Carlos Moscoso Perea on inequality and access to basic services

Carlos Moscoso Perea, mayor of Cusco, Peru, talks about the indignity of a UNESCO World Heritage town failing to provide clean water to 40% of it citizens. Making basic services accessible to all, he says, is a minimal first step on the path to equality.


CARLOS MOSCOSO PEREA: Cusco is a beautiful city with its historic center. There’s a reason why we’re an UNESCO World Heritage site. We’re the ancient capital of Peru. But, at the same time, it’s a source of shame for us, because a World Heritage site cannot have an open sewer running down the middle of it.

[Inequality is logo. A graphic black equal sign with an orange slash through it. #InequalityIs. Carlos Moscoso Perea, Mayor, Cusco, Peru. A Peruvian man wearing glasses and a black suit with a white button down shirt.]

Just to physically survive we need, at least, potable water. But it so happens that not everyone has access to potable water in Cusco. The public waterworks reaches only 60% of the population. The other 40% just doesn’t have access. I don’t mean to say we’re dying of thirst in Cusco. You can get by using the river as a sewer. You can get water from wells. People have improvised their own services to distribute water that, in some cases, isn’t fit for human consumption. Inequality is not having access to basic public services. Before we do anything else we have to give people the minimum they need to live.

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