photo of person from Peru Cerro de Pasco
Peru glossary


(PERU 25)






cultural researcher


Cerro de Pasco





Section 1
We are with Victor Osorio Alania who is from the mining area Cerro de Pasco. He's a librarian in the Centro de Cultura Popular Labour (The Labour Centre for Popular Culture). We are going to talk about local customs and traditions, and as he researches this field he will give us a special view of local customs.

Victor, when were you born?
Well, Juan, I was born on the 2nd of November, 1953.

What can you remember about your early childhood?
Well, speaking with intellectual honour, my first recollections are of school. That's my first recollection, I was seven when my dear mother more or less had to drag me to school because I wanted to go to my grandmother's. It was a change, quite an abrupt change, of going from my grandmother's love to that of my mother, basically for school.

Which neighbourhood in Cerro de Pasco were you born in?
Well, I was born in Tarma Road number 34033, in Paragshi, in the house which is now a lower primary school.

What do your remember about living with your grandmother, about the way she treated you?
I lived with my grandmother from the age of two. I remember the day to day things, looking after the animals, collecting the dung, preparing the pack animals so my grandfather could collect the harvest from the villages around Chaupihuaranga river.

What do you mean by dung Victor?
Well, it's cow or huaca (huanaco- livestock similar to alpaca but smaller?) excrement. It dries out in the sun and then you can use it as fuel in the vicharra, vicharra is another word for kitchen stove.

And do you use the vicharra to cook food?
It's for food and of course to heat the little thatched houses.

What can you remember about your first years at school in Paragsha?
I have to say it was a radical change leaving my grandmother's loving care to that of my mother, it was a major change, that's why in October when I was still in the transition year, I ran off, I ran away from school to escape, in search of my grandmother's love. This is why I have such a lot of respect for my grandparents. However, I know now, with the passage of time, that my father had to do what he did as a father. I remember that time he took a belt and gave me one, a holy remedy as we say here, so that I would go to school. From that day on study has been, let's say, a vital element in my life.
Section 2
Victor, you mentioned a transition what is that?
Well, transition in my time was what they call first grade in Peru's current education system.

What can you remember about your life in the country with your grandmother, about Carnival for example?
Well Carnival ... I remember that my father used to visit us every Tuesday. He still works in Centromin Peru and his day off is a Tuesday. So on Tuesdays he would come with a bag or napsack full of shopping for the farm. So we would wait, anxious to find out what he had in his bag. There would be all the basic things, but he always brought some toys. And we would amuse ourselves throughout the week with these toys as we chased after the animals.

Victor, you are 100% Cerro de Pascan - let's talk about the local customs here. What happens at the new year, what are the celebrations like here in Cerro de Pasco?
Well, one has to say that until 1950 or 60 Cerro de Pasco had an aristocracy which used to set the agenda. But getting back to your question, here in Cerro de Pasco we usually begin with a cup of hot chocolate and as we sip it we tell each other all our good news, and we make all the good wishes we can so that all will go well for us as individuals and as a social group. This is how the new year begins in Cerro de Pasco. Now this usually coincides with snow so the whole city is dressed like a bride, in white, which makes the hot chocolate all the more attractive. Hot chocolate Cerro de Pasco style is always accompanied by breads and cakes. These cakes are like big sweetened breads, called bizcochos. Now those that can, buy the well known makes of panetones (sweet bread eaten at Christmas), the tastiest ones.

Victor, as the year goes on there are different feasts in Cerro de Pasco, so what happens around Carnival?
Perfect. But I have to stress that in January, on the 20th we have the Descent of the Kings.

