Violent clashes continue to break out across Peru after the arrest and ouster of the country’s president as the protest death toll hit 20 last weekend.
Lima declared a nationwide state of emergency as protesters called for the dissolution of Congress, a new constitution, and Pedro Castillo’s return to the presidency.
We reported last week that Peruvians took to the streets after the country swore in a new president after the downfall of Castillo, who won the presidency in 2021 as the anti-establishment pick. Some news reports noted that the Peruvians who have taken to the street are many of the “forgotten people” in the country.
Castillo wrote from prison: “I was chosen by the forgotten men and women deep in Peru, by the dispossessed who have been neglected for over 200 years.”
Some may have been unhappy with Castillo’s leadership, but they felt the former schoolteacher represented them.
At least 197 civilians and 200 police officers have been injured in these clashes.
Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s vice president, was tapped as the country’s new leader.
“She only represents the dead,” one protester told Reuters. “We elected a humble rural teacher like us, hoping for a revolution that would bring the poor to power.”
Castillo, meanwhile, has been detained and faces several charges including conspiracy and abuse of power, The New York Times reported. He will remain in pretrial detention for 18 months.
He appeared at a court hearing and denied the charges against him. He said he still considers himself the country’s president and he will never “resign and abandon this popular cause.”
“Enough already! The outrage, humiliation, and mistreatment continues. Today they restrict my freedom again with 18 months of pretrial detention,” Castillo posted on Twitter. “I hold judges and prosecutors responsible for what happens in the country.”
The protests have broken out across the country and have resulted in roadblocks and have targeted airports and the Supreme Court. One protester told CNN that Castillo’s detention is essentially a kidnapping.
Castillo was elected president in June 2021 as a political novice. He was a socialist and former school teacher. He defeated Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori who is serving a 25-year sentence for ordering extrajudicial killings. (See “CASTILLO WINS PERU PRES. RACE. LOSER CLAIMS ELECTION FRAUD” and “PERUVIANS FURTHER CEMENT OUR ‘NEW WORLD DISORDER’ TOP TREND FORECAST.”)
Another protester in Lima told the outlet: “Peru has declared ourselves in a state of insurgency, a national insurgency, because we do not owe obedience to a usurping government.”
Boluarte has tried to calm the protests by calling on Congress to approve early elections.
Political leaders in the country have already resigned. Jair Perez, the culture minister, resigned along with Patricia Correa, the education minister. She announced her resignation on Twitter, stating that the “death of compatriots has no justification”, and that “state violence cannot be disproportionate and cause death.”
TRENDPOST: The U.S. just can’t seem to help itself from meddling in the affairs of other countries.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized Lisa Kenna, the U.S. ambassador to Peru and former CIA agent, after she visited Boluarte. He said, “Doesn’t it seem to you like a display of arrogance, a failure to respect how things are done?”
“It may even be that (U.S. Secretary of State Antony) Blinken of the State Department doesn’t know about it, and it was down to the embassy,” Lopez Obrador said, according to Reuters. “Because that’s how they’ve always done it, especially in Latin America.”
The State Department told The Trends Journal in an email that Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Boluarte on 16 December and he stressed, “the need for all Peruvian actors to engage in constructive dialogue to ease political divisions and focus on reconciliation.”
The People’s Dispatch reported that Kenna met with Peru’s Minister of Defense Gustavo Bobbio on 6 December and tweeted out in opposition of Castillo’s attempt to dissolve Congress. Castillo was ousted the following day.
Castillo was accused by his detractors of conducting a failed coup attempt to stay in power. He addressed the country in a televised address and said he planned to shut down Congress and “reorganize” the court system.
Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, and Argentina issued a joint statement raising concerns about Castillo’s arrest.
“It is not news that President Castillo, from the day of his election, was the victim of undemocratic harassment,” the statement, which was issued on 12 December, read.
“We urge those who make up the institutions (in Peru) to refrain from reversing the popular will expressed with free suffrage,” the governments added.
The People’s Dispatch noted that Castillo’s opponents tried to block him every step of the way after his stunning July 2021 win over Keiko Fujimori, the establishment candidate. The report said she “worked with men who have close ties with the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies” to sabotage his presidency.
TREND FORECAST: Prior to the start of the COVID War, protests and demonstrations were breaking out in Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.
In fact, in October 2019, riots in Peru broke out when its president, Martin Vizcarra, dissolved congress, which prompted opposition lawmakers to suspend him and appoint another leader.
When Boluarte was sworn in, she became her country’s sixth president in the past six years.
Throughout South America, as economic conditions continue to rapidly deteriorate, civil unrest will escalate into civil wars. With corruption, crime, and violence rising, millions of citizens will risk their lives to migrate to safe-haven nations.