize a high order of achievement, and they are addressed as profesor or profesora. The same recognition of educational achievement is given to other fields as well. Anyone receiving an advanced degree in engineering is always addressed as engineer (ingeniero) or doctor. The titles are prestigious and valued and permanently identify one as an educated person to be rewarded with respect. The titles are therefore coveted, and on graduation the new status is often announced in El Comercio, Lima's oldest daily newspaper.

In 1990, in addition to its primary schools, Peru counted over 5,400 secondary schools (colegios) of all types. Although these too were widely distributed throughout the country, the best secondary schools were heavily concentrated in the major cities and especially in Lima. There, the elite private international institutions and Peruvian Catholic schools have offered excellent programs featuring multilingual instruction and preparation aimed at linking students with foreign universities. The private Catholic schools throughout the country, both primary and secondary, have been highly regarded for their efforts to instill discipline and character.

Because it is required by law that each provincial capital have a public secondary school, such schools historically have come to enjoy special status as surrogate intellectual centers in the absence of universities in their regions. The tradition of strong high school alumni allegiance is pronounced, with organizations and reunions commonplace and attachments to classmates (condisc�pulos) enduring. The importance of a high school diploma is further emphasized by each graduating class, which bestows honor on some personage or event by naming its graduation after them. High school graduates take the selection of the class name as an opportunity to make a statement about things that concern them and choose one that embodies their thoughts. This custom is followed by university graduating classes as well.

Because people correlate social and economic well-being with educational achievement, schooling becomes essential not only for its functional usefulness but also for social reasons. The concept of education is infused with high intrinsic value, and educated people by definition are more cultivated (culto), worthy, and qualified to be admired as role models than others. Educated persons are thought to have the duty to speak out and address public issues on behalf of others less privileged; many students have accepted this responsibility as part of their student role.

The development of national identity is another area to which public education is firmly committed. In the wake of the devastating War of the Pacific--in which Peru lost territory, wealth, dignity, and pride--the emergent public school system became the major vehicle by which citizens established strong linkages to the state. Primary and secondary school curricula are thus heavily laden with patriotic, if not jingoistic, nationalism, elements of which are written into the nation's textbooks by the Ministry of Education. If nothing else, the primary school pupil learns that he or she is a Peruvian and that many of Peru's national heroes, such as Admiral Miguel Grau, Colonel Francisco Bolognesi, and Leoncio Prado, were martyrized on the nation's behalf by Chilean forces against whom one must be constantly on guard. Ecuador is viewed in this same tenor, but perceived as less menacing, constituting a vague threat to the nation's security or Amazonic oil rights.

The school calendar is thus filled with observances and ceremonies honoring national heroes and martyrs, including T�pac Amaru II (Jos� Gabriel Condorcanqui). Parades, drum and bugle corps (banda de querra--war band), and flag bearers spend dozens of hours in school yards preparing for the celebration of national holidays (fiestas patrias), national independence day affairs that are the feature of every district, province, and department capital each year on July 27 and 28. In Lima the tradition of fiestas patrias involves a major display of military forces and equipment accompanied by high school units parading the length of Avenida Brasil (Brazil Avenue) across Lima. Completing the essentially military focus on nationalism in the public schools is the pupil uniform, a military cadet-type outfit for boys that includes a cap introduced by the General Manuel Odr�a regime in the 1950s.



Peru - Universities


As the first university founded in the Americas in 1551, the National Autonomous University of San Marcos (Universidad Nacional Aut�nomo de San Marcos--UNAM) has had a long and varied history of elitism, reform, populism, controversy, respect, prestige, and, especially since the mid-1980s, conflict and confusion born of political divisions and broad social unrest. Although it remained the largest university in the nation, it had lost much of its former prestige by 1990. In the 1970-90 period, several smaller private institutions, such as the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (Pont�fica Universidad Cat�lica del Per�), located in <"http://worldfacts.us/Peru-Lima.htm">Lima, have gained more stature. The major public universities are the specialized National Agrarian University (Universidad Nacional Agrario--UNA) in Lima's La Molina District and the National Engineering University (Universidad Nacional de Ingenier�a), also in the Lima area. The most prestigious medical school is the private Cayetano Hered�a in Lima.

Lima has captured most of the resources of higher education. Universities in Lima, which had 42 percent of all students, employed 62 percent of all faculty in the late 1980s. Nevertheless, there are universities in all but four of the departments. Although many of these are newly founded and poorly equipped, the demand for access to advanced study has provided them with a growing stream of students. The abandoned colonial University of Huamanga (Universidad de Huamanga) in Ayacucho is one of these, having been reopened in the late 1950s to fill an educational void for students drawn from impoverished and isolated Ayacucho Department. Although initiated on its modern course with high hopes, it has suffered from budgetary inadequacies, frustrated plans, and disgruntled students impatient for social change. During the late 1960s, it became the home to embittered revolutionaries, who emerged as the leaders of the SL movement.

The public schools have long been deeply influenced by political factionalism, which has divided the constitutionally established governing bodies of universities. Internal politics at San Marcos and other universities have involved complex alliance-making among administrators, staff, faculty, and the student body, as well as partisan political forces that crosscut these sectors with their own agendas. Thus, APRA, various communist factions, and other groups have played out their strategies, often with negative consequences or even little direct reference to the mission of education as such. APRA, however, did play a role in establishing the University of the Center (Universidad del Centro) in Huancayo and Federico Villareal in Lima, now the second-largest university. The present organization of the public universities was originally conceived as a result of the Latin American-wide university reform movement of the 1920s and 1930s which attempted to democratize the traditional, colonial-style elite traditions. What has evolved, however, has led to constant problems of paralytic conflict, student strikes, slogan mongering, and, often, closure of a university for one or more semesters at a time. As a result, the private universities, such as those tied to the Catholic Church and various segments of the upper-middle classes, have emerged as the most stable and best staffed institutions during the last twenty-five years.

