Literally "young towns
", "pueblos jóvenes
" is the nickname
given to the shanty-towns
which line Lima
's hilltops, in the capital
of the Republic of Peru
. Populated almost exclusively by Indian
and mestizo campesinos
(rural folk) from Peru's sierra
, the pueblos jóvenes were spontaneously formed in the 1980s, when peasants fled military conflict between Alan García
's helpless and ineffective armed forces and the Maoist Sendero Luminoso
. With the capture of Sendero leader Abimael Guzmán
, guerrilla warfare has been all but eliminated in the Peruvian countryside, but the pueblos jóvenes remain.
The towns are composed of poorly-constructed shacks which generally lack running water, electricity, and other basic necessities. Crime is rampant, and Limenian police make random and sporadic arrests to deter the antisocial behavior from seeping into the already violent city below. Many of the dwellings are painted with the colors of APRA, the Partido Socialista del Perú, or the resident's political candidate of choice. Some still bear the logo of disgraced three-term president Alberto Fujimori, now living in exile in Japan, sometimes because the resident hasn't had the time or money to repaint his dwell, sometimes because he is still a fujimorista.
Fujimori his successor, president Alejandro Toledo pushed through various initiatives to return the peasants to the farming and mining communities which have been devastated by the exodus to the city, but their ineffectiveness is evident in the jarring sight of hundreds of thousands of people living in cramped quarters above the Americas' fifth-largest city.