THE CARRIERS' PREDICAMENT IN THE CITY OF CUZCO
|The CARRIER phenomenon in the city of Cuzco is a result of migration from the countryside to the city. Since the 1980's and due to the economic, social, and political crisis plaguing our country, poor peasants have been leaving their communities and heading to the city in search of better living conditions for themselves and their families. Some of these peasants stay only temporarily in Cuzco while others choose to take up permanent residence.|
| In the city of Cuzco, there are
around two thousand migrants who are currently working as carriers and/or
stevedors. These range in age from ten to fifty, although youths make up
approximately seventy percent of this population.
The carriers begin their days at five in the morning, wandering the food markets of Cuzco in search of work. Their work is difficult, requiring that they use physical strength to carry bundles that in some cases may surpass 120 kilograms.
The precarious economic situation of the carriers in the city impedes them from finding adequate places to eat and sleep. Because of this fact, many look to acquaintances for logding while others spend the night under tents where products are sold on the street, putting their health at serious risk.
In general, carriers are considered to be second class citizens. They are the poorest of the poor and suffer every kind of discrimination imaginable. The work that they do is not valued and they are marginalized because of their economic, social, and cultural condition as well as for their language - Quechua.
The indifference toward this predicament on behalf of the civil society, the local authorities, and public and private institutions is notorious. It would seems as if carriers did not exist in the city of Cuzco. For example, carriers are not taken into account when it comes to means of communication.. Or, perhaps their situation is not seen as relevant enough to merit including them in the news or drawing the public eye to them. Also, for state, regional, and municipal authorities, the predicament of the carriers does not take on any importance, except during times of election.
Luis Alberto de la Torre Salas ("Lucho")