Above Photo: “Dina assassin, Resign now, Not one more death.” Getty Images / Anadolu Agency.
The people of Peru continue to demand the end of the coup government.
And the return of their elected president to office.
National Strike, Day 203
July 28th 2023 marked the 202nd anniversary of the liberation of Perú from Spanish colonial rule by José de San Martin. Typically, the country would be celebrating its Fiestas Patrias in grand style with parades and parties that last several days. This year, the mood is somber because the Peruvian masses believe there is nothing to celebrate. Families of the martyrs of the Dina Boluarte coup regime and their supporters marked the day by gathering outside Congress while the de facto leader gave perhaps the longest speech in recent Peruvian history. On behalf of the state, Boluarte apologized to the families of those killed during protests. “Today more than ever we have to dialogue, listen to each other, understand each other and reach compromises and agreements among Peruvians.”
The scenes outside Congress, however, were not conducive to dialogue. Peruvian National Police brutally repressed the family members and hundreds of others gathered to continue the protest movement to oust Boluarte, among other key demands. Tear gas filled the air and the police forces already accused by various human rights organizations of using disproportionate violence against protestors once again shot at them from close range with rubber bullets and lead pellets, in what has been described as “shoot to kill” orders. In 10 days of protest, tens of people were injured and over a hundred arbitrarily arrested , including members of the independent and investigative press who have seen heavy repression in the past several months.
With over 80 people killed and thousands injured and arbitrarily arrested since the mass uprisings began in December 2022, protesters say there is little room for dialogue without justice and accountability. Peruvians largely coalesce around the demands for Boluarte to resign and for the Congress to be closed. According to the last Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP ) report, 69% of Peruvians want the establishment of a popular Constituent Assembly to rewrite the Fujimori era constitution. The movement calls for a new social pact and economic system that works to the benefit of the vast impoverished majority, especially those in el Perú profundo (deep Peru), where much of the country’s mineral wealth is located. Those coming from the largely forgotten and most impoverished areas of the country demand that Pedro Castillo be freed from prison and reinstated as the democratically-elected president of the republic in order to end the crisis.
Castillo is the latest leader of progressive democratically-elected Latin American governments to be ousted using vicious lawfare campaigns at the behest of the US government and pan-European capitalist interests. The local oligarchy and vendepatria (country seller; traitor) class, made up of about a dozen of the richest families in Perú, work with the media, owned by some of the same families, and the conservative judicial branch whose interests are those of the ruling elite to launch smear campaigns and baseless allegations to maintain the current power structures. These days, coups are more likely to take place through elite control and manipulation of media and the courts than brazen military actions.
In an interview with Venezuela News , Castillo lawyer Guido Croxatto described the recent workings of the Monroe Doctrine using courts and the law in a number of Latin American countries:
What happens in Peru is one more chapter of a movie that we already know. Detention of progressive leaders, without evidence, subjected to arbitrary processes, to condition the political life of our countries. It happened in Bolivia, in Ecuador, in Brazil, in Argentina, in Honduras. Today it is Peru’s turn. It is not a very different case from the others. Castillo wanted and wants to nationalize natural resources. This does not favor the economic interests that exist over the resources of Peru. Those interests preferred another president.
On December 7, 2022, the legislative body of Perú, a Congress dominated by the far right forces of Fujimorismo, moved swiftly to depose President Castillo from office after he gave a speech in which he stated his intention to close the Congress. They charged him with rebellion and conspiracy and ousted him in a parliamentary coup. The Constitutional Court sentenced him to 18 months of preventive detention . Castillo has been denied due process, including not being allowed to speak to his defense team or his family currently living in Mexico. As Castillo’s lawyers explained in an Op-Ed for Pagina 12, his impeachment was unconstitutional, arbitrary and illegal because it was three short of the necessary 104 yes votes and did not allow Castillo to defend himself.
Today, the bloody coup regime headed by Boluarte remains entrenched in power. But if the largely crowdless military parade held this past weekend during the Fiestas Patrias was any indication, this coup government and Congress has no legitimacy with the masses.