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Peru: Social Movements Declare National Strike

Above Photo: Peruvian protesters demand resignation of de facto President Dina Boluarte and Congress that carried out a coup against the elected President Pedro Castillo. Su Noticiero.

Demand Boluarte’s Resignation.

The indefinite national strike in Peru, called by various social movements of the country, has been continuing since January 4, in demand of a constituent assembly, the release of President Pedro Castillo from prison, and the resignation of de facto President Dina Boluarte and her illegitimate government.

The strike has spread through the country, with the greatest presence in the departments of Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Puno, Cusco, and Tacna. The protesters demand the closing of the Congress, dominated by the ultra-right, which removed the democratically elected president, Pedro Castillo on December 7, 2022, and imposed his vice president, Dina Boluarte, as the de facto head of state of Peru.

Peruvian press reported on manifestations, so far peaceful, in multiple sectors of Abancay, Andahuaylas and Aymaraes provinces of Apurimac, as well as roadblocks on important highways like the Interoceanic Highway and the Panamericana Sur.

Confrontations between the protesters and the police occurred in Chalhuanca, of Aymaraes province, where the police launched tear gas at the people while trying to remove a roadblock.

According to local media, 70% of the people of Abancay is participating in the indefinite national strike. A large number of vehicles remain stranded in the city, and the business sector has been affected.

The Peruvian transportation regulatory authority, the Superintendence of Land Transportation of People, Cargo and Goods (SUTRAN), reported that in the early hours of Friday, January 6, 46 roads remained blocked in eight regions of the country, interrupting traffic.

Peruvian right wing tries to blame Evo Morales for protests

In the midst of the political crisis in Peru, some right-wing members of Congress tried to blame the former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, for the ongoing protests against the coup against Pedro Castillo.

Congress-members of some right-wing parties, namely, Renovación PopularFuerza PopularAlianza para el ProgresoAcción Popular and Bloque Magisterial, asked Boluarte not to allow Morales to enter Peru and to take legal actions against him. They claimed that Morales’ recent visits to Peruvian towns on the border with Bolivia must be a reason behind the protests against the de facto authorities of Peru, in spite of the fact that tensions in the Peruvian society were growing since the moment of Castillo’s election. From the very beginning of Castillo’s term, the Peruvian right wing tried to oust him, as he does not belong to the traditional Peruvian elite and came to power with the promise of changes that would go against the interests of that dominant political and economic class in the country.

Boluarte herself joined the attack against Morales and said that the Peruvian immigration authority is planning to limit the Bolivian leader’s entry into the country.

“We are discussing; we see the situation of Mr. Evo Morales’ entry into the country in this context [of the accusations from the right], because I believe that no one, no person, no former president or leader of another country can have any right to interfere in the internal affairs of our country,” Boluarte told PBO Radio of Lima.

Morales responded to the accusations through a Twitter post: “We turn the other cheek to the political attacks coming from the Peruvian right wing. But please stop the massacres, illegal detentions, persecution and terruqueo [disqualification] of our indigenous brothers and sisters. There will be no peace without social justice. Peru demands a profound transformation.”

On Wednesday, January 4, Peruvian Congressman Jorge Montoya, leader of the extreme right Renovación Popular party and former commander of the Armed Forces of Peru, filed a complaint before the Attorney General’s Office against Evo Morales, for allegedly attacking the “national integrity” of the country.  Another ex-military officer turned congressman of the same ultra-right party, retired Admiral José Cueto, wants the Peruvian police to arrest the Bolivian leader.

Cueto urged the Peruvian National Police to capture the former president of Bolivia, stating that Morales is now an “ordinary citizen” who is carrying out an “undue use of his status as former president to incite people”, and that is a crime.

“He must be captured… even if he is outside Peru,” the former military officer said, and asked relevant authorities to issue an international arrest warrant against the former president.

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