This Wednesday, for the second edition of the historic “March of the Four of Them” that, in 2000, with an unprecedented popular mobilization, demanded the departure of Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, thousands of demonstrators continued to arrive in Lima, the capital of the country, to demand the resignation of Dina Boluarte, de facto head of state after the overthrow of President Pedro Castillo. Impressive images show the mobilization from the south of the country to the capital on the Pacific coast. The march occurs in the face of militarization country, marked by the attempt of security forces to create a perimeter around Lima, an action that has been denounced by the demonstrators joined by trade unions, campesinos, and social movements. In just six weeks—two of them relatively calm due to a Christmas truce—more than 50 Peruvians have been killed by police and military forces, most of them murdered with live ammunition.
Following the illegal removal of Pedro Castillo, the now President of Peru, Mrs. Dina Boluarte, has responded to the popular protests that paralyzed the country as of December 7, 2022 with the suspension of constitutional rights. That means the police can now stop anyone without a warrant; enter any residence and prevent any citizen from traveling freely within or outside of Peru. In addition, gatherings of any kind are prohibited. In areas located in 7 regions of Peru, for several weeks, the population has been prohibited from going out into the street and obligated to stay in their homes day and night. The first protests had the unfortunate consequences of 30 dead and countless wounded and imprisoned. Why? Because the repressive forces have used lethal weapons; they have shot at the body of the protesters, at the head and sometimes from behind.
On Thursday, the Peruvian police used tear gas and firearms to harshly repress the population, leaving a minor dead and more than 50 people injured in the city of Cusco. Peruvians once again took to the streets in Lima and in various departments to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the holding of early general elections this year, and the release of former President Pedro Castillo. The National Human Rights Coordinator (CNDDHH) of Peru demanded the immediate release of the social leaders detained in Ayacucho during the protests against Boluarte. Hundreds of people gathered in front of the Ayacucho police station to demand the release of the detained citizens, including the president of the Ayacucho People's Defense Front (FDPA).
On January 8, 2023 thousands of supporters of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro attacked and vandalized that nation's Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace in the capital of Brasilia. Bolsonaro claims that election fraud was responsible for his defeat by Lula da Silva in the 2022 election. His supporters had demonstrated previously after the election and used social media to publicize their gathering in the preceding days and weeks. Black Agenda Report Executive Editor Margaret Kimberley spoke with Brazilian based journalist Brian Mier of Telesur English who provided analysis of these events.
On Sunday afternoon, government buildings in Brazil’s capital were stormed by far-right cells loyal to ex-president Jair Bolsonaro who fled to Florida days before the presidential inauguration. Just after 2pm, a large group was able to trespass the Praça dos Três Poderes and illegally enter the congress and the Supreme Federal Court (STF), with chants to overthrow the elected congress and government. Bolsonaro supporters had set out for the Esplanada dos Ministérios late morning from the Army headquarters, where a protest camp against the October 30th election result had been held in recent weeks. On social media, videos showed destruction to the interior and exterior of the STF building.
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.
After a few days of truce due to the festivities, Peruvian farmers, workers, merchants, transporters, and other citizens of the Cusco and Puno regions resumed massive protests to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, the call for early general elections, and the release of former President Pedro Castillo. Roadblocks to the south and north of the country have managed to restrict vehicular traffic on the main Peruvian highways, which has relatively paralyzed normal economic activities. One of the main interconnection roads between Peru and Bolivia, the road from Puno to the city of Desaguadero, is completely blocked by social organizations that joined the strike called for Wednesday.
NewsGuard, the media rating agency, alleges that Consortium News has published “false content” by reporting that there was a U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014 and that ne0-Nazis have significant influence in the country. NewsGuard took issue with a: “February 2022 article ‘Ukraine: Guides to Reflection,’ [which] asserted, ‘Hence, the inflation of Russian behavior in Ukraine (where Washington organized a coup against a democratically elected government because we disliked its political complexion) … .’ It then wrote: “The U.S. supported the Maidan revolution that ousted then-Ukraine President Viktor Yanikovych (sic) in 2014 — including a December 2013 visit by John McCain to Kyiv in support of protesters — but there is no evidence that the U.S. ‘organized’ a ‘coup.’ Instead, it has the markings of a popular uprising, precipitated by widely covered protests against Yanukovych’s decision to suspend preparations for the signing of an association and free-trade agreement with the European Union.”
