Terrorism is perhaps and odd topic for the language classroom, but in the spirit of our “street-level” Spanish lessons, we could not pass up the opportunity to comment on Calle Tarata – or Tarata Street – which was the site of a bloody man-made explosion in 1992. Calle Tarata is located in a mixed residential and commercial area, and is now, and was then, blocks from any police or military installation. The purpose of the attack was to cower the populace, and scare off investment. The curious thing about this bombing is that in fact it had quite the opposite effect, and Peruvians often think of Calle Tarata as the time the war against the “Sendero Luminoso” terrorists began to turn around. The terrorist war in Peru lasted from 1985 to 1992 and killed more than 60,000 people, mostly innocent “campesinos” caught between two warring parties. For many, the memorial at Tarata is more than a monument to honor the dead, but rather a symbol that recalls when the tide turned from fear to hope.

If you would like to know more about this period of Peruvian history, check out this entry on wikepedia: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atentado_en_Miraflores_de_1992

And this video on youtube offers a glimpse of the immediate aftermath to the explosion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0KfIvX-Zb4

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