Gamarra, located in the capital district of La Victoria, is considered the most important textile commercial emporium in Peru. Thousands of buyers come to this area daily. (Composition: Infobae Perú – RCR Perú/RPP Noticias)
In Gamarra, the most important commercial emporium in Peru, an all-out war has broken out between bloodthirsty mafias collecting quotas. Everything happens in front of the police, municipal and council authorities. In the midst of this overflow of crime, which has a hallmark of extortion, bullets and death, there are hundreds of merchants looking to get ahead and thousands of buyers who increasingly prefer not to go to this area of La Victoria out of fear.
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Over the past few months, what appeared to be just a feeling of insecurity has ended up materializing. At the end of July of this year, Deberin Chihuan Ruiz, 53, who worked as head of security at Gamarra checkerboard B, ended up gunned down by hitmen aboard a motorcycle. The numerous bullet casings at the crime scene revealed the insanity and teaching against authority.
Chihuan Ruiz was in charge, on behalf of the Municipality of La Victoria, of leading the inspection operations to combat the incessant ambulatory trade in the area. “His good work that he had been doing is probably what has led him to be a victim of these criminals,” said, hours after his death, Juan José Roncagliolo, manager of Citizen Security of the commune.
Gamarra businessmen are tired of the wave of crime that attacks the streets of La Victoria. (Andean)
The last successful mega-operation in which the now deceased security chief participated dates back to July 4 of this year. In the early morning hours, at least 900 police officers and nearly 700 security and inspection agents were installed at strategic points on checkerboard B, which includes Huánuco, Bausate and Meza, Parinacochas and Isabel la Católica avenues, to prevent the entry of street vendors. and, consequently, of the mafias that charge ‘quotas’ to them. The death of Chihuan Ruiz was the forceful response of crime.
For Susana Saldaña, president of the Gamarra Business Association, there is no strong police presence, as the authorities claim, and the best proof of this was the assault on some money changers in the heart of the emporium, at the end of June of this year. Although one of the assailants was captured, the others ran away. It took police more than half an hour to reach the area.
“We don’t see more than 10 to 20 police officers a day in Gamarra. With that number it is impossible to control all the security in the emporium,” Saldaña tells Infobae Perú.
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“For months we have been asking the Ministry of the Interior to support us with more police to liberate the internal and external areas of Gamarra, because it is taken over by mafias, and we warned that at any moment blood was going to flow. These criminals are clear that, when there is no order, impunity wins,” he adds.
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With considerable concern and helplessness, the representative of Gamarra assures that the current government believes that the request for more police in the commercial area ‘is to take care of business’, as if what they were demanding were security guards.
“Of course not! We know that looking after the business is our responsibility. What we are asking is that they free our roads and the mafias. Because they are the ones who strengthen, protect and use informal commerce as a facade. They are the real beneficiaries, with the million-dollar profits from collecting quotas,” she points out.
They shoot two individuals who are members of quota collection mafias in Gamarra.
Saldaña confirms that the mega-operation at the beginning of July of this year, in which Chihuan Ruiz participated, hit the extortion mafias that had already charged thousands of street vendors in advance, so that they could have a space inside Gamarra and sell their products on the street. celebration of July 28, one of the most important campaigns of the year.
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“The mafias began to act desperately, because the internal area of checkerboard B was liberated, prior to the July campaign. And they had already charged the informal workers in advance. To calm them down, they tell them that the police will leave in a fortnight and not to worry, but that was not the case. A few days later, Mr. Chihuan was shot down and this war began in the areas of the avenues around Gamarra,” he tells this medium.
When they were removed from the interior of the commercial emporium, the majority of street vendors crowded Aviación Avenue and another large group spread out towards Huánuco, Bausate and Meza, Parinacochas and Isabel la Católica. “What happens is that these surroundings of Gamarra were already the territory of other mafias and, when those that operated inside left, a confrontation, a war, has occurred,” he says.
Deberin Chihuan Ruiz was heading to a restaurant when some criminals on a motorcycle shot him and he was taken to the Dos de Mayo hospital where he died.
The police recover these areas only for a few weeks, especially when the press arrives in the area, but then the presence of the agents decreases to the point that it seems that Gamarra was left to his own devices, he clarifies. According to the president of the association, this is a situation that has always been repeated, despite the fact that several governments, ministers and mayors have already passed.
“After what happened with the money changer, I met with an authority. I prefer not to say his name, but he should ensure security. And he tells me very upset: ‘Why do they demand so much, if they attack all over Peru. Throughout the country they steal and kill, but you are the only one who scrubs,’” he recalls.
Given this, Saldaña sends a strong message: “We are not going to remain silent. We have decided to stand up to this situation and not take it anymore. If we continue like this, tomorrow these mafias are going to charge us to enter Gamarra. Today they charge the street vendor a quota, tomorrow they will charge the formal ones.”
On Wednesday, September 6, the businessmen of Gamarra will gather at the commercial emporium and will march to the Government Palace. They ask to be heard by President Dina Boluarte. (Andean)
Infobae Perú toured the interior of the commercial emporium and the routes that are taken by the mafias. A minimal police presence and a large number of street vendors were observed on the outskirts, to the point that free traffic roads such as Huánuco are practically closed and public transport buses have to take other streets to leave the place.
It was proven – through conversations with some informals – that they pay between 30 to 100 soles daily to the quota collection mafias. The areas with the highest influx of buyers are the most expensive. Doing a simple calculation, only a street vendor can pay three thousand soles a month to be allowed to sell his products on the street. In Gamarra’s galleries, there are positions starting at $50 per month, but this goes unnoticed.
“We just want to work, we are not hurting anyone. We have families, young children and elderly parents to support. We are not stealing or killing. We just want to bring food for the table, but many don’t understand that,” said a street vendor who has been selling clothes for five years on the streets of Gamarra.
Many street vendors are forced to pay the quota collection mafias for a divided space and ‘security’. The person who fails to comply with this may end up being shot dead. (Andean)
PNP General (r) Eduardo Pérez Rocha, former director of the police, spoke with Infobae Perú about this worrying situation in the Gamarra commercial emporium. He warned that the collection of quotas is one of the criminal figures that is growing the most in our country, followed by hitmen. For him, the key is to strengthen police intelligence.
“Crime, if it is not controlled or combated, tends to grow and replicate throughout the country and it will be difficult to regain security. “We need an immediate response with operational intelligence,” he said.