Thirty years after Peru’s internal armed conflict, relatives of the dead and disappeared search for bodies and justice.

Featuring: Angela Ponce

Presented by

United Photo Industries

Curated by

James Estrin and David Gonzalez, Co-Editors of the New York Times Lens Blog

The word Ayacucho comes from Quechua AYA (dead, corpse) and CUCHO (corner), meaning “the corner of the dead”. The last two decades of the 20th century were one of the most tragic moments for the city of Ayacucho and the history of Peru. The armed conflict initiated by the Communist Party of Peru Sendero Luminoso and the response of the State resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and disappearances in the towns of Uchu, Accomarca, Lucanmarca and Cayara.

Women in these communities were victims of indiscriminate killings and subjected to a regime of terror and obedience. The girls and young women were recruited at a young age to be part of the subversive groups, forcing them to perform various jobs. In addition, they were forced into unwanted marriages, used as security guards, and were victims of sexual abuse. Today, the surviving women, widows and orphans continue in search of justice and truth. This essay brings together commemorative events held in Ayacucho, Peru in order to create a collective memory.


Angela Ponce, 1994, is an independent documentary photographer and photojournalist based in Peru. She focuses on long-term projects that approach Latin American social issues, political conflicts, disability rights and memory. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Bloomberg, BBC, Getty images, El Pais, La Croix, and others.

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