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Peru: Census Day

census.jpg

Photo taken by Gustavo Picon and used under a Creative Commons license.

The National Census 2007 [ES] took place on Sunday, October 21, which from the very beginning generated controversy [ES] relating primarily with the methodology of it use, which differed from the previous census. The previous census also received plenty of criticism. The drop that tipped the glass was the fact that there was no transportation from 8 am to 6 pm [ES] on the day of the census. In spite of all that, the census took place with regularity except for some isolated incidents in different areas of the country. The results will be announced in March.Different bloggers wrote about this topic, such as Perú Global [ES], who responded to the critics of the census:

Hay gente que se rasga las vestiduras por el censo y la inamovilidad, gente que demuestra su gran mediocridad, cuando hay huelgas y paros que nos atrasan en días laborables no dicen nada de nada, PERO PARA SER LOS PIQUITOS DE ORO DE SIEMPRE, HABLADORES, CHARLATANES EN ESO SI SON BUENOS, PERO PARA COLABORAR CON EL CENSO O PODER SER EMPADRONADORES VOLUNTARIOS AHÍ SE ESPANTAN CUAL COBARDES. Esa gente me da lastima, se escandalizan tanto por una inamovilidad de 10 horas , que se nota que son PRESOS DE LA ESTUPIDEZ Y RESENTIMIENTO, NO PUEDEN PASAR UNAS HORAS EN SUS CASAS CON SU FAMILIA, POBRES RESENTIDOS SOCIALES. Que lastima da esta gente

There are people that make a big fuss over the census and for the lack of transportation, people that demonstrate their great mediocrity, when there are strikes and protests that delay or workdays, then they do not say anything. BUT TO BE THE PIQUITOS DE ORO DE SIEMPRE, TALKERS, CHARLATANS, FOR THAT THEY ARE GREAT, BUT TO COLLABORATE WITH THE CENSUS OR TO VOLUNTEER THEY RESIST AND THEY ARE COWARDS. I feel sorry for those people, they make a huge fuss for the lack of transportation for 10 hours, and it is obvious that they are PRISONERS OF STUPIDITY AND RESENTMENT, THEY CANNOT SPEND A FEW HOURS AT HOME WITH THEIR FAMILIES, THEY ARE SOCIALLY RESENTFUL. How unfortunate.

On the other hand, we have the opinion of Juan Sheput of the blog Mate Pastor [ES] criticizes the government concerning a few points that leave a lot to be desired.

Las pérdidas comerciales por el paro obligado ascienden a US$250 millones. El propio censo es una perdida en sí. Niños y adolescentes diligenciando documentos con distintos tipos de letras y números. Utilizando lápices que no sirven para documentos que se van a manipular, pues la manipulación hace que se borren los datos, son tan sólo algunas de las deficiencias de este censo. Falta de entrenamiento, falta de seriedad en los censadores, son consecuencias de una total irresponsabilidad con el tratamiento de las cuentas nacionales.

The commercial losses due to the forced stoppage reach USD 250 million. The census in itself is a loss. Children and adolescents handling documents with distinct type of letters and numbers. Using pencils that do not work with documents that will be manipulated, because the manipulation makes it that the data is erased, these are only a few of the deficiencies with this census. There is a lack of training, a lack of seriousness from the census takers, these are the consequences of total irresponsibility with the treatment of the national accounts.

The crticisms do not only refer to these points. Danza, the pseudonym for the blogger at Tan sólo unas burbujas [ES] questions the motives for the census:

¿Y a qué tanta urgencia de hacer un censo ahora? A menos que alguien por allí quiera tener pretexto para hacer cuadrar a la fuerza ciertas cifras que le intereresen mucho, yo la verdad, no la veo. O a menos que alguien esté sacando su alita de las partidas presupuestadas para el censo..

What is the urgency to take a census now? Perhaps someone around there wants a reason to make certain numbers work that would benefit them, but to be honest, I do not see it. Maybe someone is taking his/her cut of the amount budgeted for the census.

In addition to the criticism, the prohibition of transport was primarily adhered to, but not without causing some difficulties in the daily life of the Peruvians. Coralí of Milkshake de Fresa [ES] writes about these examples:

Fui a eso de las seis a comprar mi pancito en Metro y de verdad presencie una cosa inimaginable: habia tanta gente como un 24 de diciembre a medio día y un monton de chibolos tambien. Las colas en las cajas eran terribles y la gente en verdad llevaba carritos llenos de mil cosas. Pero lo peor fue a la hora de ir a buscar el pan, habia tanta pero tanta gente apretujandose sin piedad que mi esposo no puedo conseguir nada de pan porque tenia miedo de empujar o lastimar a alguna viejita, yo si consegui pan porque pese a los empujones estaba junto a algunas viejitas y señoras y pasamos piola pues… la gente gritaba porque sacaban el pan por un lado de las cestas y por el otro lado no… era todo un caos y para pesar el pan otra colaza gigante.

It was around 6, when I bought my bread in Metro and honestly something unimaginable took place: there were so many people as if it were December 24 at noon and a bunch of children too. The cashier lines were terrible and the people had carts full of many things. but the worst was during the time to look for bread, there were so many people pressing against one another without any mercy that my husband could not get any bread because he was scared of pushing or hurting some elderly person, I did get bread because in spite of the pushers I was next to some elderly people and they let us by….the people screamed because they took bread from one side of the baskets and from the other side no…everything was a chaos and to weigh the bread there was long line.

