Cuzco’s own, Veronika Mendoza, who is running for president of Peru under the banner of Frente Amplio held a massive and celebratory rally last night in Cuzco’s very significant Plaza de Túpac Amaru.
By the 18th century revolutionary and hero of Peru, José Gabriel Condorcanqui, Túpac Amaru, this daughter of Cusco closed her campaign for the presidency in preparation for Sunday’s first round election in which she has surprised the Peruvian establishment. Mendoza continues to rise in the polls, despite severe attacks and dismissive humor, when most candidates are falling. Political analysts insist it is very possible she might pass into the second round in which she would face Keiko Fuimori of Fuerza por el Progreso.
With joy and decision her sympathizers thronged the plaza. Mendoza with her calm voice, her patience and focus, as well as her ability to connect with ordinary Peruvians, including speaking to the in Quechua, a language Mendoza learned as a girl in Cusco’s Andahuaylillas, has excited the people of Cusco and Peruvians everywhere.
Speakers affirmed that the conscious youth will never again be servants of the elite and demanded equality for all Peruvians. They claimed a living culture and a culture that can never be forgotten. “Vero, friend, Cusco is with you” the attendees shouted back.
Veronika was there, dressed in a montera, a traditional Peruvian hat, and a traditional sweater used by Cusco’s traditional women. While it is not uncommon for Presidential candidates to present themselves in local dress, in Veonika’s case it emphasizes her authenticity as a daughter of the ordinary people and a daughter of Cusco.
Analysts claim as many as 10,000 people gathered in the Túpac Amaru Plaza of the Wanchaq district. They came from the different provinces of the Region carrying white flags on which stood out the symbol of the party, a red and green flower.
The candidate took leave of the crowd by dancing and stomping her feet to the traditional huayno of the folklorist Gualberto Apaza. She looked proud and happy to the music’s strains. In this way she gave her thanks to all those present for being present and for their support in her electoral campaign.
Tawantinsuyo’s flags flew along with those of her political party. Sunday’s vote will determine her fate as a candidate but she has opened doors in Peru’s political scene that will not be easily closed.