What's that?
The Descent of the Kings is when the cribs are taken down in each home, and in all the public and private institutions. All the family takes part in this process. As we take the cribs apart we play around with streamers, pica pica (itching powder) and talcum powder. So Carnival begins on the 20th of January in Cerro de Pasco. Then depending on where it falls on the Gregorian calendar, Carnival is either in February or March. In Cerro de Pasco which is a cosmopolitan city we have Carnival Clubs. These Carnival Clubs one has to say in all sincerity used to belong to the local aristocracy. The Vulcan Club for example has always been very discriminatory and they always used scissors and machetes to select who would be in their ranks. The Tahuantinsuyo Club at some points was only the Andamayo family alone. The Apolo Carnival Club is the thinkers' club, according to the history of Carnival Clubs. It was called the Youth Apolo Club because it broke away from the Vulcan Club which was founded in 1906. Whereas the Apolo was established in 1922. So you can see that the Carnival Clubs were exclusively of discriminating people, they belonged to certain social elites and they have always had powerful people at their head, mainly the powerful miners of the area. These clubs from January 20 to February or March depending on the way it falls are all prepared in a certain way. On Carnival Saturday they read the Carnival Verses and the Carnival Proclamation is read on Carnival Sunday. The Verses and Proclamations are written in satirical and burlesque language which is from the Spanish influence.
Section 3
Victor, could you read us a piece of the Verse?
With pleasure Juan. I have here the Youth Apolo Club's Verse from the 1995 Carnival. One of the paragraphs says textually "That we have efficient people in the provincial council, they are tri-lingual, they speak three languages, they speak Spanish, Quechua and Mote, but a certain councillor after a few beers went off to his territory in the municipal library. He reads a lot about harikari (?), but he doesn't know what japiri (?) is, he speaks two dialects, Mote with Cancha, he learned Spanish, is that right or wrong Lobaton?” You can see here that public figures, councillors, mayors, representatives or leaders of local groups, are the target of Carnival Verses. The friend Castillo and Lobaton, or the friends Castillo and Lobaton are provincial councillors in Pasco. They're demonised, if that's what you could call it, in this Carnival Verse.

Victor, Carnival is the best or the happiest time in Cerro de Pasco, but the custom of going out onto the streets with the Carnival Clubs, on horseback, in costumes, etc., is that from around here or do they do this elsewhere?
Well, as far as my research shows we have become a cosmopolitan city, and we have adapted a series of experiences, for example, horses came to Peru with the Spanish invasion and hence that's how they came to Cerro de Pasco. The guitar which is fundamental to our music, the guitar with its body of a woman, came from Arabia to Spain and then to Peru with the conquest or the invasion. So you find many of the details we see in Cerro de Pasco throughout the country. We have Yugoslavs, Chinese, Germans, the Spanish themselves, Italians and Hungarians and each of these people come with their own customs. They have fused together, cooked in to produce the unique experience of Carnival in Cerro de Pasco.

How did all these people of different nationalities come to Cerro de Pasco Victor?
They were all drawn by the mining wealth, basically around the turn of the century, when the United States -owned mining company set up here. This company originally bought up certain mines and later grew and grew, and from mining it went into agriculture and became the most powerful company in the Central Andes of Peru.

So the mining origins of Cerro de Pasco are also the origins of what you called the powerful miners?
You could say that, but if you talk about the origins of Cerro de Pasco itself then you have to go back to the 1500s of the Christian era which is when mining began.

Who worked the mines then?
Well the miners, that's when there were capacheros (?) and japiris, who depended on their strength. They used to load up the minerals on their backs and sell to some miners, who were in turn intermediaries to buyers, who sold it on again to other people. It was a chain of exploitation, buying and selling.
Section 4
Going back to our previous theme Victor, Carnival, music from Cerro, etc. You mentioned different nationalities, didn't the Argentinians have something to do with us because of the mules from Tucuman, etc.?
Yes that's to do with the mulisa (music of the mule herders). You needed mules and pack animals to work the mill. So they used to bring mules and their herders who were real gauchos (cowboys) from the Argentinian pampas (grassy plains) in Tucuman in northern Argentina. Just as in the epic Thousand and One Nights, that beautiful book from the Middle Ages, when the herders used to sit round the fire at the end of each day, so the Argentinian mule herders from the pampas would light a fire, make coffee and of course mate (a kind of green tea) - then while away the hours singing Argentinian songs like the Vidalita. The Vidalita became the Cerro de Pascan Mulisa. The mulisa was the music of the mule-herders, mulisa comes from mule.

Victor, let's continue with Carnival since it's an important cultural event in Cerro de Pasco. How have the Carnival celebrations evolved over the years, do they still belong to the elite?
No, with time the whole of the population has become part of it. You could say that since the 1970s and 80s they have belonged to everyone. Unlike in the past, now the Carnival Clubs let children, young people, the ladies and of course the adults take part, so they have become family clubs where anyone with a vocation for music, dance or simply riding a beautiful steed can be part of one of the Carnival Clubs. You could say that each era has its own Carnival. If in past decades Carnival was only for an elite, today we are all in the Clubs.

