Peru’s Memory Museum 50 Percent Complete

Work on Peru’s Memory Museum, which is to be a tribute to the victims of Peru’s 1980-2000 internal conflict, is 50 percent completed, the president of the commission in charge of the project, human rights lawyer Diego Garcia-Sayan, said.

Garcia-Sayan, who is currently president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, said the museum will open in 2013.

“We had a ceremony (on Tuesday) for the completion of 50 percent of the installations and to give it a new push,” Garcia-Sayan told state news agency Andina. Present at the ceremony were retired Monsignor Luis Bambaren and the German ambassador, Joachim Schmillen.  In 2009, Germany donated $2 million to the project, which includes $1 million towards maintenance of the museum for a period of 10years and the balance for the construction.

The museum is to honor the 70,000 people who died and the hundreds more reported missing during the 20 years of political violence in Peru between the Maoist Shining Path insurgents and government security forces.

Details of the conflict were collected over three years by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, CVR, whose members interviewed witnesses and victims in Lima and throughout the highlands, and produced an impeccable nine-volume report. An initial exhibition included many of the details collected, with contributions from news photographers, contemporary news reports, and audiovisual.  Part of that exhibition is still open to the public, in the Museum of the Nation.

“To remember is not to open a page to put salt in a wound, but rather to understand that what occurred can be repeated if today’s youth, our future citizens, do not make sure that the causes that led to this are confronted,” said Garcia-Sayan.

The museum is being built overlooking Lima’s Costa Verde ocean front on a lot donated by the Miraflores municipal government. A bid was called for the architectural design in 2009.

The head of the commission was originally held by Peruvian Nobel prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa and later by artist Fernando de Szyszlo, who retired in 2011.

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