Alan Cooper Aquino Puga, activista pro inclusión de la personas con discapacidad.

Alan Cooper Aquino Puga, survivor of a criminal attack, becomes an activist for the rights of people with disabilities in San Juan de Lurigancho. Despite the lack of justice, he confronts the persistent insecurity affecting 47% of the inhabitants of his district. His story is a call to action in the face of rising crime.

By Karla Velezmoro


Lying on his bed and with his torso exposed, Alan pointed with his index finger to each of the marks that the three bullet impacts left on his body.I didn’t know how many bullets I had hit. Only a month later I found out that there were three: the one that fell on my spine, this one that damaged my lung and this other one that grazed my liver.«, said.

This was the first meeting we had with Alan Cooper Aquino Puga, just one year after the criminal attack he suffered on October 21, 2012. Today, ten years later, he received us in that same house where we saw him convalescing.I remember that I was conscious. Everyone was shouting: bring an ambulance! But nobody did anything. Until my brother came and he picked me up. He told me: calm down, everything will be fine.

That morning, while Alan was being transferred to a clinic, his brother-in-law Angelo Miranda, another of the victims, bled to death on the avenue of San Juan de Lurigancho, one of the most populous districts in Peru and which had just been declared in a state of emergency. due to attacks carried out by extortionists.«ANDor I couldn’t even breathe anymore. It was like she was underwater. Her eyes felt heavy. My body was burning. What they say that you see your life go by like a movie is true. I thought they were my last moments. I felt like I was leaving”.

A life marked by bullets, but driven by overcoming challenges.

Today, Alan is 34 years old and can remember what happened without the suffering that invaded him in his early years as a result of becoming a paraplegic. He remembers that that day they were celebrating the birthday of his sister Elizabeth, who was five months pregnant, at a nightclub, when two men tried to rob them. When they complained, a brawl broke out and everyone was removed from the premises. Already in the front of the nightclub, Alan and his brother-in-law Angelo were shot by these same individuals who returned on a motorcycle minutes later. In the images from the surveillance cameras, Angelo can be seen covering the stomach wound that was bleeding profusely with his hand. In vain, he tried to hail a taxi. Blocks later he would end up collapsing.

Unlike Angelo, Alan survived. But it wasn’t easy. “They were very painful moments,” he remembers as he moves in his semi-sports chair through the different rooms of his house: bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, all adapted to his current condition. “After the attempted assault, I had to reinvent myself. I had to learn to turn adversities into opportunities.”

Alan Cooper with his girlfriend.

A tied lion

Every day, Alan must face a hostile reality, overcome obstacles such as when he has to move from one place to another in a city that is not prepared to coexist with people with disabilities. However, for him, the biggest barrier that people with disabilities have to face is the attitudinal one, which comes from citizens who do not respect their rights and from public officials who do not do their job of looking after them, despite to have that assignment.

“Given this pain that I have suffered as a person with a disability, I decide to become an activist who defends and promotes our rights,” says Alan, who founded ASPROD PERÚ, an association that has achieved recognition by carrying out projects such as “Dignified Life.” ”, Miss WheelChair and the first adapted soccer club, among others. “I feel like a tied lion because I would like to do much more, but I do not lose the optimism that it will be so.”

Founder of the ASPROD Association in Peru.

San Juan de Lurigancho in crisis due to insecurity

Alan’s life changed. He is an example of resilience. “I never got justice. Those who did this to me and my brother-in-law walk around free: That’s why I fight for people’s rights so that what happened to me doesn’t happen to them. Today, in 2023, people live in more danger here and in Latin America.” And ten years have passed since the criminal attack that Alan suffered and what has not changed and has rather worsened is the problem of insecurity in his district.

According to a recent IPSOS survey, 47% of the inhabitants of San Juan de Lurigancho claim to have been victims of a crime in the last year. 

According to the Police Complaint Registry system, San Juan de Lurigancho is the district with the highest number of robberies in the country: 5,931 complaints.But it is the extortion and the high level of violence from threats to collect quotas from organized gangs that has led San Juan De Lurigancho to be one of the districts declared in a state of emergency. “Assaults are creating more disability. The Police need to have more tools to combat crime,” concludes Alan, who is part of the more than 200,000 people who live in that district.


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