- An Interview with Luis Muñoz Aliaga*
How did your career as a police officer begin?
In Chincha, I worked in the cotton fields. I didn't earn much because there, you can't make what you can here in Lima. I opted to come here. Just as I am working here, there are many people who have left Chincha and are here. I think I'm the first to work for the district of San Borja here in Lima. A cousin who worked here before and who is no longer with us brought me here to work. Without knowing anything, I came. In Chincha, you don't see any of this. There, you see people in the fields, working the land. I have been working here for five years, and I have done very well.
Did you have to get particular training to become a police officer?
Yes, I had to prepare for two months. There were three exams. I passed them and I stayed. My size also helped me a bit.
It seems there aren't many police officers of your color. Was it difficult for you to enter this profession?
It wasn't too hard, and being an athlete helped me a lot in the tests they gave us. And my cousin who used to work here gave me some papers to help me prepare a bit. They have wanted a certain number of blacks, but there are very few.
Are there many people from Chincha here in Lima?
Yes, people from Chincha have come and have settled in a particular district of Lima. In the case of the Surquillo district for instance, there is a neighborhood that could be called a Chincha colony. They are people from San Jose who are living here. They live at a distance from other people. They've remained separate because upon arrival from Chincha to Lima—I'm talking about more than forty or fifty years—there was a small group that formed there. [End Page 392]
Are there many who are middle class or professionals?
Yes, there are certain people who finished their studies and have good jobs.
Are there many black-owned businesses?
There isn't a big company that is owned by blacks. If they have a business, it's a small one.
What is a typical day like for you?
I start work at 8:00 in the morning. I arrive at formation so they can dress me from head to toe—shoes, pants, shirt, tie. They give you a type of hat. That's the initial presentation. Then they spread us to certain sectors. They put is in pairs, to cover two square blocks and patrol that area. And when there's a seizure we communicate through radios.
Today, a taxi driver commented that some years ago there were many problems with terrorism.
Yes, it was when I was little. About ten or twenty years ago, there was a time when terrorism was going strong. It wasn't so much here in Lima, but rather near the city of Tingo Maria. To this day, the Shining Path is active. They are the so-called terrorists here in Peru. There was a time when they came here to Lima and managed to form a good-sized group of militants. They were against the government, and that's why they took up arms.
Today in front of the hotel there was some sort of teachers protest.
They're putting pressure on the teachers because there have been a lot of problems with the profession here. The government is demanding that they have more preparation so their students are better equipped when they start teaching. And that's why those marches are happening, because they don't agree.
Today's protest seemed very peaceful.
It's always like that. They are always watched over by police, who are on the sidelines...