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Peru's García unpopular despite boom

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Earlier this month, the General Confederation of Workers called a national strike to protest García's economic policies and demand that wealth be spread across the country. It was one of a series of strikes in recent months that have been most powerful in the countryside, where poverty is as high as 70 percent.

But the disjuncture is also apparent in the capital, and perhaps no more so than in Gamarra, the garment district of Lima. Textile exports have been booming, and with consumer spending up, pedestrian streets are packed with buyers. On a recent day, men haul rolls of hot pink, red, and baby blue fabric and cart around piles of T-shirts.

But outside the gate, across the street, and down three blocks lives Rosa Huilca, a mother of four whose husband works in a T-shirt factory in Gamarra. The transformation she has seen across the street has not found its way to her doorstep, where up a dank, dark flight of stairs in a huge apartment complex, she lives with her family in a single room with bunk beds. Seven families share the single bathroom down the hall.

"Instead of getting better, life has gotten harder. Everything is more expensive now," says Ms. Huilca. "The president has tricked us."

It is sentiments like this that put García's approval rating at about 26 percent, according to the polling firm Ipsos-Apoyo in Lima, making him both among the least popular in the region and far more unpopular than Humala.

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