Friday, 8 July 2011


Peruvian President Alan García

With just three weeks left in his administration, Peruvian President Alan García is loosening his tongue. Last night's topic: ghosts.

While leading a tour of the Government Palace for Frecuencia Latina's program "La noche es mía," García paused to explain some of the paranormal activity at the site.

"There is a friend from centuries ago who likes to pass through the Palace, especially the second floor; some ruler or executed person," García said, claiming that part of the building used to host Lima's gallows.

The president did not stop there. “The employees say, and with reason, because many of them have had to be treated for nervous breakdowns, that there is some type of goblin in the parking garage. It must be a bureaucrat from another government, who has stayed hiding there,” the leader said.

Also called "House of Government" or the "House of Pizarro". From the foundation of Lima, it was the elected palace of the conqueror Francisco Pizarro . After his death in 1541, it has been the headquarters of all the Peruvian governors, Viceroys and Presidents, until now. It is the official residence of the President of the Republic.

The palace has a had a violent history. Pizarro had scarcely finished it in 1536, when the Indians revolted and Lima was enveloped by a vast army. The building was turned into a fortress and from its adobe walls Pizarro and his mistress (she was the sister of the Inca Atahualpa whom Pizarro had strangled) could look out of their window to see the bald peak of San Cristóbal (Saint Christopher) which frowns over the city, covered with shouting Indians. The siege lasted twelve days. Scarcely was this over when Pizarro and his palace were involved again – This time with Almagro the blinkard, the one-eyed warrior who as Pizarro's partner had made possible the conquest of Peru. They were enemies now. Eventually captured, after a bloody battle, old Almagro was put to death by Pizarro's brothers; but a son survived to keep alive the feud between them. Although repeatedly warned about the younger Almagro and the disbanded men of his army; gaunt, white-bearded Francisco Pizarro paid scant heed. He was at dinner on the Sunday afternoon of 26 June 1541 when a group of soldiers, called the Knights of the Cape, entered. Shouting “Death to the tyrant”, the killed his retainers and rushed into Pizarro's room, where the old warrior was fastening on his buckler. Although outnumbered ten to one, Pizarro killed two of them until, as William Prescott wrote, the rebel leader called out, “Why are we so long about it?... and taking one of his companions... he thrust him against Pizarro... who ran him through with his sword. But at the moment he received a wound in his throat, and, reeling, he sank to the floor, while the swords... were plunged in to his body”. “Confession”, exclaimed the dying Pizarro, when a stroke... put an end to his existence. Pizarro was rolled into a bloody shroud, taken in the still of night and buried in the Cathedral Church. There he lay unmarked until in 1977 he was fished out and put into the glass crypt in the Cathedral Church.
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