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June 21st, 2009 · 22 Comments · Food & Dining, Money, Economics, Politics

Photo of Cusco's classic Ayllu cafe by Julio Angulo

Peruvian and expat bloggers Lumigan Reviews, have lately been decrying the demise of the Ayllu cafe on Cuco's historic Plaza de Armas. The 37-year-old coffee shop was a fixture of intellectual and social life in Cusco, and served up excellent, reasonably priced pastries and sandwiches, along with first-rate hot beverages to ward off the Andean cold. 150mg Lumigan Reviews, The Ayllu also nurtured the indigenismo movement that affirmed the values of native Peruvian cultures.

 (Read here for reactions from En Peru and Peruanista blogs. Click here for a recent video by Mario Silva on the Ayllu.)

The Ayllu's spot is being taken over by a Starbucks franchise, which has agreed to pay the site's landlord, the archbishop of Cusco, an exhorbitantly higher rent as well as 10% of profits, Lumigan Reviews australia.

From the Ayllu to Starbucks, Lumigan Reviews. Gag me. It is rather like having the Left Bank's Cafe de Flore, birthplace of the existentialist movement, being bought out by a Dunkin Donuts. 1000mg Lumigan Reviews, I've raised my voice several times against the archbishop's greed and his callous treatment of local restaurant owners in Cusco. Along the same side of the Plaza de Armas, McDonald's has already set up shop, to be joined by Kentucky Fried Chicken.  These businesses don't belong on the Plaza de Armas, which is recognized as one of the most historic squares in the Western Hemisphere. Lumigan Reviews, Nor should these Amerian franchises be priviledged over Peruvian businesses. They harm Cusco in both real and symbolic ways, 10mg Lumigan Reviews, and the Church should respect the sanctity of this great square.

I walked past the former Ayllu two weeks ago when I was in Cusco. The glossy brown shutters were closed against the street. No longer was it possible to drop by for a delicious hot chocolate made from local Cusceno chocolate, 200mg Lumigan Reviews, served for a reasonable 5 soles. I rather wore down El Fotografo lamenting the changes, Lumigan Reviews.

But the story isn't over yet.

Unable to grab a bite to eat at the ground-floor cafe, we made our way to the nearest side street where, after much discussion, we entered a small restaurant that offered local fare at local prices, 100mg Lumigan Reviews.

The four of us each ordered big bowls of soup -- quinoa, chicken, vegetable -- for 6 soles a piece. That's about US$2 each. Lumigan Reviews, It was great soup, and there was lots of it. 30mg Lumigan Reviews, How reassuring, I thought, that restaurants like this still exist near the Plaza de Armas.

Two minutes later I was eating my words: The restaurant owner, who has been at that spot for 20 years, confessed that he was looking for a new location, 20mg Lumigan Reviews. The real estate is owned by the archbishop who -- you guessed it -- wants four times the current rent AND a piece of the profits.

It's not stopping, I thought. The Church won't be satisfied until all of downtown Cusco is turned into an overpriced tourist trap/fancy outdoor mall that only well-heeled tourists can afford to patronize, Lumigan Reviews.

Screw the locals, Lumigan Reviews ebay, screw the poor, screw the backpackers, screw anyone who wants to eat healthy Peruvian food at decent prices.

I'm going to end this post now because, well, what can one blog post do to wake up local Cusceños to the obscenity that is the archbishop's policy toward local businesses, Lumigan Reviews mexico. The right people in Cusco must be engaged and they must stand up to the Church and they must take to the streets.

There is a time for blogging and a time for action. I truly hope someone who lives in Cusco and care about this development will want to take up the cause.

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22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rachel // Jun 21, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    The church stopped respecting the sanctity of the square when they built over sacred Incan temples.

    I was shocked when last year I went to the Cathedral in Lima and they wanted S/.10 just to walk in the doors! I had visited the cathedral for free in 2005.

    Shame on the Vatican for ignoring the Archbishop’s corruption.

  • 2 Stuart // Jun 21, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    “Shame on the Vatican for ignoring the Archbishop’s corruption”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaa!! hahahahahahahaa! Good one!

  • 3 Ward // Jun 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    It’s unfortunate, but many young Cusquenians are actually embracing these changes.

  • 4 Camila // Jun 22, 2009 at 4:47 am

    So the archbishop demands them to renovate their local and strategy and the Beltran aren’t able to do so. Why then it doesn’t become an open call for other cuzqueños or at least other peruvian businessmen?

    Wouldn’t that be the obvious thing?

    I guess that would need that the church care about the people in Cuzco or Peru..

