Peru 1988

So I have resigned from my position? So what? And why is the bearded stranger interested in the Minister of Agriculture resigning in a country where he is visiting for just a few weeks? Tourists like him get enough food don’t they? Yes, I am aware that the population of Peru now is about the same as it was before the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century and I am aware that food distribution isn’t as good now as it was under the Inca. One of the early uses of coca leaves by the Inca people was to give stamina to the runners who every day collected fresh fish from the sea for the Inca rulers, in their mountain cities. And few people know that Machu Picchu, the magnificent ruined city so deep in the mountains that the Spanish never destroyed it, was partly an agricultural research station. Peru has more micro-climates (21) than any other country and Machu Picchu covers several. Thus the terraces which creep up the hillside are a greater density than other places, stretching from river up to mountain peaks. The Inca grew everything: potatoes at the bottom, then corn, beans, coca and fruit.

Machu PIcchu terraces

Machu PIcchu terraces

I suppose the bearded stranger might be interested in my resignation because the public sector affects everything here, even travellers, and what we politicians do affect the public sector. While he was in Peru, for example, the banks went on strike, public transport workers refused to work every alternate day, and the miners were demonstrating in the capital. We politicians blame the Marxists and terrorists of course. And the newspapers have blamed the politicians, mostly me - and mostly mentioning the 70 million dollars I have made for myself in two years, and demanding my resignation.