The 'Wall of Shame' Will Be Demolished

Per the ruling of Peru's Constitutional Court
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2023 2:21 PM CST
The 'Wall of Shame' Will Be Demolished
A wall separates the shantytown known as Pamplona and the gated community of Casuarinas, in Lima, Peru, Friday, Dec. 30, 2022.   (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

A "discriminatory" wall is set to come down. That's by order of Peru's Constitutional Court, which ruled a 6-mile long wall in Lima that's nicknamed the "Wall of Shame" must be demolished within 180 days. AFP reports that the initial portion of the wall was put up in the 1980s "under the pretext" of safeguarding the wealthy neighborhood of La Molina from Shining Path guerrillas. The violence between the government and the Shining Path drove Peruvians seeking safety from rural areas into Lima, where they built shanties and found work in richer neighborhoods. But after the group's defeat, the wall—up to 10 feet tall with a barbed-wire top—was only made longer.

Today it separates four neighborhoods, two of them poor, two affluent, reports the Atlantic, which in 2019 spoke with a woman who lives in one of the impoverished parts and recounted the wall going up when she was a child. "They look[ed] at us as if we're thieves, that our children are, too, and like we want[ed] to enter their houses," she said of the sentiment that arose prior to the wall's construction, which she recalled happening in a week's time. Once in place, her mother, like many others, could no longer work on the other side, as doing so would require a walk not of 15 minutes, but of two hours.

"It can't be that we divide Peruvians by social classes. That is unacceptable, it is no longer happening anywhere in the world," said Judge Gustavo Gutierrez of last week's decision. In 2016, the Conversation looked at life on either side of the wall, and found stark differences: On the wealthy side, greenery; running water; cameras and guards; pools; and sprawling homes measuring 10,000 square feet. On the other side, 250-square-foot homes made of scrap material; water must be carted in. (More Peru stories.)

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