  • 5 Archbishop of Cusco to Evict More Local Restaurants | An American … - Find Restaurants // Jun 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    [...] bruce wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptCusco’s historic Plaza de Armas is being sold out, by landlord the archbishop of Cusco, to MacDonalds, Starbucks and KFC. Now more local restaurants are being asked to leave. [...]

  • 6 jude // Jun 24, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Sad news indeed, I was hoping for some type of a miracle that would have allowed the Ayllu to keep their space on the plaza.

    I first visited the Ayllu, back in 1988, and the atmosphere and welcoming staff ensured that I stopped in at least once on all my subsequent visits to Peru. Cusco have changed tremendously since then, but the Ayllu seemed timeless, an easy place to slip back into.

    I’d like to boycott Starbucks, but, as I’ve only ever drank their coffee once, it’s not going to make much of a dent in their business.

  • 7 Barb // Jun 24, 2009 at 7:01 am

    “A timeless, easy place to slip back into.” What an apt description of the welcoming vibe of the Ayllu.

    I too always felt I could “count” on the Ayllu to be a refuge in Cusco after some long trek.

  • 8 leandra // Jun 25, 2009 at 9:12 am

    We are in the process of planning a visit to Cusco in October and this post saddens me. I never visit fast food restaurants at home much less in foreign cities, but the worst part is how local businesses are displaced in the name of commercialism.

  • 9 Pico // Jun 25, 2009 at 4:05 pm


    It is so comforting to read that the church is up to its century-long practice of profiting from its properties, which in the first place no one knows how they got it, or who they got it from.

    Just another episode in the church’s dubious history in Peru.

  • 10 Steph // Jun 26, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I love your blog! I think you’ve seen from my blog that Peru has captured a piece of my heart, so it’s great to hear your perspective on life in Lima.

  • 11 » The changing face of Cusco’s plaza …en Perú – Travel Culture History News // Jun 26, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    [...] American in Lima [...]

  • 12 Barbara // Jun 26, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Pico — now I know you’re really Peruvian. A gringo couldn’t fake that cynicism.:)

    Steph — thanks a mill. Readers, check out Stephanie’s blog wordsmakesentences. I like it a lot.

  • 13 Zarita // Jul 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    And still people some people, incredibly, follow what church says.

  • 14 The “Franquicia” Conquers New Lands « Rachel in Peru! // Jul 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    [...] Historic Plaza de Armas of Cuzco. Starbuck’s has recently topped McDonald’s sacrilege by booting out a long established and well respected local cafe in said Historic [...]

  • 15 Cold Spaghetti » Blog Archive » June Just Posts for a Just World // Jul 9, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    [...] Barbara Drake at An American in Lima with Archbishop of Cusco to Evict More Local Restaurants [...]

  • 16 The June Just Posts « collecting tokens // Jul 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    [...] Barbara Drake at An American in Lima with Archbishop of Cusco to Evict More Local Restaurants [...]

  • 17 Baby’s first restaurant trip « Life in Peru // Jul 13, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    [...] restaurant trip We took Brianna on her first restaurant trip. Some fellow expat bloggers (Barb, Rachel and Stuart will love me for this… We took her not to one of my local favorites such [...]

  • 18 Blogging about Greed and Injustice in Cusco | An American in Lima // Jul 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    [...] thanks to Alenja and Holly of Collecting Tokens for including my rant on the archbishop of Cusco as a June “Just Post for a Just [...]

  • 19 Keith Berry // Jan 18, 2010 at 11:13 am

    As an American I have seen the raping of small business first hand. I refuse to eat at McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Donuts, I used to drink Starbucks coffee years ago but now I won’t go near the place. I have been visiting Lima for a little over a week, was here about 4 years ago. And I am taken back by how many American fast food eateries there are. I hope Bembos and Pardos don’t go out of business, they’re far superior than McDonalds and KFC. As an ex Catholic I can attest to the crap the Church is involved in.
    I deplore any priest or Arch bishop that tries to control anything outside of the church.
    Thank “God” for the separation of the state and all things church related. Let’s keep it that way. I think Peruvians better start thinking along those terms or you’ll see more of this Holy Greed factor increase as the church becomes smaller in size.

  • 20 Best of the 2009 Just Posts: The Semifinalists « collecting tokens // Feb 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    [...] Archbishop of Cusco to Evict More Local Restaurants by Barbara Drake at An American in Lima [...]

  • 21 Cold Spaghetti :: The Best of the Just Posts for 2009: Semi-finalists! // Feb 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    [...] Archbishop of Cusco to Evict More Local Restaurants by Barbara Drake at An American in Lima [...]

  • 22 Vote for the Best Just Posts of 2009 « collecting tokens // Mar 14, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    [...] Archbishop of Cusco to Evict More Local Restaurants by Barbara Drake at An American in Lima [...]