Peru: As Protests Intensify and Death Toll Mounts, US ‘Meddles’, Mexican Ambassador Expelled for ‘Meddling’, Unconfirmed Reports Claim That Some Military Units Decide to Join the People Rather Than Serve Corrupt Politicians and Oligarchs
Written by Daniel Edgar exclusively for South Front
As the latest political crisis in Peru enters its second week, protests have spread throughout the country and the death toll continues to rise following a harsh police/ military crackdown against the social mobilization and mass protests denouncing the imprisonment of ousted President Pedro Castillo and demanding his immediate release. Emerging information suggests that the US had prior knowledge of and green lighted the coup attempt. Also supporting this contention is the fact that the US immediately expressed its unconditional support for the newly installed coup regime and the deployment of the military to quash the ensuing political protests. Meanwhile, the responses of other governments in Latin America to the latest developments in Peru provide important clues as to the current status of geopolitical alignments and allegiances throughout the region. Most recently, over the last couple of days there are reports of a dramatic development that – if true – could derail the plans of the coup plotters to install a new regime by force. The reports claim that some military units have declared they will not follow orders emanating from the new regime, stating that they will stand with and defend their people rather than serving the vested interests and protecting the vast corporate estates of the corrupt ruling elites.
The National Congress, dominated by the right-wing political factions of the country’s traditional ruling elites, had dedicated almost all its time and resources over the last year to ousting President Pedro Castillo. Castillo was a former teacher and rose to political prominence following a period as a leading figure in the teachers’ trade union during a series of nation-wide strikes demanding better working conditions and progressive reforms in the education sector.
While Castillo is invariably described as leftist, the results and achievements during his first year in office were ambiguous, mostly due to the confrontational and obstructionist attitude of an extremely hostile Congress but also in large part due to a lack of strategic vision, decisive action, cooperation and alliance-building with compatible political factions, and consolidation of and articulation with his support base (particularly the marginalized and impoverished sectors of society, as well as other traditionally left-wing sectors and groups).
Peru had also been subjected to a prolonged period of political instability prior to Castillo’s presidency, marked by endemic corruption and constant political standoffs between the different factions within the ruling elites, as a result of which the country had five presidents from 2016 to 2022, and the Congress was summarily dissolved once.
The National Constitution of Peru contains two not particularly well thought-out provisions which enable the President to dissolve the Congress and also enable the Congress to dismiss the President, the latter provision in particular expressed in terms which are ambiguous and invite just such a political crisis (Articles 113 and 134 respectively). Specifically, the President can dissolve the Congress and convene immediate elections if the Congress fails to ratify or passes a no-confidence motion against the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet) on two occasions. Technically this has happened, albeit on separate occasions. Since the current term commenced in July 2021, the Congress has done almost nothing else apart from block and censure the government and instigate ‘vacancy’ resolutions seeking to oust the president.
The immediate trigger for the current crisis was an attempt by President Castillo to dissolve the Congress and convene new elections, a belated effort to pre-empt a pending ‘vacancy’ resolution by the Congress (the third since he took office) calling for his dismissal due to ‘moral incapacity’. As noted previously, the Congress has spent almost all its time preparing and debating similar measures, indiscriminately blocking and censuring the decisions and actions of the Castillo government, and searching for incriminating evidence that would provide some substance to their constant allegations against the president and justify his dismissal (assisted by numerous collaborators within key State agencies – in particular the Office of the Prosecutor-General – as well as the mass media).
Consequently, the crisis is perhaps best described as a crude power struggle in which each side has made questionable use of constitutional powers which are ambiguous and susceptible to abuse. While Castillo generally failed to impress many of his supporters during his first year as president and as a result his approval rating fell considerably, there is a widely held feeling of contempt for the politicians that control the Congress (which has a disapproval rating of around 90%). It is noteworthy that despite all the time and resources devoted to trying to uncover evidence of illegal conduct against President Castillo (presumably with substantial assistance from collaborators within the military, police and intelligence establishments), ultimately the Congress could only continue to insist on the dubious allegation of ‘moral incapacity’.
When Castillo finally made the decision on the 7th of December to dissolve the Congress and convene general elections the political factions controlling the Congress, supported by the police and military leadership, immediately ordered the ‘pre-emptive’ detention of President Pedro Castillo and appointed the vice-president, Dina Boluarte, as his successor. Boluarte had previously had a falling out with Castillo and was no longer an active member of the government, though she retained her official status as vice-president.
