The Ministry of Culture of Peru has been the last to join the widespread rejection against a wedding held last weekend in the country. The setting of the wedding between the daughter of a Peruvian politician and a Spanish aristocrat recreated forced labor from past times and was adorned with people dressed as indigenous people doing housework. The Peruvian government office in charge of the fight against racism has described the show as disrespectful. “We reproach the inappropriate use of our cultural diversity for commercial or leisure reasons, since it affects” that it is perceived as “something exotic”, Alerta Racismo, the state platform that confronts ethnic-racial discrimination in the country, tweeted this Thursday. Andean.
As part of their party, Belén Barnechea, daughter of former presidential candidate Alfredo Barnechea, and Martín Cabello de los Cobos, grandson of the counts of Fuenteblanca, occupied a pedestrian street in Trujillo, some 560 kilometers north of Lima, in a kind of parade with a band of musicians and fireworks. Until then, all normal. But on their way, there was a group of young women with long braids and dressed as indigenous people, sitting on the ground with baskets and utensils, pretending that they were cooking or weaving. A few meters further on, while the bride advanced and the invited children helped to hold up the train of her dress, half-naked men walked with hunched backs, tied with ropes between them, as if they were the pawns of a pre-Columbian authority who headed the group.
In the colonial architecture house where the party was held, another third group of people – dressed as slaves and chained to some railings on the second floor of the patio – moved as if they were doing forced labor, while the family of the bride and groom and the guests They drank and danced. The images of the wedding went viral on Wednesday and deserved massive rejection on social networks by citizens, NGOs and anti-racism groups, but not by the State, which did not make a statement until Thursday.
The Racism Alert platform pointed out that “the staging and characterization of pre-Columbian culture, slavery and the use of cultural elements originating in Trujillo” reinforces “historical stereotypes that do not add to the respectful treatment that Peru’s ancient culture deserves.” In addition, the anti-racism office of the Ministry of Culture asked citizens to promote respect for “cultural diversity, expressed through identity, languages and cultures” to eliminate ethnic-racial discrimination.
On the other hand, Chirapaq, the most experienced NGO in the defense of the rights of the Andean and Amazonian peoples, posted one of the videos of the party on Twitter and explained that cultural diversity is a value “as long as those involved interact as equals.” . Something that did not happen at the controversial party, because those who enlivened the wedding with their characterizations and costumes were part of a background. “The indigenous and Afro-Peruvian characters were just decoration. They don’t speak, they don’t drink or eat, they don’t enjoy with the guests, they don’t live”, Chirapaq specified.
In another tweet, the association spread a painting from the time of the Peruvian viceroyalty (1540-1821) that portrays colonial society. “There are stories that similarly document the entrance of the viceroys to Lima and other parts of the Colony: the public in submission, the display of costumes, fruits, seeds, gold and silver, and the pomp that followed through the streets and squares” , described on Twitter.
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