In any case, the whole population enjoys Carnival with the clubs and processions.
Yes absolutely everyone. Now let me make a confession Juan, I've been researching Carnival in Cerro de Pasco from 1924 on, but in 1995 I said I've been an observer up till now and my desire, my enthusiasm for journalistic data led me to choose a Carnival Club at random, so I ended up in the Youth Apolo Club. Once in the Club I gave them my point of view as an observer, for example, I mentioned that the man who reads the Verse should rehearse first as we wouldn't want him to be stuttering or tripping up over the words when he has to read aloud in public. I don't know why I opened my mouth Juan, because most of them turned round and told me to read the Carnival Verse myself. So they said that if someone had been studying this then he should read and if he makes a mistake then they'd string him up. Well, they dragged me down from the car we were on and I had to read even though I hadn't rehearsed it at all. I set about reading the Verse and I suppose I must have read well because the applause for our club, for the reading of the verse, was resounding and decisive and well praised. Perhaps the reading went well because I read every day, the paper or a magazine, or a book, perhaps that's why I'm used to reading. But it didn't stop there. After the Sunday presentation the Carnival Clubs meet in the evening to renew their organising committees. And the Apolo Club met and ended up making me their president. So I ended up as president simply by reading the Carnival Verse, but imagine in the 1940s Juan, it wouldn't have mattered how well you read they’d never have made you an office bearer in any of the clubs. The statutes and regulations were very strict then but now we are in a very different period where aptitudes are worth more than money or other things.
Section 5
Victor, you were saying Carnival is more to do with city life, but what happens in the campesino communities around Cerro de Pasco?
That's the next link in the chain. Carnival in Cerro de Pasco has always begun with the dates in the Gregorian calendar, that's mining life and city life. Despite the dates in the Gregorian calendar when Carnival is supposed to have finished here in Cerro de Pasco our custom is to leave the town for the farms, the villorios (farms or country houses), or the countryside to celebrate. The farms are the little huts where the herders or farmhands stay while they look after the animals.

The villorios?
That's another word for farm. It's exactly the same now. Carnival lasts five days in the farms too. Carnival Saturday, Carnival Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Saturday for example, once the family has arrived, and the guests, they begin to prepare a table for the Jirca. The Jirca is one of the guardian mountains. They prepare the table with seven kinds of liquor, then there is the quenua or quinua which is the same as a blessing for protection, and they ask the animals to multiply, particularly the sheep or the cows. You also find coca (South American shrub whose leaves act as a stimulant or narcotic), cigarettes - without filters, they're the famous Incan cigarettes. They put all this on some paper or cloth depending on the family custom and they take it up the same mountain every year, it's the mountain where our grandparents used to make their table, our parents and then us. This is on Carnival Saturday. After we have laid the table we chew coca and then we go back to the farm. After resting on Carnival Sunday and after a good breakfast depending on the farm's resources we begin to prepare the horses, those that have them, otherwise we just prepare the ropes for the animals. Once all this has been done we tie up the cows and the women tinyan sing. The tinya (little drum) is a local percussion instrument, it's circular with cow or sheep hide, you beat it and sing. That's why we say that the men sing in tenor and the women in soprano.

Victor, they drink chinguirito (alcoholic drink), how do they make this liquor?
Well, chinguirito, the toddy, is made from ethyl or methyl alcohol though chemical studies have shown that they don't use ethyl alcohol these days and they do it with methyl instead. But the drinkers aren't to blame for the methyl business, it's the fault of those who sell it. The better prepared folk go to Quicacan, a little village near Huanuco, to buy their alcohol. They make the toddy with herbs and they boil the alcohol in a teapot and then it's served hot. That's why it's called the toddy, or chinguirito, in our way of speaking.