Although the legality of the decision to dissolve the Congress should logically have been determined by the full bench of the Constitutional Court in public hearings after detailed legal argument as to the political and constitutional context, the order promulgated by the Congress to arrest President Castillo was subsequently rubber-stamped by a single magistrate, presumably selected by the same political factions that arranged for Castillo’s imprisonment in the first place.
Mass protests and social mobilizations commenced several days later, on the 10th of December. As the protests spread throughout the country, the core demands of the mobilized social sectors include the liberation of President Castillo and the dismissal of the de facto president, Dina Boluarte, as well as the closing of the Congress, forwarding the date of national elections, and the convening of a constituent assembly.
Protestors occupied several airports (from which they were hastily and brutally dispersed by the military, causing many of the fatalities that have occurred over the last two weeks) and blockaded many key transport routes throughout the country, including the Pan American highway. Most of the focal points of the social mobilization and mass protests have been at the regional level, where the logistical and organizational challenges are usually much less daunting.
Clashes between protestors and security forces have been reported in at least 13 of the country’s 24 provinces. As of Monday, the 19th of December, the official death toll was 26, with many hundreds of protestors seriously injured.
In this context, the least worst option for governments and international actors would arguably be to refrain from taking sides unequivocally (recognizing that errors have been made by all the respective factions that have precipitated the crisis, and all of the main protagonists must accept some of the blame for the current situation), calling for the release of the imprisoned president, that all sides refrain from inflammatory or provocative statements and actions – particularly unilateral efforts to usurp power, whether from within the Presidency or the Congress – and urging the formation of an interim caretaker government as well as a process of comprehensive national social and political dialogue to prepare the way for national elections for both the presidency and the Congress (the President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has suggested something along these lines), whilst emphasizing that any faction that attempts to impose a post-coup regime by force will not be recognized by the international community.
The actions and statements of the United States in particular have almost certainly encouraged the coup plotters in the Congress and the ‘security forces’ (senior military, police and intelligence officials) to refuse any form of compromise or transitional power-sharing arrangement, and reinforced the determination of the instigators behind the parliamentary//military/ corporate usurpation of power to impose a post-coup regime by force and delay new elections long enough to consolidate their rule and neutralize or crush their political opponents and restive social movements. LINK
The basic methodology appears to be a carbon copy of the parliamentary/ military-police-intelligence/ corporate ‘regime change’ operation used to oust troublesome or simply inconvenient leaders in the region on numerous occasions, starting with Manuel Zelaya in Honduras in 2009 and replicated with slight modifications to the script in Paraguay and Brazil. There are also many parallels with the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002, in particular the encouragement provided to the coup plotters and the elaborate pre-planned campaign to provide ‘diplomatic’ cover and support to the post-coup regime (a documentary reviewing related events at the time clearly exposed key components of the US role in the attempted coup in Venezuela).
In a detailed reconstruction of relevant developments in Peru over the last days prior to and during the coup, a report by Ben Norton makes it clear that the United States almost certainly had prior knowledge of and approved the coup, in effect holding President Castillo as exclusively responsible for the political crisis, providing encouragement and political support to the coup plotters within the national Congress and the military, and purporting to justify and legitimize their actions in the aftermath of the usurpation of power and ‘pre-emptive’ imprisonment of the president. According to the report:
The US ambassador in Peru, a veteran CIA agent named Lisa Kenna (who served for nine years as a Central Intelligence Agency officer prior to her current posting), met with the country’s defense minister just one day before democratically elected left-wing President Pedro Castillo was overthrown in a coup d’etat and imprisoned without trial…
On December 6, 2022, Kenna met with Gustavo Bobbio Rosas, a retired brigadier general from the Peruvian military who had officially been appointed as defense minister the day before…
At the time of this meeting, it was known in Peru that the notoriously corrupt, oligarch-controlled congress was preparing for a new vote to overthrow democratically elected left-wing President Pedro Castillo…
(In a video released shortly after Castillo announced his decision to dissolve the Congress) Bobbio told Peru’s armed forces not to support President Castillo, claiming Castillo was launching a ‘coup attempt’, instructing the Peruvian military to support the counter-coup of the congress.
While Bobbio ordered the military to rebel against the president, the US government promptly attacked Castillo.
