Culture

This Comic Is Being Used To Highlight The Chaos Of Climate Change In Latin America

The days of comics that are all about cape crusaders and masked bad guys are over. We’re living in a new time where we can’t afford to pretend we live in a fantasy world. Artists today are taking the modern world we’re living in, full of evil politics, natural disasters, environmental issues, and whatever else is thrown our way and applying that to a new frontier of comic-book stories. 

Creatives have launched “Puro Peru,” a kid-friendly comic book that educates and explores indigenous communities and essential issues such as the environment.

Credit: Vooltea

The comic book is 92 pages and includes eight separate stories that are all about discovering Peru, the people who live there, and how they’re tackling issues with climate change. 

“We present eight stories with stories that bring us closer to Peru in a personal way, on a journey full of ancestral traditions and knowledge,” creators state on their website. “With them, we want to sensitize society about the environmental situation of the planet, in the Amazon rainforest and in the mountains of Peru. We hope you enjoy this great adventure designed by several of the best illustrators and writers in Spain.”

The book is published by CESAL, an extension of Vooltea, which is an interactive and educational website aimed at young people and teachers to publicize the different realities of five Latin American countries, which include El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Peru, and the Dominican Republic. 

Let’s meet some of the artists and the stories they’re sharing.

Credit: Vooltea

Javier de Isusi and Alex Orbe take on the causes and consequences of climate change in their comic book stories. 

“Climate change is currently the main environmental problem and one of the biggest challenges of our time,” they write. “This also exacerbates the situation of poverty in which the most disadvantaged groups are found: women, peasants, and indigenous population, and it is with them that CESAL works in Peru.”

Calo, an award-winning artist, takes on climate change by exploring how people in various countries handle the changes to their environment.

Credit: Vooltea

“What measures have been taken to mitigate climate change?” he asks in his story about international measures to break and adapt to climate change. “When are we worldwide? It’s about taking a trip through the reality of different continents and countries to find good and bad practices.”

Emilio Ruiz Zavala and Ana Miralles dive into the indigenous and Sierra population and how these benefits the mitigation of climate change.

Credit: Vooltea

“Climate change especially affects indigenous peoples and rural communities,” the artists state. “On the other hand, they are also the ones with the most accumulated knowledge of climatic phenomena and how to deal with variability and unpredictability.”

Artist Rubencio addresses the critical aspect of strengthening the capabilities of the indigenous population in order to take on the issues of climate change.

Credit: Vooltea

“The concept of resilience has become fundamental in the theory and practice of disaster risk reduction and currently has an important place in discussions about adaptation to climate change,” he states. 

Núria Tamarit, one of the youngest artists taking part in the series, looks at how people can help their local environment in order to make a global impact. “The intention is to encourage critical reflection on the society in which we live and propose changes (clues) that promote a new development model based on sustainability and respect for the environment,” Tamarit states. 

Teresa Valero’s story takes on how climate change is affecting the jungle of Peru. 

Credit: Vooltea

“The Amazon represents 62 percent of the Peruvian territory. In her, they inhabit the greater number of native cultures and the greater biodiversity of the country and the world. As a consequence of Climate Change, strong droughts and floods stand out, causing the loss of forests.”

It’s so beautiful that kids today (and adults) can understand what is happening to our planet on an intermediate level — in Peru — in a way that isn’t complex to understand. 

Often, people don’t seem to grasp the severity of climate change because they feel the problem is more significant than themselves and too challenging to be part of the change. These stories show us in simpler and creative terms that change is possible. The comic book is available to download for free. Click here

READ: The ‘Sahuaraura’ Manuscript, An Ancient Peruvian Document That Was Thought Lost—Was Found Just Last Week, Over 100 Years Later

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Peru Is In Crisis As The Country Searches For A New President Amid Protests And A Police Crackdown

Things That Matter

Peru Is In Crisis As The Country Searches For A New President Amid Protests And A Police Crackdown

ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

In less than a week, the country is on the verge of seeing its third president – if legislators can find someone able and willing to take the job. In the meantime, protesters are making their voices heard in cities all across the country and police are using violence and oppression to silence them.

For a country that was turning the bend on the pandemic, how exactly did Peru end up crashing into one crisis from another?

Peru’s interim-President has resigned just days after assuming the office.

Peruvians woke up on Monday morning still wondering who would be their new head of state after lawmakers failed overnight to name a replacement to become the country’s third president in a week.

It was less than 24 hours earlier that the country’s interim leader Manuel Merino was forced to resign. Following a week of protests against the removal of former President Martín Vizcarra, police responded with increased force over the weekend.

Saturday’s protests in Lima, which are mostly being led by young Peruvians, were largely peaceful but clashes broke out towards the evening between police and protesters. Police reportedly fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to repel demonstrators, some of whom had thrown fireworks and stones. Two students, Jack Pintado, 22, and Inti Sotelo, 24, were killed in the protests.

Politicians immediately called for Merino’s resignation following the violent crackdown. In fact, twelve of his own ministers (of his recently appointed cabinet) resigned in protest against police brutality and his handling of the crisis.

“I want to let the whole country know that I’m resigning,” Merino said in a televised address.

It’s still not clear who will be selected to take over the country until elections can be held in April.

Credit: Roberto Agn / Getty Images

On Sunday, legislators failed to approve Rocío Silva-Santisteban, a leftist human rights defender, as the next interim leader – even though he was the only name put forward for consideration.

