On Sunday, a marketing and business development director for a travel company in the New York area, Vanessa Ponce, made her way to Queens College to vote in the Peruvian elections, a slightly tedious but necessary endeavor for her, even though she is passionate about her voice being heard.
"People are protesting and marching against dictators, corrupts, and rulers who recklessly trampled the human rights of thousands of people. People want their voices to be heard so our history is not forgotten, furthermost not repeated," Ponce says.
Ponce is referring to the young women featured in the video below from The Guardian who smeared red paint on their inner thighs to highlight the abuses under the former president Alberto Fujimori, who is serving time for human rights violations. The young women wanted to highlight the forced sterilization of at least 300,000 Peruvian women, mostly poor and indigenous, from the '90s.
In Lima alone, about 50,000 Peruvians marched in protest of the candidacy of Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the former president who is now the frontrunner in the presidential election against Pedro Kuczynski, a former World Bank economist.
Ponce says that their outspoken protests should encourage every Peruvian to look outside their bubble and sympathize with those who perished and continue to suffer the ravages of former leaders.
Still, the country is headed into a runoff election, which will take place on June 5 between Fujimori and Kuczynski, since neither candidate managed to win the 50 percent needed to claim an outright victory in Sunday’s first round of voting, according to Fusion.
"Ultimately, this should motivate us to be responsible and involved in taking part of the future of our country when choosing the right person and who will represent all of us," Ponce says, "from the modest family in our capital to the poorest family in a remote village in the Andeans."