Well Victor, going back to the beginning of the interview, what is the dismantling or the undoing of the child you were talking about?
It's from four in the afternoon onwards as far as we have been able to see in Cerro de Pasco. The dismantling of the child is done from seven at night and goes on into the next day. First they give the little plaster animals out to the participants. If they were to give you a little plaster animal, like a little cow, you have to give two cows back the next year. If they give you a horse you have to give back two horses and if they give you a sheep you have to give back two sheep. You have to make them multiply, multiply the offering they have made you, this is the dismantling. That's why we say it is when the Christian feast ends and the wild Carnival feast is unleashed. Remember that at that time Carnival was imposed on us as an escape valve and so we still believe today that Carnival is a form of escape.
Section 6
Victor still on the subject of feasts in Cerro de Pasco, what can you tell us about the Feast of the Crosses in May?
The Feast of the Crosses in May. I have to say that before 1492 people here already had a celestial cross as a reference point, the famous southern cross has always been a guide to the tireless herders and waters [?]. The Spanish came to Peru in 1533 and to Pasco and they brought the Christian cross. The Catholic cross was a symbol of oppression, of domination and that's when we begin to find many Catholic temples, for example in Minaga, Huaycacho, San Pedro de Pari, churches founded in 1612, 1608 and 1602. Those temples were principally to indoctrinate the native peoples in Catholicism.
Now as time has passed we have found that this celebration, the Feast of the Crosses of May has taken on other nuances. One of our best known historians says that the Chonguinada dance came about in a tavern called Chongo. But we don't think this is the scientific explanation, the real explanation. Look Juan, the Huaron mines were worked by the French, so it looks like the Chonguinada is a French dance and you can see that they do a French plait. So the Chonguinada is an authentic French dance. Where did it first come to? Of course it came to the Huaron mines, the Francoi mines and then to Cerro de Pasco. That's the exact explanation, the logical explanation, let's leave our chauvinism aside and not give vague explanations. Anyhow, it's called the Chonguinada because it came from a tavern called Chongo, it's a possibility but it doesn't have all the links or all the strength it needs. There is the Negreria too. The Negreria is when the slaves who settled in Vico and Huayllay, the ones who worked in the Huaron mines, break loose, have some fun, enjoy themselves, and that's when they began to dance the Negreria. The Negreria is an act of rebellion and an act of liberation.

Victor, it's expensive to run the May feasts but, despite the crisis, people spend money. What can you say about family solidarity?
You're right, it's a tremendous economic expense. What does being a Mayordomo, a Master of Ceremonies, or a representative of the feasts, entail in the May Crosses in Cerro de Pasco? First you have to have a sentada, a sitting. This means you have to bring your dancers and family together and allocate tasks. Of course there has to be food and drinks. Then there is the descent of the Cross which means another ceremony where you have to bring food and entertain all the participants. You have to make chicha (beer), in Cerro de Pasco we do this 15 days before which also means preparing food and another little party, a pre-party you could say. Then there is the feast itself, the eve, the main day, the trucay (?), the ayhuala (?) and the head priest come, you have to ensure the dancers for the Chonguinada come. All this means a cost of around ten thousand dollars for the mayordomo (master of ceremonies), from eight to ten thousand dollars, imagine that.
Section 7
And what does an average person earn each month?
Well, A Peruvian earns around two hundred and fifty to two hundred and eighty dollars a month. So you would just think how could someone earning this amount put on a feast like that? But we do this here in the Andes, in Cerro de Pasco through our motto of "today for me, tomorrow for you" That's what we call huashqui. Maybe one of our compadres (godfather of your children, also used as a term of respect) or neighbours has taken on a feast like this in the past and we have helped him out, so now if we are the MC this compadre or neighbour will return the favour. They all help out, some with their labour, others with sugar, flour or bread, some people give sheep or cows. With everyone's help, everyone's solidarity the homage to the May Crosses is done. The May Crosses have a dual purpose, one is thanking the mountains, the Jircas, the Apus, the guardian Huamanes, and the other is permanently remembering Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the Cross. So the Feast of the May Crosses is a dual homage.

Victor, have you anything else to add on the May feasts?
You asked me before the interview why this feast is held in May, why not in November, December or July when people have a little more money? There is only one explanation, May and June is harvest time in the Andes, so because it's harvest time Jesus and the Jircas have to be thanked That's why it's in May.

