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C h a p t e r 1 1 Living with “Those People” Ay, we’re never going to have peace with those people [hukkuna, referring to the former Shining Path militants].They keep scaring everyone, especially when they drink.They walk around here as though nothing ever happened—walk around here with their heads held high!They take advantage of their past when they want to settle conflicts now. Hukkuna know everyone is afraid of them. —Claudia Bustios, Hualla, March 2003 it was within the context of the PTRC that my research team and I began working with four communities that had been militant Shining Path support bases. While I had visited the provinces of Víctor Fajardo and Vilcashuamán before, these had been short visits driven by the syncopated rhythm of consulting projects. I remember being struck by the contrast between the alturas of Huanta and this region to the south. There was much less infrastructural damage. I was surprised to see so many buildings , including Catholic churches, standing intact. Yet those images were interlaced with others of elderly women passed out drunk in public, urinesoaked skirts turning the dust below them into patches of mud. I had never seen anything like that in Huanta. I also felt something I did not understand at the time: a sense of something turbulent beneath the surface of a physical landscape that was largely untouched, a certain unease, the feeling of being watched. 322 Looking South In contrast to the communities in the alturas of Huanta, where the revolutionary spark was lit by external agents who arrived to concientizar the villagers, throughout Víctor Fajardo and Vilcashuamán the Shining Path militants were overwhelmingly lugareños—people, especially young people, who were born and raised in the same communities in which they were waging the revolution. Of course there had been significant interest in Shining Path throughout the highlands of Huanta during the early years of the internal armed conflict. However, as we have seen, allegiances changed and this had narrative and political consequences. Villagers in the highlands of Huanta organized the rondas campesinas and collectively demonstrated their rejection of Shining Path. They “cleansed” their communities and their image and subsequently elaborated histories about their patriotic heroism, narratively erasing their sympathies with and participation in Shining Path. The war and its legacies are different in the south. The communities of Accomarca, Cayara, Hualla, and Tiquihua are located in the region Shining Path considered its “Principal Committee.”1 Throughout the region, Shining Path cadres had begun their political work a decade before launching the armed phase of the revolution with their 1980 attack on Chuschi. Shining Path had much deeper roots in this region, and isolating militants and their sympathizers with the hope of expelling them was not feasible. Far too many people were implicated. It was an afternoon in March 2003 when I had the opportunity to speak with Américo Paucar, the teniente gobernador of Tiquihua. I wanted to follow up on something many people in the community had told us: “It’s much more painful to know that your own neighbor killed your papa.” I asked Señor Paucar how they had begun to live together again. “Well, it was difficult at first. We were so remorseful, so resentful!” He paused, choosing his words slowly. “But as time passed . . . bueno . . . we’ve learned to get along. But at times huk kuna [those people] have conflicts with other people. People pull out the truth and tell them what they were. ‘You were a terruco and you killed people.’ Bueno, I guess it’s just normal.” “This remorse and resentment—do you think people will forget someday?” He shook his head. “There will always be remorse and resentment inside. But remorse and resentment that you hear—that people talk about directly— not anymore. I don’t think people will ever completely forget. They keep it in Living with“Those People” 323 their hearts. Of course, they don’t hit each other anymore, they don’t mention it—but it’s obvious the wounds are there, slowly healing. And the fear? That will only pass with time.” I commiserated with Señor Paucar and with the other people who assured us that coexistence was so difficult. I heard about the written death threats slipped under doors, at other times painted on the sides of dwellings. I grew accustomed to hearing stories about the former militants and the damage they had done...


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MARC Record
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