Commentary

Standoff at the Four Points by Sheraton on Saphi Street

Controversial Sheraton under Construction on Saphy (La Republica)

Controversial Sheraton under Construction on Saphy (La Republica)

Controversial Sheraton under Construction on Saphy (La Republica)

The drums roll. The countdown continues while many hang on the edge of anguish.

Tomorrow, the 29th of December, is the deadline to stop the construction of a ten story Four Points by Sheraton hotel on Saphi street—the Comisión de Juristas claims it violates statutes and the aesthetics that govern the Inca and Colonial center of Cusco—or let its irregularities become accepted under the law and the building continue.

A demonstration is planned for today and media have spread the word throughout Peru, bringing pressure on Cusco’s mayor, Carlos Moscoso, to decide between the pressure of multimillion dollar investment and international tourism agencies or the rules and procedures for maintaining the basis of colonial and Inca Cusco that is one of the country’s main tourist draws and is regulated by local, national, and international rules.

Moscoso’s decision will be difficult. The issue places the massive investment of the international hotel chain Sheraton and the Peruvian state’s search for international funds in conflict with the bureaucracy and interest groups in favor of protecting a monument declared by UNESCO a Heritage site.

Lamula.pe, a major Peruvian blog and multi-author commentary on Peruvian events, observes that in this case “what one law permits may violate what another law protects. And, that seems exactly what is happening in this case.”

Much pressure falls on Moscoso to declare the construction in violation and demand it be demolished at the same time intense lobbying, no doubt, demands it continue for the benefit of Cusco’s and Peru’s economy and good relationship with multinational corporations and multilateral agencies.

Emotions are high and the seconds are counted. Cusco itself sees to hang in the balance. Today and tomorrow will tell which present and which future will be taken.

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