[Marxism] Hugo Blanco - The earthquake and the vultures

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 20 12:35:25 MDT 2007

(Thanks very much to Federico Fuentes of Green Left Weekly who quickly
volunteered and turned this around in a few hours. This was received
via e-mail, so the only URL is the one given, which also has posted
the original Spanish.)

August 19, 2007.

The earthquake and the vultures

Hugo Blanco * 

Translated by Federico Fuentes, Green Left Weekly
Edited by Walter Lippmann.

In the earthquake of 1950 in Cuzco, I collaborated as a volunteer as part of
the system of aid that had been established: my task was to register those
who had lost their homes and their necessities. At first we were received
with affection, yet the more we advanced in our work, the more the hostility
increased. The people would burst out saying "You have registered us 10
times and yet we have received nothing!"

This was true, national and international aid was being eaten up by the
vultures of the official bureaucracy.

When the earthquake hit Ancash in 1977, being in prison at the time, I found
out that the same thing had occurred.

Now, it seems that the same thing is occurring, the vultures of the official
bureaucracy are fattening themselves off the pain of the victims, rejoicing
about the large amounts of national and international aid that is arriving.

The toll from the last earthquake, on top of the 500 dead and more than
1.500 thousand injured: 45,000 houses affected; 250,000 left homeless.

Firstly, I would like to point out that it is not true that natural
disasters affect both rich and poor equally. The rich do not live in
precarious housing made of adobe, which were the ones that collapsed. The
rich have enough money to leave the zone and have somewhere to go.

It is the poor population from the affected zones, along with those from the
isolated hamlets, who are the ones who are suffering without housing,
without water, without electricity, with dead people to bury, with
unattended injured, without money to buy food whose prices have increased

It is true that they have received the promise of the president of the
republic that "no one will die of hunger!", but as we know, in all aspects,
Alan Garcia continues with his electoral campaign promises that have not
been implemented. Three days after the earthquake, despite the large amount
of aid that is coming from the within the country and outside, the majority
of the people continue without having received anything.

The victims, desperate because of the cries of hunger and thirst of their
children, have begun to loot warehouses responsible for the quadrupled
prices of products, and vehicles that pass by, brimming with food in front
of the eyes of the hunger ones.

We can see in an image published on the front page of "El Comercio" of Lima,
a father with five fish taken out of a truck belonging to a large company,
with the newspaper pronouncing his efforts to feed his children as

The police officers in charge of "guarding order" in many opportunities do
not intervene. On other occasions, they truly "guarded order", organising
the handing out of products that they themselves distribute. We send them
our warmest greetings, we know just as well as they do that they will be
punished by there superiors, we admire the flourishing of human solidarity
in there hearts.

Rather than speeding up the handing over of aid, the measure the government
has taken has been to send repressive forces to avoid attacks against trucks
belonging to companies which transport food.

We recommend to those who are donating that they directly watch over the
destiny of their donations. Those who can utilise the route of some NGOs
should do so, in general they are guaranteed routes. What is certain is that
the governmental route is full of vultures who will devour the large part of
the aid.

In passing, we should mention that the services of the telephone company,
whose servant is the government of Alan Garcia, and which collapsed in a
criminal formation after the earthquake, naturally remains unpunished.
August 19, 2007.

* Historic leader of the revolutionary left and the Campesino Confederation
of Peru (CCP).

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