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Art & Culture

Museum of Tolerance Closed by Ultra-Conservative Lima Mayor

  • Craig Miller
  • |
  • April 12, 2023
  • |
  • 3 minute read
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Museum of Tolerance Closed by Ultra-Conservative Lima Mayor
Key Takeaways
  • Lima's mayor, Rafael López Aliaga, has closed the Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion (Lum), a museum dedicated to remembering Peru's violent history, citing municipal safety standards as the reason for the closure.
  • Human rights activists and organizations have expressed alarm over the closure, arguing that it contributes to a growing trend of misinformation surrounding the atrocities committed by both the Peruvian military and the Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path.
  • Mayor López Aliaga, a member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei and founder of the far-right National Renovation party, has been a vocal critic of the museum since its inception, claiming that it promotes a "false narrative" of the war.
  • The closure of Lum coincides with political turmoil in Peru since December, and human rights activists are concerned about the dangers of suppressing important historical events and the potential consequences of an uneducated population accepting misinformation as truth.
  • The European Union in Peru has emphasized the importance of historical memory for democracies and praised Lum as a place where citizens could learn about their past and reflect on the suffering endured during the conflict, with the goal of preventing its recurrence.

 

Lima’s mayor, Rafael López Aliaga, has shut down the Place of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion (Lum), a museum dedicated to remembering Peru’s violent history.

The museum aimed to provide a space for understanding and healing the wounds from brutal clashes between government forces and guerrilla groups during the 1980s and 1990s.

Controversial Decision Amid Ideological Struggle

Lum was managed by Peru’s Ministry of Culture and welcomed approximately 60,000 visitors annually.

It sought to commemorate the thousands of lives lost in the conflict and encourage discussions about the country’s past.

However, the museum’s closure comes as part of an ongoing ideological battle over how to remember Peru’s turbulent history.

Mayor López Aliaga, a member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei and founder of the far-right National Renovation party, has been a vocal critic of the museum since its inception.

He claims that it promotes a “false narrative” of the war, which resulted in over 70,000 casualties, according to Peru’s truth and reconciliation commission.

The official reason given for the closure was that the museum failed to meet municipal safety standards.

Mayor López Aliaga, a member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei and founder of the far-right National Renovation party, has been a vocal critic of the museum since its inception.

Human Rights Activists Express Concern

Human rights activists and organizations have expressed alarm over the decision, arguing that it contributes to a growing trend of misinformation surrounding the atrocities committed by both the Peruvian military and the Maoist guerrilla group Shining Path.

Eduardo González Cueva, a human rights consultant at the International Centre for Transitional Justice in New York, believes the closure fits into a broader right-wing movement that denies government-related crimes in Latin America.

The European Union in Peru also weighed in on the issue, emphasizing the importance of historical memory for democracies.

In a tweet, the organization praised Lum as a place where citizens could learn about their past and reflect on the suffering endured during the conflict, with the goal of preventing its recurrence.

Political Turmoil and Suppression of History

The museum’s closure coincides with political unrest in Peru since December, when former president Pedro Castillo staged a coup after failing to dissolve the country’s congress.

On the same day Lum’s closure was announced, Amnesty International was scheduled to present a report on police’s excessive use of force against civilian protestors at the museum.

López Aliaga’s actions have raised concerns among human rights activists about the dangers of suppressing important historical events and the potential consequences of an uneducated population accepting misinformation as truth.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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