Villa el Salvador, on a dusty hill on the southern fringe of Lima, was always poor. But it had this mixture of Andean culture—very communal, those Andeans—and revolutionary ideas, so the residents, rejected by the rest of Lima, decided to lead themselves. They formed block committees, security patrols, fought for basic services. Visitors and urban planners came from all over the world to see this teeming slum that was turning itself into a righteous city. And the person they wanted to see when in Villa el Salvador was Maria Elena Moyano.
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