Former CIA agent and current Ambassador Kenna tweeted, “The United States categorically rejects any extra-constitutional act by President Castillo to prevent the congress from fulfilling its mandate.”
(Hours after Castillo was imprisoned, the congress appointed his vice president, Dina Boluarte, as president. Boluarte immediately announced “a political truce to install a government of national unity” – that is, a pact with the right-wing factions that ousted President Castillo, an offer that was immediately endorsed by the aforementioned factions and the senior military officers that had arrested President Castillo.)
The day after the coup, on December 8, the State Department gave its rubber stamp to Boluarte’s unelected regime.
“The United States welcomes President Boluarte and hopes to work with her administration to achieve a more democratic, prosperous, and secure region,” stated Brian A. Nichols, the US assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs. “We support her call for a government of national unity and we applaud Peruvians while they unite in their support of democracy …”
(When mass protests erupted demanding Castillo’s reinstatement,) Peru’s police responded with violence, harshly cracking down, killing several protesters. On December 14, the coup regime imposed a national ‘state of emergency’ for 30 days…
At the same time, the coup regime also said it plans to sentence Castillo to 18 months in “preventative prison”.
Just one day before the coup regime made these authoritarian announcements, former CIA agent and current US Ambassador met with Peru’s unelected leader, Dina Boluarte, and reiterated Washington’s wholehearted support…
In a press briefing on December 13, the State department was asked about the protests in Peru. Instead of condemning the rampant police brutality, the US State Department blamed the protesters themselves. Price stated, “we are troubled by scattered reports of violent demonstrations and by reports of attacks on the press and private property, including businesses.”
Many governments in Latin America have criticized the recently installed coup regime, including Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Honduras, Venezuela, Cuba, and several Caribbean nations. Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia formulated a joint statement expressing support for Castillo, and stating that he was the victim of an anti-democratic campaign of harassment and persecution from the first day of his presidency. Several of Castillo’s family members have successfully sought asylum in the Mexican Embassy, and the Ambassador has subsequently been declared persona non grata and given 72 hours to leave the country.
Others, however – the right-wing governments in the region that are firmly within the US ‘orbit’ – have not hesitated to recognize the coup regime headed by Dina Boluarte, among them the governments of Ecuador, Uruguay, Costa Rica and, most recently, Chile, all of which have parroted the line adopted by the United States.
Over the last couple of days there appears to have been a dramatic development that could disrupt the plans of the coup plotters to install a new regime by force. A declaration claiming to be from several military units has been circulating stating that they will not follow orders emanating from the new regime, and that they will protect and defend the people rather than serving the vested interests and protecting the vast corporate estates of the corrupt ruling elites.
It has not been possible to verify or refute the veracity of the report. It may be that the document was written by someone purporting to be from the military, in an effort to instil reflection, courage and a sense of patriotism and allegiance to the people among the members of the armed forces. Or, perhaps, it was written and published by some members of the armed forces to ‘test the waters’, seeking to encourage like-minded colleagues to refuse to follow the orders directing them to confront with brute force, and in some cases kill, unarmed protestors (the military leadership has blithely referred to all of the protestors that have been killed as terrorists). Or, it might be authentic. Presumably, time will tell.
The statement, published by Resumen Latinoamericano among others, is accompanied by a short video showing a group of heavily armed soldiers mingling with protestors in a rural area and helping them block the road. The text states:
The junior officers, technicians, non-commissioned officers and troops in general stationed in the Valley of the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers (VRAEM) and border regions will not abide by any act contrary to human life, we declare ourselves in rebellion against the usurper Dina Arcelia Baluarte Zegarra. Likewise, we are against this exploitative, corrupt system endorsed by the Political Constitution of Peru of 1993.
The glorious Peruvian army WILL NOT ACCEPT THE STATE OF EMERGENCY We consider it to be a violation of the fundamental rights of the Peruvian nation and war is declared on the Generals and colonels who kneel before politicians, prosecutors and drug traffickers due to their greed and personal ambitions. We call on our brothers in the National Police of Peru to LAY DOWN THEIR ARMS, otherwise, for the lives of our rural families, we will proceed to disarm them militarily.