The country’s fragmented and unpopular legislature will vote again on Monday when another name will be on the list: lawmaker Francisco Sagasti, a 76-year-old industrial engineer and former World Bank official.

Peru’s political upheaval adds to the uncertainty facing the country as it was already hit devastatingly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many fear that the ongoing crisis will lead to the worst economic contraction the country has seen in more than a century.

The political crisis started just last week when the elected president was impeached and removed from office.

It was just last week that the nation’s elected leader – ex-President Martín Vizcarra – was impeached and removed from office by Congress over allegations of corruption.

Since taking office in March 2018, Vizcarra was embroiled in a bitter battle with Congress, which is made up of rival parties. During his presidency, he worked to combat corruption throughout the country’s legislature. Half of the lawmakers are under investigation or indictment for alleged crimes including money laundering and homicide.

And as president, he enjoyed support among the public and voters but it was ultimately the allegations of bribery that brought him down. He has denied allegations that he accepted bribes worth 2.3 million soles ($640,000) when he was governor of the southern Moquegua region.

The former president has asked the country’s highest court to weigh in. “It can’t be that the institution that got us into this political crisis, that has for five days paralyzed Peru, with deaths, is going to give us a solution, choosing the person who they best see fit,” Vizcarra said, according to The Associated Press.

The country was just emerging from what seemed the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images

Many are concerned about the country’s short and long-term future, as a growing political and constitutional crisis seems likely. At the beginning of the pandemic, Peru imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in Latin America to stop the spread of coronavirus – but has still seen cases rise rapidly.

It has so far reported nearly 935,000 infections and more than 35,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University – making it the country with the third highest rate of deaths per 100,000 people in the world.

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Machu Picchu Reopened To Tourists With This Massive Performance But It Doesn’t Mean You Can Visit Just Yet

Culture

Machu Picchu Reopened To Tourists With This Massive Performance But It Doesn’t Mean You Can Visit Just Yet

Ernesto Benavides / Getty Images

All around the world some of the most popular attractions have been shuttered for months because of the Coronavirus pandemic. With planes grounded and borders closed, few of us have been able to make those once in a lifetime trips.

With the fall in travel, entire communities are suffering as tourist dollars dry up and industries succumb to the economic effects of the pandemic. In Peru, a country heavily reliant on tourism, things are finally starting to improve as it appears the country has started to see a decrease in Covid-19 cases.

As the country reopened to international travel last month, it’s now reopening one of its most popular tourist attractions – Machu Picchu.

Peru’s famous Machu Picchu has reopened and is welcoming travelers for the first time tin eight months.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of Peru’s tourist sites, reopened Sunday with an ancient ritual after a nearly eight-month lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, Machu Picchu opens. It opens with (health and safety) protocols, it opens to say that we are reactivating ourselves but with responsibility and great prudence, because we see everything happening in the world” with the pandemic, Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Rocio Barrios said in a speech.

For safety reasons, however, only 675 tourists will be able to access the site per day, just 30 percent of the number of visitors pre-pandemic. The number of Coronavirus cases has been steadily decreasing in Peru, and tourists will be expected to maintain social distancing.

The first train of tourists arrived Sunday morning at Machu Picchu Pueblo, the village closest to the citadel, after a 90-minute journey along the Urubamba River from the ancient Inca village of Ollantaytambo.

Opening Machu Picchu to the world shows “that we Peruvians are resilient,” Barrios told the AFP.

To celebrate the reopening, officials hosted a massive celebration with traditional roots.

Peruvian authorities organized an Incan ritual to thank the gods on Sunday as the major tourist attraction once again welcomed visitors. The massive celebration was meant as an act of gratitude to Incan gods for welcoming the reopening.

Dozens of Indigenous performers and dancers welcomed a cadre of travelers with music and dance and officials orchestrated an incredible light show.

The pandemic has had a devastating effect on Peruvians – especially those dependent on tourism.

Ernesto Benavides / Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people in the mountainous Cusco region rely on visitors for their livelihoods and have suffered due to the Coronavirus lockdown closure this year.

Dozens of hotels, restaurants and tourism-related businesses throughout the region went bankrupt by the time a strict mandatory virus lockdown that lasted more than 100 days was lifted in July. Before the pandemic there were 80 hotels of various types in Ollantaytambo, a town with an imposing Inca stone fortress located at the end of the road from Cusco to Machu Picchu.

Taxi driver Eberth Hancco, who works at the airport of the city of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca empire, was among those affected.

“The situation has been very bad, because Cusco depends on tourism,” he told the BBC.

Just a few weeks ago, the park had welcomed one lucky traveler who had the ruins all to himself.

A Japanese tourist who made it to Peru just before the pandemic hit became the first person to have exclusive access to the park. Jesse Takayama had been stuck in Peru for seven months since the country had closed its borders.

In a video first reported by The Guardian, Jesse Takayama shared his immense gratitude for being allowed to visit the ancient Incan city – which had long been one of his dreams.

Peru’s Minister of Culture, Alejandro Neyra, said at a press conference that “He [Takayama] had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter. The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.” Talk about a once in a lifetime experience. 

Neyra went on to add that this really was a rare moment and that Takayama only received access after submitting a special request to the local tourism authority. 

In an Instagram post about his special access, Takayama said that “Machu Picchu is so incredible! I thought I couldn’t go but many people asked the government. I’m the first one to visit Machu Picchu after lockdown!”

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