Reconciliation and repair ritual in public spaces: ‘adecent burial for Putis’
Putis is located in the eastside of the district of Santillana, province of Huanta, Ayacucho. It is formed by the following eight areas: Cayramayo, Rodeo-Mashuacancha (Capital), Rumichaca, Parobambilla-Ccarcco, Vizcatan-Orccohuasi, Pampahuasi, Ccenhuellacocha –as of the beginning of 2010, Sayhua-Llamaniyuq and Putis (Public Ministry and Law-Medicine Institute – Forensic Research Lab [hereafter referred to as ‘Public Ministry’] 2009: 12). In December of 1984, members of the Armed Forces killed nearly a hundred people in Putis. History takes us back to the beginning of the 1980s when the presence of the Shining Path was initially given by their entry to communities and murder of their leaders. These repeated acts of violence led to a subversive control of the area which caused the forced displacement of the population who abandoned their villages and left to live in high parts of the mountains. (See appendix: Map 1.)
At the beginning of 1984, a counter subversive base was installed in Putis, militaries called the population living in the mountains and asked them to return to live with them under the promise that they would look after them in case of possible attacks. On December 12th, a group of approximately 120 people (families with belongings and cattle) gathered in Putis; during the night, women and men were told they were going to build a farm and were later separated from each other. While men were obligated to dig, militaries raped younger women; once the job was done, the militaries divided the population in groups of six, they were located in front of graves and murdered with fire weapons. The bodies were covered with soil and vegetation. The purpose of burying the victims was to disappear them so that the terrorist attack could be kept a secret.
Mariella Gonzalez graduated in anthropology. She studied at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). She was a volunteer for the NGO Peace and Hope for the ceremony of Decent Burial for Putis was carried out. Also, she was a volunteer for the Peruvian Equipment of Forensic Anthropology (EPAF) in the Memory Area. She is interested in the subjects of transicional justice, memory and repair. She realized her thesis research about the public ceremonies of reconciliation for the victims of Putis massacre in 1984. She was very interested in micro-political of reconciliation in Peruvian communities and their relation with the policies of national reconciliation. She is currently working at the National Development Institute for Andean, Amazonian and AfroPeruvian Peoples.