Another of the Andean feasts is the Day of the Dead in November. Tell us about this.
We had some Spanish friends here in 1994 who we discussed this with. We asked them what the first and second of November was like in Spain and the Iberian peninsula. They were keen to answer us. Despite being an eminently Catholic people their feasts are somewhat austere with certain restrictions. Here in the Andes the first and second of November are days when we feel, perhaps subconsciously, we'll be with our absent loved ones again. That's why big family groups invade the cemeteries. In the cemeteries after saying a prayer and singing a cuchucoillor or a holy angel - Catholic prayers in Quechua, we decorate the graves and plant things. The families also eat local dishes, like charquican (dish made from dried llama meat), little beans, tripe and patasca (traditional soup). All this is eaten in the company of the deceased. Everyone eats round the grave, and drinks a little beer or maybe a little caliche. This is the celebration. Now it doesn't stop there. On the first of November the family puts a white cloth on a little table or a bed, and on this white cloth they put out the drinks and dishes which the dead person specially liked. They believe the dead person will come in the form of a mosquito or others say a taparacuy (?). So the dead person in the form of the taparacuy will begin to taste everything his wife or her husband has made. After the second of November they begin to hand the things out to the children and the close relatives, for example some begin to eat the pachamanca (meat an vegetables cooked in underground ovens), others the little cakes, and others whatever they think is appropriate, whilst others just have some soft drinks or beer.
Section 8
Victor what else can you remember about the November feasts?
Well, once we're in the cemetery we begin to talk about the loved one, the absent one. We talk more about their good points than their bad ones, for us their virtues have to be reincarnated in a new addition to the family. So we say for example that this son or this grandson could be like his grandfather or just the same as his grandfather. Some people want physical similarities whilst others are more interested in the character, virtues, good qualities, for example humility. All these characteristics are emulated and repeated again and again in the cemetery. Mind you, even though many years have passed the family often cry and of course, these tears are good for the flowers so they will bloom more.

We've talked about death in Cerro de Pasco, now let's talk about life. What do people do here when a baby is born, when a new person comes into the world?
Well, in Cerro de Pasco which our friend Tamber called the camp city, the camp city bombarded by the open weal, that's what he said about it. It seems like a curse that most people born round here are predestined to die in the mines. Think about my experience in Paragsha, in a neighbourhood of miners, first those who worked in the Cerro de Pasco Corporation and now those who work in Centromin Peru. I've seen many of my own generation and I still see many of others who if their father was a miner then they will be too. That's how we have generation on generation of workers whether permanent or on contract, in the Cerro de Pasco mines. This is typical in Paragsha, Miraflores, Ayapoto, Buenos Aires and Champamamrca, all mining neighbourhoods. But leaving San Juan and Chaupimarca you find young people with other ambitions. They hope to go on to a higher institute or university, people with other dreams and perspectives. Now depending on his possibilities a youngster from Cerro de Pasco can either study in Cerro or go further afield to Huanuco, Huancayo or Lima which are the most favoured places.

You have talked a little about young people's hopes but tell us what happens when a baby is born, are there any typically local celebrations, how are they different from those of other places?
Well, there is a dual meaning here. The first is that if the first child is a woman then she brings good luck. Go and ask about this in Paragsha or Ayapoto, ask your father-in-law, your father or whoever you like and they will tell you that if the eldest is a woman then it's a sign of good luck, a symbol of pirgua some say. What's pirgua? It's the harvest put by for hard times and so a daughter symbolises pirgua, abundance, that there will never be shortages in the home. Now if a boy is the first born there'll be some setbacks in the family but somehow or other they'll get through the difficulties. Nowadays if it's a boy they're very proud and say he will carry on the family name, he will protect his family and make sure his sisters are respected, that's what they tend to say.
But apart from the beliefs around whether the first born is a girl or a boy we still believe other things in Cerro de Pasco. Families have at least six to eight children. We have found through our research in the Labour Institution. In the trade unions we have discussed some issues, such as hospital or medical care, free education and apart form their wife, their lover and children or step-children. So the miners apart from having six or eight children have a lover on top.
Section 9
A lover?
A lover, a sideline, or maybe just a deposit for all their woes.

What do you think of young people in Cerro de Pasco?
Young people here are concerned just as they are elsewhere in the country. When I was in Cuzco in 1994 I was a little surprised not to hear Cuzcan music. I thought Cuzco was the symbol of Peruvian identity and imagined that I would hear a lot of huayno there, but that wasn't the case. Young people here have the same problem, 15 to 25 year olds like to listen to pop, rock, salsa or just chicha (a mixture of tropical and traditional music) music. But from 25 on they tend to go back to their roots, to rediscover their identity. Lots of 22 year olds now talk about their identity, about cultural recovery and valuing Pascan culture.

