8 andean truths little time or space for indigenous voices, testimonies, to be heard. While Mayer provides compelling condemnations of the Vargas Llosa report (and summarizes multiple critiques by other Andean specialists), the CVR eventually adopted the report virtually unquestioned.17 Beyond its highly disputed investigation and conclusions, perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this report is its reification of historic tropes regarding indigenous peoples and cultures (both Andean and Amazonian) in Peru.18
In considering the centrality of ethnicity to the Peruvian case, it is important to underscore that the interior Andes and Amazon regions, approximately 95 percent indigenous or mestizo, and many regions predominantly non-Spanish-speaking, were the most impacted by the brutally violent conflict (the CVR report estimates 80 percent of the violence took place in these regions).19 Historically, Peru has constructed itself as a geographically, ethnically, and culturally divided nation—the dominant paradigm imagines Peru in terms of the Spanish-speaking, Westernizing, modern coastal urban areas, dominated by the capital city Lima; the Quechua-speaking, indigenousmestizo, traditional, rural Andean highlands in the center, marked by quaint colonial towns, ancient Incan ruins, and the remains of colonial semi-feudal socio-economic structures; and, to the east, the Amazon region—primitive, wild, indecipherable, impenetrable, a place without culture. Even this tripartite geographical division is generally reduced to a concept of ‘two Perus,’ 17 Other important early responses by anthropologists who had much deeper knowledge of Andean culture than the members of the Vargas Llosa commission include Rodrigo Montoya’s ‘Otra pista para entender lo que pasó en Uchuraccay.’ In a post-CVR presentation at the US-based Latin American Studies Association Conference, Montoya laments that the CVR did not take his previous writings into account and sent just two researchers to Uchuraccay, who ‘limited their work to finding in Uchuraccay more versions by comuneros of what was already known’ (see Montoya, ‘Informe de la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación: doloroso espejo del Perú’). More contemporary analyses, that provide close critical readings of the report and the New York Times article, and link these to a broader framing of indigenous peoples as ‘alien to modernity’ (Franco), and thus a dangerous threat to any modernizing national project, include Jean Franco, Cruel Modernity (56–65); Kimberly Theidon, ‘How We Learned to Kill Our Brother’; and Juan Carlos Ubilluz, ‘El fantasma de la nación cercada.’ 18 Deborah Poole and Isaías Rojas Pérez point out how this construction of the campesino is not challenged, but rather is reiterated and underscored in the section of the Yuyanapaq photographic exhibit (discussed further in this introduction) devoted to the Uchuraccay incident (Poole and Rojas, ‘Memories of Reconciliation’). 19 Quechua is the language most spoken by descendants of the indigenous peoples controlled by the Incan empire. The actual number of Quechua speakers is difficult to determine, but estimates are between 4 million and 4.5 million, about 20 percent to 25 percent of the total population. In the Andean highlands, where the civil war violence was acutely concentrated, the percentage of Quechua speakers is larger than in other regions—in some towns as high as 80 percent to 100 percent.