The Peru that we found back in the 80’s

I was just checking out the news on my igoogle page and ran across the following from a Time Magazine article from Monday, Mar. 27, 1989.

On an average day in Peru, six people die by political violence. One day it is a government agent organizing peasant cooperatives. One day it is a ruling- party mayor. One day it is a government-aligned journalist. Most days it is peasants who get in the way.

Violence has become a fact of Peruvian life. Government studies count 12,965 people dead in terrorist-related violence since 1980, when Sendero Luminoso began its campaign to overthrow the government. Already this year, 794 killings have been tallied, though the actual number is no doubt much higher. Outside the major cities, hundreds of police officers and mayors have deserted their posts after receiving death threats from terrorists. In the area around Huancayo, the capital of Peru’s breadbasket department of Junin, Sendero Luminoso is locked in a battle for dominance with the Cuban-oriented M.R.T.A. rebels. The city, says Raul Gonzalez, a sociologist and expert on the Sendero Luminoso, “is now the critical spot to Sendero’s future.” From there, the Shining Path, which already controls at least one-third of the countryside, intends to take Lima, only 120 miles away, by encircling it and cutting it off from the rest of the country.

Yet despite the looming guerrilla menace, the deteriorating state of the economy is the immediate worry of most Peruvians. The country’s inflation rate topped 1,720% last year, and could reach an unbelievable 10,000% in 1989. Buying power has dropped 50%; up to two-thirds of the working population is either under- or unemployed. In the capital, bread, rice and sugar are becoming scarce, and powdered milk is unavailable in many neighborhoods.

Now in an article from Time Magazine Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2008 I found the following about what President Alan Garcia is facing now:

The problems today are not quite what they used to be: then inflation was 2.1 million percent, thousands of people were killed in terrorist violence and corruption scandals tarnished Garcia and many of his closest advisors. But this time, they seem to be hitting all at once and have forced Garcia’s Cabinet to resign and have the president groping for ways to refine his administration.

Pray for your missionaries and all that they have to deal with. Betty and I know all to well what it is to live under these circumstances and thank God that we are able to serve God here in Alpharetta in spite of the economic problems.

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