Victor, you've lived here most of your life, how would you assess the situation here in Cerro de Pasco?
I've always said that we're destined to disappear. Look at the experiences of other mining towns such as Potosi in Bolivia, Potosi in Mexico, Santa Barbara de Carhuacan and the Huancavelican mines, so we are predestined to disappear. That's why in the Labour we have put all our energies into writing about our cultural roots, we have to record our roots. All the mineral research on this area shows that mining can only last 60 or 70 years more, so we're talking about from now until 2050 or 2060. So Cerro de Pasco will disappear which is why we have to leave proof that our town, our people, existed. Unlike other towns, they're not going to talk about Cerro de Pasco from 2050 on. This way at least we'll be in libraries or the odd reference so we must record the history of our town.

Victor, do you think there is still history to be written about Cerro de Pasco?
I think so. I gave you the example of the Chonguinada. It's origins have not been agreed, from our research we still maintain it's a French dance which came first to Francoi and Huaron and only to Cerro de Pasco after that. Just as the origins of the Chonguinada need to be explained so we also have to explain how the May feast is not solely Catholic but is also part of the agrarian tradition. We also need to explain the real origins of Cerro de Pasco. Marino Pacheco has said that the Yaruvilcas were the first inhabitants of this area. The Yaruvilcas came from the highlands of Puno in search of new land, they reached the Bombon plateau and then what is now Cerro de Pasco where they settled. We are descendants of the Yaruvilcas according to Marino Pacheco. We think this is very interesting but it needs to be made known nationally. If you look at a secondary school text book you won't find any of this. In one book it says the Yaros were the first inhabitants of Pasco, but with no more information. They talk about Huaricapcha as a prototype of the birth of Cerro de Pasco. Is Huaricapcha a figment of the imagination of the Cerro people or did he really exist? What is it? Is it history, a legend, a story or a myth? What is it? All this shows we have a lot more to research, I don't think it's finished yet. The things Cesar Perez Arauco has been doing have helped to construct the cultural personality of Pasco. But that isn't everything, he's made a contribution as a person, a citizen, a literary figure, a historian, but other generations have to do their own research, it's not just a case of repeating his work.
Section 10
Victor, tell us the Huaricapcha legend or myth about how he discovered the mining wealth.
Well, once again mining in Cerro de Pasco began in the pre-Inca era whilst Haricapcha dates from 1630 in the Christian era. The story goes that one sunny morning Santiago Haricapcha went out to graze his cattle, he had about 30 head of cattle, and suddenly the sky filled with jaguars as Manuel Scorza would say. The storm began, then the hail and the snow and Haricapcha had to look for shelter. He found a cave but the storm persisted all day and Haricapcha had to stay in the cave. That night he lit a fire and they say that the heat of the fire drew down threads of silver and gold. Huaricapcha didn't know he had discovered the minerals in Cerro de Pasco. He took two or three threads to Huariaca where the land-owner lived. The land-owner congratulated him and that's when they think mining began in the area. This legend is very similar to one they tell in Bolivia. Maybe our miners, our people took a few ideas, made-up others and joined the Bolivian character up with the Cerro.

Victor can you tell us any other significant legends from Cerro de Pasco?
There's the Ganchana the child-eater and Juan del Oso. Juan del Oso came from Spain, you find Juan del Oso in Chile, in Bolivia, in Cuzco, Puno and in Cerro de Pasco. But Juan del Oso has different companions depending on the part of the country. In Cerro de Pasco he fights with the condemned man and when he defeats him he is forgiven and becomes a man. Juan del Oso is a universal story with nuances for each area. There is also the story of the Muqui which is part of the mining tradition, especially in Bolivia and Peru. What is the Muqui? The Muqui is about 80 cm to a metre in height. If you catch a Muqui at work he will do all your work for you and you can sleep or relax and the Muqui will do all your work. They say the Muqui and other mining characters are jealous and they won't let any women into the mine. That's why no women to date have entered the mines in the Cerro or in Bolivia, not one woman engineer, researcher or journalist. They've only reached the surface but none have gone down into the galleries
Now regarding cattle, recently we were talking to Alcibiades Cristobal, a guide who lives in the Huaillay stone woods. Alcibiades told us about the Illa. He says it begins to roam after midnight until daybreak the following day. If you can catch an Illa your animals will multiply, but really multiply. I've also heard other shepherds talk about Illas but that's the first time anyone's ever talked to me about it. This also needs to be written down and circulated in the right places. They are legends and traditions of our people.