Unfortunately war is sometimes inevitable. While no one likes the idea of having to leave their family, millions of our ancestors have taken up arms to defend their country. It is because of these brave soldiers that the threats our country has faced did not destroy our freedom. In this context, the Peruvian people, to whom we owe allegiance, call us to defend their fundamental rights, mainly Education, health and work for the Peruvian people who, since the 90s, a sector called politicians have bought and sold at the cost of blood and fire to protect their privileges…
If the unconfirmed reports that some military units have opted to join ‘the people’ and ignore all orders purportedly given by the coup regime turn out to be true, this would obviously put immense pressure on the de facto government and Congress to seek a compromise solution to the crisis. If not, given Peru’s troubled past, a popular insurrection, or even civil war, could not be ruled out.
Notwithstanding the determination of the thoroughly corrupt far-right factions in the Congress along with their collaborators and the US to impose a coup regime by brute force, much will depend on the corresponding determination and resilience of the mobilized social sectors and movements. If they can withstand the efforts of the military and police to quash the mass protests and neutralize all political opponents and social movements, and maintain pressure on the de facto government and Congress, they may be able to force them to convene elections in the immediate future, or after a mutually agreed neutral transition period in which Castillo would conceivably be partially or fully reinstated (with some type of power-sharing caretaker government). In this respect, the situation could be broadly compared to the National Strike that rocked Ecuador earlier this year, which ended up being a battle of attrition, organizational skills, resolve and staying power.
However, even if the political opposition and mobilized social sectors and movements can extract a compromise and early elections, who will they vote for? Moreover, if the situation in Peru is similar to Colombia, the provincial and municipal governments and institutions are usually no better, and on many occasions worse, in terms of corruption, patronage/ nepotism, lack of capacity, etc. At the same time, these levels of government probably constitute more viable objectives for more immediate reforms.
As yet there is little indication that the mobilized social sectors in Peru are receiving tangible support, provisions or advice from their counterparts in Ecuador, Colombia or Bolivia, all of whom have vast experience and formidable capacities and resolve in terms of organizing mass social mobilizations capable of withstanding brutal oppressive measures, whether deployed by regular ‘public security’ forces, heavily armed riot police, private militias formed or sponsored by landlords and resource companies, or insurgent, paramilitary or other illegal armed groups.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Ecuador The national strike: postscript and update
- Recent developments in Brazil: Part II
- Brazil are extreme right-wing elements stealthily preparing an extermination of their opponents
- The multinationals among the untouchables of the Colombian conflict
- Preparations for the Final Phase of Regime Change in Venezuela
We all see the same script happened in Bolivia, Ecuador, and now Peru. PAX AMERICANA only worked well to the Hegemon and not to the puppet Goverments, the power established within their caste system of Elites in Peru ruling over the masses surrounded by poverty only worked well to the Elites and their corrupted system based on the whiteness of skin and if you understand and speak the languaje of the Hegemon and accept their rule over you, then you will survive and rule with them. The Democratic system is broken in all LATAM because they only served to achieve the Hegemon purpouse and not to What The Hegemon make you believe, “Freedom, Democracy, Justice, Rules Based System” are just the Dialectic they speak, you watch TV watch Holywood while they take over your land and your country…. even the Catholic Church are allied with the Hegemon and not speak against them ever, you will see how Catholic rides the waves of changes of Goverments without saying anything and allied with the new President at every pace. The only way to EVOLVE our systems in LATAM is to create a new system that get rids and replaced of Elites and Olligarchs who hate regular people and put in their site to National Proletariats and Entrepreneurs who like to work on behalf of the people and serve them and not the ones imposed by the Hegemon who get benefited from poor people financial enslavement. PERU will not achieve peace and will follow the path of ECUADOR on becoming another USA Colony using US DOLLARS as their main coin.
Also forget to mention to buy some popcorn and watch on TV while PERU BURNS! they would burn out to the ashes to start a new colony of NEW PERU just to please the Supreme Hegemon, and Peru Goverment would sell all their natural resources just to stay on float… this is the law of the puppet land under Pax Americana
SF must investigate whether or not it is true that: In the Peruvian prosecutor’s office there are more than 50 investigations for crimes of corruption against the coup leader Castillo and that part of his family have been fugitives from the law for months for having received bribes from businessmen on behalf of Castillo since the beginning of his term. that of the 130 congressmen in the Peruvian congress, the vast majority are allies of Castillo that for 22 years the governments in Peru have been from the left and only one was from the center left; and all presidents have corruption trials. ¡¡¡ That the economic crisis that Peru is experiencing is a consequence of the Vizcarra government and has been deepened by Castillo.
