By Carla Samón Ros |
Lima (EFE) That day, his abdomen received 36 pellets fired by police officers who were repressing anti-government protests in his home region of Cuzco.
A few weeks ago, Rosalino turned 22 years old bedridden in a hospital in Lima, where he is fed by tubes after 60% of his intestine was removed.
Since that day’s demonstration, his regular trips to and from the university and his construction job turned, overnight, into a stay between the four walls of an intensive care unit (ICU).
“Right now he is conscious, thank God (…) but it will have consequences,” his brother explained to EFE, who also put his life on hiatus to be by Rosalino’s side.
Juan José (24), who had never been to Lima, visits him daily, brings him medicine and tells his parents about his brother’s progress, as well as the multiple questions about his future, about which he has only one certainty: that it will not be, at least in the short term, how he had imagined.
Rosalino is one of the more than 1,880 wounded, 580 of them police officers, registered by the Ombudsman’s Office in the protests that for two months shook the Andean country, claiming the lives of 70 people, according to various sources, and truncating the lives of hundreds of others. Peruvian families.
Irreparable losses and lives cut short
One of the hardest hit regions was the Andean region of Ayacucho, which on December 15 joined the national strike against the Government of Dina Boluarte and Congress. It was a day that became the second bloodiest with a balance of ten deaths due to military repression.
One of them was Leonardo Hancco, 32, a heavy machinery operator. The man had decided that day, for the first time, to take to the streets to claim a better future for his seven-year-old daughter, and for the two twins who – only the couple knew – were on the way.
His 27-year-old wife Ruth Bárcena said goodbye to him at dawn and, after several hours incommunicado, received from a neighbor the news that he feared so much because of the videos he saw on social networks. They had “shot” him.
“I left my house running with what I was wearing, I remember that I was barefoot,” the young woman told EFE, who minutes later would see “the carnage” that was taking place in the streets.
terror in the streets
“There were bullets here, pellets there, tear gas (…) People ran, escaped, they looked like little animals (…) and they (the military) shot,” he recalls.
When she found Leonardo, he was “unrecognizable.” He was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he lay dying for two nights.
Bárcena lacked days to assimilate it. “I fell into depression and lost my children,” the young woman narrates, before sentencing: “Whoever killed my husband, killed my children too.”
Since then, the woman has chaired the “Association of Relatives of the Murdered and Injured on December 15 in Ayacucho,” with which she intends to fight for “truth, justice, reparation, non-impunity, and memory.”
Even so, he knows that his loss, like that of many other Peruvians, is irreparable because there are things, like “a father’s affection for his children, (that) they will never feel again.”
“They are futures that have been cut off,” says the woman, who has always dedicated herself to housework and now, in order to “get ahead” with her daughter, she knows that she will have to “learn to work”, although she still doesn’t know what.
yearned for normality
Some 570 kilometers to the north, in a populated center on the outskirts of Lima, Juan Carlos Vergaray asks himself something similar.
The 47-year-old man does not know when he will be able to return to his construction work, which he abandoned just a month ago, when a dozen policemen -he denounces- hit him on the head while he was helping a young woman injured in a demonstration.
“I felt a strong blow to my back, and I don’t remember anymore,” Vergaray told EFE, while showing the ten stitches that they had to give him on the head and the bloody blue checkered shirt he wore that day and still has. intact, in her humble house of bare brick and tin roof.
There is not an hour that goes by that Vergaray does not think about the attack, witnessed by his wife and one of his daughters, a minor.
He says he has constant headaches, and dizziness. He also has sore hands and legs and, according to his wife, he has occasional memory losses.
His family, to which half of the income from before reaches today, hopes that soon everything can return to normal, a desire shared by many Peruvians that, at least for now, looms distant in the face of the apparent lack of justice and assumption of responsibilities.