Above Photo: Protest against Peru’s coup president Dina Boluarte. Sign reads “There will be peace if Dina resigns.” Sebastian Castenada/Reuters.
Perú Gears Up For The Third Takeover Of Lima.
Peru’s coup government and its president Dina Boluarte remain in power despite the deaths of protesters and planned mobilizations for the Third Takeover of Lima.
As the Boluarte coup regime continues to dig its heels in six months after the parliamentary coup by the Fujimori right-wing Congress ousted democratically elected president Pedro Castillo, there has yet to be any justice for the massacres, repression and other human rights abuses during the uprising since December 7th. Despite multiple legal challenges from inside the country and international investigations into human rights abuses, Boluarte has stated as recently as last week that she will continue her term through 2026. This move has outraged Peruvians who have been mobilized and organized against this dictatorship for six months and are building towards the Tercera Toma de Lima (Third Takeover of Lima) on July 19th, with Puno alone mobilizing 13,000 people towards the capital city, 1,000 from each of the thirteen provinces within the department of Puno.
More than six months into this coup administration, none of the cases brought forth either under the Public Ministry or Congress have resulted in any justice for the victims of these massacres, let alone the demand for Boluarte to step down. On December 29th, the first legal case against Boluarte, several of her ministers, and top ranking police and military officials was brought in Ayacucho for genocide and qualified homicide that killed 8 on December 15th. Then in February in the region of Apurímac, a group of human rights organizations and lawyers filed a legal complaint over the six deaths during the first five days of the demonstrations against Boluarte. And in early January, the Peruvian Attorneys General office opened a preliminary investigation against Dina Boluarte for genocide, qualified homicide and serious injuries after the initial bloodshed in the regions of Apurímac, La Libertad, Puno, Junín, Arequipa and Ayacucho days before Congress member Sigrid Bazán along with others in her coalition presented a constitutional complaint against Boluarte and several Minsters, including Luis Otárola, now the President of the Council of Ministers.
Not surprisingly, the Subcommittee on Constitutional Accusations of Congress declared the constitutional case against Boluarte inadmissible on May 5th. In an eleven to five vote, with three abstentions, to dismiss the case, the right-wing controlled Congress declared the lives of those massacred as merely a consequence of taking power and repressing the population. The vote for a previous constitutional complaint filed by a different congressmember failed with similar margins. Many doubt they’ll see justice in the Public Ministry with the Attorney General Patricia Benavides, who has been at the center of multiple controversies that delegitimize her in the eyes of people mourning all these deaths, with some even calling for her resignation. An impeachment vote brought forth by members of Castillo’s former party Perú Libre against Boluarte also failed in April.
At her last summons in front of the Public Ministry on June 6th, Boluarte did not respond to questioning for the deaths of 49 people in the first months of the uprising, with her lawyer saying she would not be giving up her right to remain silent. In April her lawyer, Joseph Campos, had denied that there was any massacre during an interview with Canal N and in June stated that the more than 60 deaths were isolated cases and that if there had been an executive order to the military and police commanders to massacre the protesters, they would be “talking about 10, 15, 20 or 100 deaths a day, at least.” Meanwhile Aeropuertos Andinos del Perú, the operator of several airports in Perú, including in Ayacucho and Juliaca where two of the massacres took place, has deleted footage from those days, likely at the behest of the coup regime.
The fight for justice in the courts seem to be held up but the people of Perú continue to wage their struggle in the streets and in their communities in popular assemblies to overturn this violation of their political rights as they see the coup not just against president Pedro Castillo but against the popular will that saw the first indigenous president of humble origins take state power for the benefit of the poor masses. During festivities for Inti Raymi, the celebrations during the month of June in honor of Inti, the Incan sun god, students and artists from various provinces and regions in Cusco and elsewhere in the south marched with sculptures against the Boluarte dictatorship showing her as a rat and standing on the skulls of the more than 80 martyrs during these past six months of uprising.
In an interview with news outlet Exitosa, Raúl Ariste, the Secretary General of the Comando Unitario de Lucha of Junin, said Boluarte staying until 2026 was a declaration of war. “What the president does is practically declare war on a people whose only weapons are the streets, squares and parks, while the president has the Army and the National Police, on top of that there are US soldiers who are arriving.” He said no amount of tanks or bullets would stop the popular struggle to oust Boluarte, for a new constitution and to reinstate Pedro Castillo to end the political crisis that has rocked the country for half a year. For Roger Cruz, the coordinator of the Committee of Struggle in Azangaro, Puno , “we are ready to continue fighting and to achieve our political objectives: the resignation and closure of Congress and new elections. It is a political solution for the people and let’s go to the progress and development of the Peruvian population”. The department of Puno has said they will be sending 13,000 people to the capital city in mid July while other regions have also declared their participation in the next takeover of Lima, like Piura where on July 1st and 2nd, there will be a macroregional encounter in Jaėn, to establish strategies and plan of action. Whether the Boluarte regime steps down as a result of legal cases or resigns as a result of the mass mobilizations, Peruvians are adamant this regime will fall one way or another.