Peru's military government entered its fifth year on Tuesday (3 October). One of the most?
Peru's military government entered its fifth year on Tuesday (3 October). One of the most notable effects of the regime has been the growth of its creation SINAMOS - Systems Nacional de Apoyo a la Movilizacion Social (National System of Support for Social Mobilisation).
"Social mobilisation" was a policy introduced last year, and put in the charge of General Leonidas Rodriguez Figueroa, who was given a cabinet seat. Its aim is to educate the people of Peru to make their own political, economic and social decisions at local and regional levels. The Government has said the main function o SINAMOS is to "change the structure of power in the country." General Rodriguez says SINAMOS is in accord with the Government's scheme for creating a "social democracy of full participation" - a distinct alternative both to capitalism and communism.
SINAMOS executives are mostly part-timers, from all walks of life, who are trained to be "promotores" (promoters). Its activities are divided into 13 regions. The first co-operative elections were held in April, and made history by being opened to every adult, the former literacy test having been abolished. SINAMOS co-operatives are gradually taking over control of many firms: the first was the Ciurlezza Maura furniture factory in Lima. It faced bankruptcy when the family owners withdrew their capital after the 1968 military coup. The 250 workers, all with tat least ten years' service and facing unemployment, appealed to SINAMOS. The Government agreed to capitalise the factory, which is now run by an eight-man workers' council.
The Government is encouraging the development of SINAMOS towns, and several new settlements built on a co-operative basis have replaced old shanty-towns. At El Salvador, for example, a new town has been created at the last year. It is run co-operatively - there are 22,000 families, and every thirty families elect three representatives to the administering body. SINAMOS experts held an intensive course, with three hours of lectures every day for six weeks, at which finance and administration were tough. The "graduates" were presented with diplomas by Brigadier Jorge Carlin Arce, director of the SINAMOS Region Ten, at a ceremony which was also attended by Monsenor Luis Bambaren, Bishop of the "Pueblos Jovenes" (New Towns).
Propaganda for SINAMOS includes extensive use of posters - usually featuring Tupac Amaru, an Inca Prince beheaded by the Spanish for leading a revolt, who is now the official symbol for the participation of the millions of Peruvian Indians in political and economic life. Children's comics are also used, often with traditional fairy stores being rewritten to illustrate the revolutionary message.
The only opposition to SINAMOS came from the Sociedad Nacional Agraria (National Agrarian Society), a powerful body representing coastal landowners, which became a pressure group for landlords threatened by reform. In May, the group published large newspaper advertisements claiming the presence "in various coastal valleys of known professional agitators who are trying to gain free access to funds." The agitators were said to be official SINAMOS envoys. General Rodriguez acted quickly, denying the accusation and banning the SNA.
SYNOPSIS: Peru celebrated the fourth anniversary of its military government on Tuesday. The country is also boosting its scheme for putting more power in the hands of the people.
General Leonidas Rodriguez Figueroa has been given the cabinet-level job of supervising the project. It's known as SINAMOS--an abbreviation for the National System of Support for Social Mobilisation. The government say it's a viable alternative both to capitalism and communism--with farms, factories and communities run on co-operative lines.
Tupac Amaru, an Aztec revolutionary leader, is their symbol of participation.
Posters and comics are an important part of the campaign to teach the people the theories of SINAMOS. In the comics, familiar fairy tales are adapted, with the characters illustrating various aspects of developing Peru's new project.
A very real illustration of SINAMOS is this Lima furniture factory, which faced bankruptcy when the owners withdrew their capital after the 1968 military coup. The two hundred and fifty workers faced unemployment, but the government put SINAMOS to work. Now, with government finance, the workers run the factory themselves, the "bosses" being a team of eight elected workers.
Another SINAMOS situation is the sugar plantation at Paramonga. (PAUSE - 5 SECONDS). The only opposition to the scheme has been in agricultural areas, where an organisation of landowners started a campaign alleging agitation and corruption. General Rodriguez swiftly denied the charges and abolished the organisation. The election system has also been reformed. Traditional parties have been scrapped, and the former literacy qualification has been dropped. When workers vote for committee members the ballots include simple symbols to help identification. Voting was encouraged, and the people were urged with the slogan "show that you are the owner." Here at paramonga, for example, the locally-elected board run things. There is a national SINAMOS representative, but the government insist he must not participate in decisions, merely act as liaison with the central authority and advise on procedure.
Senior SINAMOS officials frequently visit communities, such as Brigadier Jorge Carlin Arce who went to a town called El Salvador. He was there to present diplomas to people who had graduated from an intensive six-week course at which government experts coached them in finance, and all aspects of town administration. The trainees were elected after El Salvador was rebuilt from a shanty town under SINAMOS planning.
The community project includes full provision for social services, among them, direct aid for less privileged citizens. There is now even a special bishop for new towns, and the government seems determined to apply SINAMOS to revolutionise the country in fact, as well as in spirit.