This Monday, December 26, the de facto government of Perú, led by Dina Boluarte, annulled the appointment of 312 district sub-alderpeople across 23 regions of the country, in a move that seems to advance the erasure of any traces of opposition to Boluarte’s controversial rule. These sub-alderpeople had been appointed by President Pedro Castillo, in accordance with local legislation, during his mandate by popular election. The de facto ministry of the interior justified their decision on the basis that “these officials, instead of responding to the guidelines established regarding the functions of district sub-alderpeople, instead of representing and defending the state as the law indicates, had various degrees of participation in the popular demonstrations,” the repression of which has resulted in almost 30 deaths in less than three weeks.
Rural teacher and trade unionist Pedro Castillo has had a troubled presidency. From the beginning, he faced attempts by the right wing in parliament, where the extreme right predominates, to remove him. However, he was also weakened by his abandonment of campaign proposals that raised many hopes among Peruvians, the serious shortcomings of his management, repeated signs of ineffectiveness, questioned appointments, and corruption scandals. There were four attempts to remove him from the presidency before Castillo decided to attempt carrying out his own coup against Congress, trying to shut it down in an unconstitutional decision that failed. Castillo surprisingly won the 2021 elections. In a fragmented election, he went to the second round with 19 percent of the votes and narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia - Far-right opposition groups in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, are violating international law by attacking health workers and hindering the passage of ambulances. The city’s police have registered more than 20 cases of physical attacks against health workers and ambulances, many of them resulting in patients being unable to reach a medical center. Protesters say they want the national census to be brought forward six months, and their preferred tactic is to block roads and demand payment from anyone who wants to pass through. Those who fail to comply are assaulted by young men armed with sticks and baseball bats. The secretary of the Health Workers union at the San Juan de Dios Hospital, Ulises Guzmán, said, “I don’t know what they are waiting for, maybe for someone from our sector to die so that they just give us guarantees?”
Santa Cruz, Bolivia - On November 23, 33 days after the start of a violent indefinite strike in Bolivia’s Santa Cruz department, a key agreement was reached between far-right sectors in the department and the national government on the date of the Population and Housing Census. Luis Fernando Camacho, the far-right opposition leader, governor of Santa Cruz and one of the organizers of the strike, accepted that the census would be held in March 2024 and called on the legislators of Creemos and Citizens Community parties to accept this agreement as well. Nevertheless, the strike, sparked by the census disagreement, persists and the climate of violence and insecurity continues to intensify.
In the last 21 days former coup leader and current governor of the Department of Santa Cruz, Luis Fernando Camach, has been allowed “to carry out a coup d’état in the city of Santa Cruz,” in the words of Pedro Damián Dorado, vice president of the association of municipalities of the department by the same name. Constant media misinformation is the glue that holds together Camacho’s base, which can be counted in the nearly 230,000, mostly middle-class people who turned out for his latest political meeting. In late October, Camacho launched the shutdown of the city for the foreseeable future. It is Bolivia’s largest and most prosperous metropolis – and the economic motor of the country. Camacho is a very rich man and to preserve the wealth of the few, he is once again acting as a threat to Bolivian democracy.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia - This Sunday, November 13, the leadership of the Single Trade Union Federation of Peasant Workers of Santa Cruz described the burning down of its headquarters in the capital of Santa Cruz, which occurred on Friday, as an act of terrorism. It was denounced at a national and international level, in order for those responsible to be punished. “It was a criminal attack that they launched on our federation, we denounced this act of terrorism at the national and international level,” said Franklin Vargas, the organization’s top leader, in an interview with Bolivian state media. Vargas recalled how the violent events occurred at the headquarters when 60 to 70 people were inside.