Peru among the bad choices, yesterday and today – Sylvia Colombo

“Perhaps the fate of Peru is still to choose between two misfortunes”.

No, the sentence was not said in this Peruvian electoral process, in 2021, in which two unprepared candidates for the post, little voted in the first round, competed with a low-level campaign for the post of president of the country.

It is a speech by Captain Lorenzo Robles, character in the historical series “El Last Bastión”, produced by TV Peru in partnership with Netflix, which tells the story of the country’s independence, whose 200 years will be commemorated on July 28. . Among other things, with the inauguration of the new president.

We are in 1821, and Lorenzo is a “realistic” soldier, that is to say a “criollo”, descendant of a European born in the Americas, who fights alongside the Spaniards against the “patriots”, those who want to independence. His brother, Francisco, is a “patriot,” and the differences between them mark the decadent trajectory of his aristocratic family in the colony’s transition to independent Peru.

When the troops of the liberator San Martín are at the gates of Lima, about to take the capital of the viceroyalty of Peru, one of the most important of the Spanish crown in the Americas, the royalist army decides to depose the viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela, considering that he no longer had the strength to defend the territory. However, instead of handing it over to the patriots, they entrusted it to another “realist”, General José de la Serna.

The very day of Pezuela’s deposition, Francisco Robles, the pro-independence brother, asks Lorenzo, the “realist”: “But isn’t it worse to kidnap Pezuela to put another realist in his place? Isn’t it better to embrace the cause of Independence? “. Lorenzo then said the phrase, which now sounds so topical: “Perhaps Peru’s fate is still to choose between two misfortunes”.

Despite being fictional, the series faithfully deals with historical facts. The plot is part of the aristocratic family nucleus of the Robles, full of conflict. Besides the brothers who do not agree with the solutions for the country, there are the parents, Catholics and faithful to the king. However, he does not hesitate to support independence with the financial decline of the family. She has been hiding for years that her husband had a child with a freed slave, who now prowls his house in search of clarifying the truth.

Another nucleus is that of a group of street actors, simple, mixed-race people who side with independence, suffer prejudices, and must turn around in a troubled Lima, where cannon bombs announce the arrival of the liberator’s troops. San Martín. There is also the indigenous nucleus, led by Justina, an older woman who advocates that people continue to speak Quechua and respect the gods of their ancestors. Their children and grandchildren are free, but they are treated with contempt and prejudice by whites, in addition to being exploited at work.

It is a great production with an excellent characterization of the time, the street markets, the sumptuous colonial Lima, the forts that guarded it, the clothes and the food are faithfully represented.

Although the presence of the heroes San Martín, Monteagudo and Bolívar is important, the central focus of the series is the people of the Viceroyalty and how they received their independence. Not just politically, but what it meant to change customs and how relations would play out. Some problems that exist today can be identified, such as prejudices, the force with which Catholic morality stifles ancestral cultures, in addition to the role of journalism in informing and illuminating reality even under different types of political pressures.

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