Dispatch from a world away:

The heat from the spring in Lima is not the only thing warming up the days.Municipal elections are up coming on the 19th of this month and to be quite honest I was really surprised at the political process, here.

One of my schoolmates, Alejandra, who is in her first year of school, recently turned 18 and will be able to vote for the first time.

As a learning process, I went to see how she registered. Most every Peruvian has what is called a DNI, document of identification.

They are library like cards with a lot of information – almost down to one’s favorite color. When we entered the town hall of our district, La Molina, I saw an unusual scene.

The room was packed with jovenes, youth, all with there blue cards applying to vote. I have to admit, it was really awesome!

Curiosity was eating at me so I finally started ask questions. Well, it turns out that voting is obligatory in Peru. Those who don’t, pay 100 soles in fines, about $30 in the United States.

All the local candidates plastered the sidewalks handing out propaganda, as they call it here. As anyone can imagine, the town halls are packed with people – especially youth who outnumber any other population.

All this activity centering on the election and voting really made me think about how the candidates visit the local universities in search of support at home.

I asked Ale, her nickname, if they were going to come to our university and I received a surprising no. Ale looked at me with a that’s-a-good-idea look on her face.

On the way to my 7 a.m. Peruvian literature class, Ale asked me if I had read today’s paper.

It turns out that they youth are really involved here. A group of first-year students here got a significant amount of signatures asking for the university to hold a debate for all the candidates to present their views.

It actually made news in El Comercio, Peru’s largest paper.

Not every politician has accepted, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit of pride for the youth.

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