Rosalino Florez Valverde received the 22nd birthday as no birthday boy deserves: unconscious and intubated, far from his land and his family, in the Intensive Care Unit of a Lima hospital.
That January 25, only his older brother Juan José accompanied him from the corridors, the witness of the precise moment in which his life began to fall apart.
Two weeks earlier, in Cusco, a policeman had been merciless with Rosalino, shooting a burst of pellets in her back at a distance of no more than three meters.
With that scene – which has been recorded on video – he began an agony of 69 days that ended last Tuesday, with Rosalino occupying a coffin.
"I want to eat, brother, and that's what hurts me the most," Rosalino told Juan José more than once in recent months.
Every complaint was really a plea.
The 36 metal pellets, at the height of his abdomen, destroyed his intestines and affected his liver.
Since then, this gastronomy student, who was a week away from completing his studies, has not taken any food by mouth again.
Rosalino Florez Valverde is the 67th victim of the protests against the Government of Dina Boluarte.
The second from Cusco together with the leader Remo Candia Guevara.
He grew up growing potatoes and corn in the peasant communities of Conchacalla and Ccachupata, in the San Jerónimo district, and would later find a job as a construction worker to help his parents and his four siblings.
He listened to huaynos and cumbias, but also to rappers who rhymed with a social conscience like the famous Canserbero.
Juan Jose Florez and Leonarda Valverde, brother and mother of Rosalino Florez.Angela Ponce
On the fateful afternoon of January 11, Rosalino and Juan José took to the streets to express their discontent with the political class like several thousand people nationwide.
They were the hottest days of the mobilizations.
Avenida 28 de Julio would be the scene of cruelty.
In the video you can see how Rosalino takes refuge behind a tree while the crowd flees from the Forces of order until they are left alone.
An agent approaches him with his weapon and chases him.
The boy starts to run and the policeman shoots him from behind again and again until he collapses and lies on the track.
"I thought my brother had also run, but he was left behind," laments Juan José.
The tomography of the attack resembles a target shooting board: a lot of scattered dots in the lower back.
Eleven days Rosalino remained in the Antonio Lorena hospital in Cusco.
He was operated on three times.
They reduced his intestines to a minimum, and managed to remove fourteen of the 36 pellets.
With the help of congresswoman Ruth Luque, he was transferred to Lima —the city he never knew— to be admitted to the Arzobispo Loayza hospital.
During all that time, Juan José was by his side, the 24-year-old boy who on this Wednesday night is with a microphone in his hand and his eyes closed, in an impromptu conference, in a Lutheran church, in the Breña district. , in Lima.
He is sitting next to his mother Leonarda, disheartened like him.
Just a few steps away are the remains of Rosalino, flanked by flower arrangements.
At the foot of his coffin, under some white roses, a question mark can be clearly distinguished on a sheet of paper: Dina, a murderer, look at your work.
One of the X-rays taken of Rosalino Florez showing the impacts. Courtesy
Juan José takes a sip of water, throws his body back and, in the midst of his grief, gathers strength to narrate his family misfortune.
When the words get stuck, Leonarda, who wears an apron, will hug him from behind.
“We in the countryside have no rights.
They have persecuted me to find out how my brother was doing.
The Police do not know what values are ”, he denounces.
Then it is Leonarda's turn, who speaks Quechua and requires a translator.
“I don't know how to find comfort.
I want justice!
I want them to find who shot him!” she implores.
The lawyer who has assumed the defense of Rosalino's family, Juan José Quispe, emphasizes the slowness of the investigations and the police repression.
“Enough stories: pellets are lethal when used at close range.
Incredibly, this case was being investigated in Cusco as minor injuries.
It's been more than two months now and the investigation is incipient.
That is why we have asked that the case be seen by the Supraprovincial Human Rights Prosecutor of Lima.
Rosalino had no traces of lead, barium, or antimony on her hand.
He did not have any firearm, and even so they shot him in a cunning way, ”he says.
A few days ago, the United States Department of State published its annual report on human rights, where it analyzed the protests that broke out in Peru since last December.
"The Government did not effectively prevent the abuses or punish those who committed them (...) there is a significant problem of impunity," the document notes.
In this sense, Congresswoman Ruth Luque, who was present at the wake, maintains: "I am not one of those who believe that the responsibility corresponds only to the high command of the Police, but also to the political leaders who had the obligation to preserve people's lives and they didn't."
Photograph by Rosalino Florez. Courtesy
"When a warrior dies, he never dies", resounds in the room.
Some Aymara women will be the first to offer their condolences to Juan José and Leonarda.
The next day, Thursday, Rosalino's body will be transferred to Cusco, where he will be paraded through various streets, including 28 de Julio Avenue where he was shot.
He will take the road home, the peasant communities where his parents were born.
There Rosalino will return to earth.
The justice of men will take its course.
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