Victor, the Huaillay community you talked about, what do they live on these days, are they still cooking with dung?
Yes you find the law of compensation in Huaillay. People still cook with dung or champa (sod, turf), but you also find they use fuel and some houses have their vicharra but they also have a gas or kerosene stove. When they run out of kerosene they light the vicharra and when there is no dung they use the kerosene one.

There are many songs from round here, many huaynos, mulisas and chimachas, etc. Which do you like most?
Well my favourite is the mulisa "to you" which was written in 1924, the 22nd of February 1924, by Graciano Ricce. I like this one because it's become our town's hymn more or less. It says "on the path of life we often find pleasure hurries on and pain goes slowly" You can see the worker's lament in the first part. Many people who work in the mines in Cerro de Pasco know they go in to work alive but they don't know how they'll come out. The misfortunes of life and death are ever present in Cerro de Pasco. The chorus says "life is a dream little Indian girl and everyone wants to dream about the little Black girl, my dreams are so sad that I'd rather wake up". Life is but a dream a well known universal poet would say, but life is not just a party or happiness. Life and happiness especially in Cerro de Pasco, a mining town, means permanently dealing with problems. That's why the huaynos, mulisas, chimaychas and the pasacalles of Cerro de Pasco are not for dancing or for getting drunk to, they're songs to listen to just like the songs from Ayacucho. Someone once said to me - but these songs are so sad they make you cry. It's because they have pillaged this place, not only minerals but also our thoughts, these people have to complain one way or another. The songs are a testament, they're like banners, or loud-speakers through which we make known our laments and pains, but also our hopes and good-fortunes.
Section 11
Victor you said Cerro de Pasco was destined to disappear. Mining has caused a lot of damage, the pollution for example, what do you think of this?
I still think mining has to give to other sectors, it has to give something back and create new jobs. Cerro de Pasco and Pasco in general is both a mining and agricultural area, that's why there needs to be an inter-relation and compensation. The mine has to contribute to this, it has to support and promote a resurgence in agriculture and cattle breeding. Being both a mining and agricultural area in my opinion is the way to stop Cerro de Pasco from disappearing.

Would you say that mining has been more of a source of sorrow than happiness for Cerro de Pasco?
Yes that's the case, and it has to be said loudly because no town in this world, with but a few exceptions, have been hit as hard as we have. I mean with that grey welt, the great open welt. It's synonymous with progress, technical advance, the mining industry, but that's for those who get good use of these primary products, it's not for the people of Pasco. We haven't seen one cent of it, there has been no investment in our favour, absolutely none. Some might say the university, but that's not true. The university was a product of the efforts of the mining unions in Cerro de Pasco, particularly the rail-workers union. They might say the education institutes. But that's not the case either, they're a result of people's needs, people have fought for their education institutes. So Centromin doesn't have any badges to boast about, no sir, we are giving back our suffering, the exploitation of Cerro de Pasco. They don't have the moral standing, they just don't have it!

Victor what is the relationship between the trade unions and the university, now in 1995?
There's none, it's dead! Unfortunately it's dead! Once the university was established it began to separate itself from the trade unions, that's why there's a demand now that our university - we say ours because in reality we all put in effort to bring it to fruition - develops a social perspective. I don't mean them to go out singing and dancing, or lighting fireworks. I mean they have to interpret the needs of the miners, the campesinos and the whole population here. Our university has never organised a debate on the issue of the privatisation of Centromin. That's why we say they're castrated, they live on a private island, behind a great wall, maybe that's why they can't hear the workers and the unions' complaints.
Section 12
Victor, thanks for the interview, do you have anything more to add?
Well, I'd like to thank our friends from Panos for visiting Cerro de Pasco. Their presence and interest in our town which must seem very distant to them, encourages us to carry on with our research. Thanks very much to our brothers in IPEMIN and especially to you Juan.