Out of this milieu, one can begin to understand the political role of teachers and their organizations, such as the Trade Union of Education Workers (Sindicato �nico de Trabajadores de la Ense�anza del Per�--SUTEP), the national teachers union. Most teachers attend teaching colleges before entering the classroom with their certificates, and many of these colleges, such as La Cantuta outside of Lima, have long been centers for radical politics. With teachers earning less than the average beginning police officer, discontent has run high among teachers for many years. Thus, given the importance and role of teachers in district schools nationwide, it is not surprising that SUTEP has been a strong voice in expressing its social and economic discontent or that the SL and MRTA had succeeded in recruiting followers from the ranks of SUTEP.




In the early 1990s, Peru was hit by a cholera epidemic, which highlighted longstanding health care problems. Review of health statistics amply illustrates Peru's vulnerability to disease and the uneven distribution of resources to combat it. The most and the best of the health facilities were concentrated in metropolitan Lima, followed by the principal older coastal cities, including Arequipa, and the rest of the country. The differences among these regions were not trivial. Whereas Lima had a doctor for every 400 persons on average, and other coastal areas had a ratio of one doctor for every 2,000, the highland departments had one doctor for every 12,000 persons. The same levels of difference applied with respect to hospital beds, nurses, and all the medical specialties.

In the early 1990s, over 25 percent of urban residences and over 90 percent of rural residences lacked basic potable water and sewerage. Thus, the population has been inevitably exposed to a wide variety of waterborne diseases. The incidence of disease not surprisingly reflected the inequities evidenced in the health system: the leading causes of death by infectious diseases have varied from year to year, but invariably the principal ones have been respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, common colds, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, chicken pox, and whooping cough. The cholera epidemic, which began in 1990 and claimed international headlines, ranked well down the list of causes for death behind these others, which have been endemic and basically taken for granted. In a typical case, during one year in Huaylas District, which had a small clinic and often was fortunate enough to have a doctor in residence, 40 percent of all deaths registered were children below four years of age, who died because of a regional influenza epidemic.

Although Peru's infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births dropped from 130 to 80 over a 26-year period (1965-91), the rate in 1991 was still over twice the rate of Colombia and four times the rate of Chile. The mortality rate for children under 5 was also brought down greatly, from 233 per 1,000 in 1960 to 107 per 1,000 in 1991. Both measures for 1991 still exceeded all the other Latin American countries except Bolivia and Haiti. The only direct measure of social welfare that deteriorated was nutrition: calorie consumption per capita fell 5 percent from the average for 1964-66 to 1984-86. In 1988 calorie consumption was 2,269, as compared with 2,328 in 1987. Because calorie consumption levels generally parallel income levels, the decrease must have been concentrated at the level of the extremely poor.

Peru's lack of general well-being was further suggested by the nation's high and growing dependence on foreign food since 1975 through direct imports, which had increased 300 percent, and food assistance programs, which showed a tenfold increment. The United States has been by far the largest provider of food assistance to Peru through its multiple programs administered under the Food for Peace (Public Law 480) projects of the United States Agency for International Development (AID). During the 1980s, food aid amounted to over 50 percent of all United States economic assistance. The aid was delivered as maternal and child health assistance and food-for-work programs administered by CARE (Cooperative for American Relief), church-related private voluntary organizations, or by direct sale to the Peruvian government for urban market resale.

Peru's totally inadequate social security system, operated by the Peruvian Institute of Social Security (Instituto Peruano de Seguridad Social--IPSS), did not remain exempt from the Fujimori government's privatization policy. As a result of two legislative decrees passed in November 1991, Peru's system for providing social security retirement and health benefits underwent significant modification. The changes were similar to those made by the military government of Chile in the early 1980s, when employees were given a choice of either remaining with the existing system or joining private systems set up on an individual capitalization basis. The Fujimori government decided to adopt the Chilean social security model almost completely. The stated objectives were to permit open market competition, alleviate the government's financial burden by having it shared by the private sector, improve coverage and the quality of benefits, and provide wider access to other social sectors. Private Pension Funds Administrators (Administradoras de Fondos de Pensiones--AFPs) were expected to begin operating in June 1993. A presidential decree in December 1992 ended the IPSS's monopoly on pensions. This provided a boost to Peru's small and underdeveloped capital market by allowing the AFPs to invest in bonds issued by the government or Central Reserve Bank (Banco Central de Reservas--BCR, also known as Central Bank) as well as in companies.

The cholera and other health and social issues in Peru were interrelated closely with the country's steadily worsening environmental conditions. The high levels of pollution in large sectors of Lima, Chimbote, and other coastal centers had resulted from uncontrolled dumping of industrial, automotive, and domestic wastes that had created a gaseous atmosphere. The loss of irrigated coastal farmland to urban sprawl, erosion of highland farms, and the clear-cutting of Amazonian forest all have conspired to impoverish the nation's most valuable natural resources and further exacerbate social dilemmas. Although Peru is endowed with perhaps the widest range of resources in South America, somehow they have never been coherently or effectively utilized to construct a balanced and progressive society. The irony of Peru's condition was captured long ago in the characterization of the nation as being a "pauper sitting on a throne of gold." How to put the gold in the pauper's pockets without destroying the chair on which to sit is a puzzle that Peruvians and their international supporters have yet to solve.


CITATION: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress. The Country Studies Series. Published 1988-1999.

Please note: This text comes from the Country Studies Program, formerly the Army Area Handbook Program. The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.

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