Peru – pray for the poorest of the poor

From a Peruvian Christian law professor who loves his country, and serves her people with great compassion

If you have to pray for Peru, pray for the poorest of the poor in our cities.

Although our government has implemented many measures in order to fight the spread of COVID-19 (including one of the strictest and harshest lockdowns in the world), contagion did not seem to stop, due to a number of factors. Most of those have to do with the pre-existing (and always-existing) poverty of our people, which material demands have not been really solved since we are a Republic.

For instance, the government implemented a bonus program to support people who went unemployed. But just over a third of Peruvian adults have a bank account. Desperation led many to go to the banks in order to ask whether they would receive anything, making long lines in which they probably exposed themselves to the virus.

Recommendations on personal hygiene included washing your hands with running water and soap and constantly cleaning them with alcohol gel, without taking into account that the poor may not have access to water or money to buy soap/gel.

Public officers ask citizens to keep distance, without taking into account that the poor tend to live in overcrowded rooms and have to go to the markets to buy food on a daily basis, because they do not have refrigerators or they make just enough to survive each day.

I ask you to pray for “technical” wisdom for our policymakers, so they are able to have the living conditions of the poor into account while developing policies.

Around 70% of the national economy is informal. Therefore, many people make a living by selling goods in the streets. They take public transportation to get to the crowded streets, taking the risk of getting COVID-19.

I ask you to pray for the Lord to put compassion in the hearts of authorities, so they stop criminalizing street vendors who have no other option but going out.

When the upper and middle class were able to find refuge working from home, the poor were left to fend for themselves in the streets. Due to the closing of most soup kitchens, homeless people is struggling even more than usual. The Municipality of Lima implemented a program called “Casa de Todos”, to provide refuge to 120 homeless people over 60 years old. But this will now become a private-supported program and does not take into account that, due to the harsh conditions of living in the streets, many homeless people do not make it to 60.

I ask you to pray that the Lord allows them to see that we cannot continue living in a society that treats people as if they had no value at all. They bear the Image of God. Therefore, we are forced to recognize them as His Creation and make whatever is necessary to secure that there is a nationwide public policy of public shelters, allowing homeless people to have a baseline.

Finally, I ask you to pray for the coming elections. That the Lord allows the men and women running for the presidency and congress that they will be elected to serve with integrity, and that God expects them to make compassion daily currency in Peruvian public policies.