Lima, 5 Sept (EFE).- Lima’s so-called “Wall of Shame,” a wall of stones and barbed wire that separates a humble slum from a wealthy neighborhood, will be demolished by order of the Constitutional Court for violating the rights to freedom of movement, equality, and non-discrimination.
The decision has drawn mixed comments from both sides of the wall and will do little to heal Lima’s social divide.
“This social wound, which can be considered discrimination, has nothing to do with the issue of social segregation, but with access to basic services,” Francis Dumler, the municipal administrator of the La Molina neighborhood, told EFE on Tuesday.
On the hill that marks the border between the wealthy La Molina neighborhood and the popular Villa María del Triunfo, built on the site of an ecological park, workers have been dismantling the wall for several days.
Previously, the mayor’s office of La Molina claimed that the wall, built with stones and wire, was intended to protect the safety of citizens and prevent the installation of illegal settlements.
In Villa María del Triunfo, land occupations began more than a decade ago and reached the wall in recent years, while in the La Molina sector, construction respected the park boundaries on the hillside.
The shock of crossing from one side to the other does not end there, as Dumler explains: In La Molina, “the water coverage is very high, it reaches 100%” and all “houses have connections to public utilities and drainage systems. On the side of Villa María del Triunfo, people do not have these services because of structural problems,” says Dumler.
One of the causes of the problem, according to La Molina’s manager, is that Lima is the only Latin American capital whose population has grown 100% in 30 years, from 5.5 million in 1990 to 11 million today.
“Many of the residents who have arrived in the city do not have access to the urban land provided by the state or to the real estate development offered by the city through private companies, so they have had to invade the hills,” he says.
For this reason, he believes that solidarity between neighborhoods is the only way to fill the gaps.
A SCAR THAT REMAINS
“Even though the wall is gone, I think there will always be a wall because of the social classes. The wall blocked the passage, but now that it is free, it is still seen as if it were there because of the social difference,” Luz Bautista, a neighbor of the area, told EFE.
Bautista’s children, like many of her neighbors who settled in Villa María del Triunfo 12 years ago, cross the wall and use the road to La Molina every day.
There are also many residents who work on the other side and who, thanks to the demolition, no longer have to jump over the one-and-a-half-meter wall.
On the other side, where the last part of the wall remains, Rosario Flores told EFE that her neighbors’ greatest fear is “the land traffickers who are invading the entire area of La Molina.”
There are also fears of a possible increase in citizen insecurity, although she acknowledges that “there is also crime” in La Molina. EFE