Arts & Entertainment

Peru designates memorial to conflict victims as a national heritage site

Lima, Jan 25 (EFE).- “El Ojo que llora” (The Weeping Eye), a sculpture honoring the tens of thousands of people who perished in Peru’s 1980-2000 internal armed conflict, was proclaimed a national heritage site Tuesday.

“It is a symbolic act of memory, of reconciliation and of guarantees of no repetition,” Prime Minister Mirtha Vazquez said during the presentation of the declaration to the civic group that commissioned and financed the monument, Caminos de la Memoria (Paths of Memory).

The designation is another step on the road toward “healing the wounds and heeding the demands” of victims and their families, she said in a speech at the site in a Lima park.

Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that 69,000 people died in the multi-dimensional civil war, most of them at the hands of the Maoist-inspired Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas.

The sculpture, created by Dutch artist Lika Mutal, sits at the center of a labyrinth of stones inscribed with victims’ names, including not only those slain by Shining Path, but also political activists killed by the government and rebels who were tortured and summarily executed.

Among the names is Armando Amaro, one of the students murdered by a covert army death squad in the 1992 La Cantuta massacre. His mother, human rights advocate Raida Condor, was present for Tuesday’s ceremony.

“My struggle was not in vain,” she told Efe while holding a sign bearing a photo of her son, adding – with tears in her eyes – that she felt some satisfaction over the designation of El Ojo que llora as a site of national importance.

The monument “recognizes and dignifies the memory” of each of the “civilians, police, soldiers, men, women, adults and children who were victims of the deeds done between 1980 and 2000,” Culture Minister Gisela Ortiz said.

At the same time, the minister, whose brother died in the La Cantuta massacre, said that El Ojo que llora is also a “space of encounter” for people touched by more recent events such as the violent police repression of protests in November 2020.

Since it was inaugurated in 2006, the monument has been attacked and vandalized more than half-a-dozen times by partisans of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a life sentence for crimes such the La Cantuta massacre and the massive corruption that characterized his 1990-2000 rule. EFE


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