It appears that some of the questions did not impress many, Claudia of La Columna de Tobi [ES] notes some points that she did not agree with:

Es cierto que este censo es sumamente criticable. Pero a la larga, es un censo y debería ser lo mejor posible. ¿O no? Una de las críticas fue la falta de una verdadera capacitación para los encuestadores….Formularon mal las preguntas. David Sulmont se muere si las escucha decir “¿acá no hay nadie con discapacidad, no?” en vez de hacer la pregunta completa y dar las opciones. O, antes, decirle a mi madre “usted trabaja… ah, usted es independiente” y marcar trabajador independiente, sin preguntarle. Dicho sea de paso, mi madre no es trabajadora independiente. O que yo les diga que tengo estudios superiores completos y me marquen superior no universitario completo porque me vio “muy joven” para haber terminado la universidad… okeeeey.

This census can be entirely criticized. On the whole, it is a census and it should be the best that it can be, or no? One of the criticisms was the lack of real training for the census-takers….They also formulated the questions poorly. David Sulmont would die if he heard them say, “a disabled person does not live here, right?” instead of asking the complete question and by providing the options. Or instead of saying to my mother, “you work…oh, you are independent” and mark independent work, without asking her. My mother is not an independent worker. Or even though I say that I have completed advanced education and then they mark me as incomplete because I looked “too young” to have finished the university….right.

However, those were not all the problems. Miguel Tejada, one of the bloggers of Gran Combo Club [ES] participated in the census as a data collector and tells of his experiences:

Me he recorrido a pie toda la avenida del ejército de 5 a 6 pm, y en todo el recorrido, familias enteras esperando omnibus para regresar a sus hogares en conos. Mucha gente se censa en los lugares donde no vive. De hecho, en edificios de apartamentos con dos cuartos o en casas minúsculas de dos habitaciones, he censado a 10 o 15 personas, que afirmaban que vivían ahí. Como el censo supone que la gente dice la verdad, uno tiene que “creerles” a los que responden, pero la multitud esperando micros para regresar a sus hogares me indica que las cosas no son así.

On foot, I walked the entire avenue from 5 – 6 pm, and during the entire walk, entire families were waiting for the bus to return to their homes. Many people are counted in places where they do not live. In fact, in some apartments with 2 rooms or houses with two small bedrooms, 10-15 were counted, who confirmed that they lived there. How does the census measure who is telling the truth. One must “believe” those who responded, but the majority of the people waiting for the bus to return to their homes indicated that things are not like that.

The blog Suriel de la Jungla Perdida [ES] reproduces a note from RPP about the problems experienced by some census-takers.

en el colegio “Santísima Cruz” del distrito de San Martín de Porres, los jóvenes censadores quemaron los documentos empleados para su labor ante la ausencia de algún representante del organismo estatal que abone el dinero. Dijeron inclusive que el INEI había prometido la entrega de víveres, gorras y polos. ”No han cumplido con las cosas que ofrecieron. Estamos aquí sin desayuno y almuerzo”, precisó uno de los censadores a RPP. El mismo problema se produjo en otros centros de recolección de datos en Barrios Altos, Surco y San Juan de Miraflores.

In the “Santísima Cruz” school in the district of San Martín de Porres, the young census-takers burned the documents used in their work due to the absence of a representative of the state institution that would provide them with money. They also said that the INEI had promised the supply of hats and polo shirts. “They did not fulfill the promises that they made. We are here without breakfast or lunch,” said one of the census-takers to the (media channel) RPP. The same problem took place in other collection centers with the data from Barrios Altos, Surco and San Juan de Miraflores.

Milanta gave his congratulations and did everything to call everyone to participate [ES]:

A mi me queda felicitar a todos los que se inscribieron, incluyendo a los chicos y chicas de última hora, para cumplir un deber ciudadano (muy al margen de si me parece bien o mal el censo y si ese día quiero ser libre a pesar que es un domingo encerrado en casa y demás bla bla bla…). Agradecerles por su tiempo invertido (palabrita de moda, ¿no?…) en una tarea que MUCHOS OTROS no la quisieron ni la desearon. Luego se quejan que falta más democracia y tanta palabrería que sinceramente caaaaaaaansa. En los hechos más que en las palabras se ven la voluntad y las actitudes de toda persona comprometida y que busca el bien de su país. Nada más.

I would like to congratulate all those that registered, including those boys and girls, who did so at the last moment in order to fulfill a citizen's duty (which is very different to whether or not I think the census is good or bad and whether on that day I would like to be free to move around even though it is a Sunday enclosed at home, blah blah blah…). I thank you for your invested time (fashionable word, no?) in a task that MANY OTHERS did not want to do. Later, they complain that there is a need for more democracy and so much wordiness really tires one out. One can see one's will in one's actions, rather than one's words and in the attitudes of everyone who is committed to the betterment of his/her country. Nothing more.

2 comments

  • Gracias Juan por citarme aquí. Una aclaración nomás: dice “Milanta gave her congratulations…”; debe decir HIS congratulations porque yo soy varón :)

    Saludos y a seguir apoyando y trabajando por el desarrollo de nuestro Perú.

  • […] the Government’s decision to re-run the survey was politically motivated. The decision to make everyone stay at home on the day of the census and for most businesses to close caused a great deal of anger, and was estimated to have cost the […]

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