So now there are “more than 50”? You and your ilk are liars. The prosecutor’s office is a nest of corruption and has been so for decades. Are’nt the prosecutor’s sisters, court judges who, after being paid handsomely, let some drugtraffickers go free? Interesting that you forget this “detail”. That Castillo’s family as well as himslef have received kickbacks was something that should have been investigated. However, the elites were only interested in getting rid of the President. By the way, do you know that these bribes and corruption are not something that started with Castillo? By the way you put, it’d seem that he is the one who started. As I said, he should have been investigated, but the situation was very similar to Trump’s: lots of bs and nothing to show in the end.
In Congress, most are his enemies. Don’t lie shamelessly. Do you want to take advantage that not many Peruvians read Southfront? Well, I do, and I’m Peruvian. Even those who belonged to his party eventually abandoned him. Was Fujimori left wing? Was Toledo left-wing? Was Alan Garcia left-wing? Was Kuczinski –the international technocrat– left-wing? And of course, Vizcarra, who was Kuczinski vicepresident ,was not left-wing either. The only one who started as a left-wing candidate was Ollanta Humala. But soon the oligarchy twisted his arm and forced him to sign La Hoja de Ruta (The Route’s Sheet), a paper where he promised to forego his initial policies to make changes in the country for a right-wing recipe, which was more of the same neoliberal formula that has enriched a few and impoverished many.
Yeahhh Fujimori was from the left… excuse me buddy if you believed in the right or the left its just what they wanted you to believe… Its Olligarchs and Elites controlling both sides, its like believing in horse races while the owner controlled all the horses and you foolish believe your chosen horse will win the race…. the only way you can win its if you chose the same horse as the Owner… you are owned by your system and your Democracy is only a fairy tale in a Hollywood movie and only exist in your Social Networks like FB Twitter while the Supreme Hegemon owns you.
What USA intervened in Peru? … the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico have had more interference, as the press reports and the facts have shown, since several partners and family members of Castillo reported in court are living in Venezuela… and now his wife is in Mexico SF explained why when they went out to march against Castillo and his government, hundreds of thousands of Peruvians came out and when Castillo asked his supporters to come out and defend him, there were only a few thousand and of which, as can be seen in many videos uploaded to the net, it is seen that they are paid for their assistance, they even give them food, where there is popular support in a country of almost 40 million inhabitants and in a capital of more than 10 million inhabitants.
SF must investigate because almost all members of the castle government have trials, investigations, complaints for all kinds of crimes including murder. SF must confirm if the last Prime Minister of Castillo has no complaints for having given work to the family of her fiancee despite the fact that the law prohibits it SF must confirm if the penultimate prime minister did not dedicate himself to promoting racism in his daily speeches, even accusing children of being racist just for living in the capital. SF can say what they call in Russia the people who set fire to state and private buildings, the assault and destruction of shops, the blockade of roads with the consequent death of people who had to travel for medical treatments and could not do so, the burning of ambulances and attack on firefighters in Peru, those acts are called terrorism!
Finally… the Peruvian armed forces are not even the shadow of what they were until the end of the 90s, even so they have shown that they reject terrorist communism and all those organizations that defend terrorists, a clear example is that they do not They supported the coup d’état given by Castillo and have received the support of the citizens in the streets when they came out to stop the acts of vandalism. I reiterate that I have been following SF for years and reading an article so far from the reality that my country is experiencing is outrageous and casts doubt on the articles published by SF from now on.
I’m Peruvian at birth and understand of the fact(s), every politician either left or right or none are untrustworthy towards the people whom realistically are themselves in great sufferable position the world doesn’t care.
Pedro Castillo (Communisto) represents the worst democracy cannot accept, as well as Dina Boluarte (Manuela Merina) whose rampaging my country murdering civilians without reason(s).
Eventually, I will become president, making radical changes that history itself was the problem that plagued Peruvian governance following its independence after 1820.
It’s time that history itself is abolished.
The fight is not between right-wing and left-wing but between patriots and globalists.
The US ambassador in Peru, a veteran CIA agent named Lisa Kenna (who served for nine years as a “Central Intelligence Agency officer prior to her current posting), met with the country’s defense minister just one day before democratically elected left-wing President Pedro Castillo was overthrown in a coup d’etat and imprisoned without trial…”
Everything that the disgusting USSA touches reeks of blood, death and excrement. To save the patient one must cure the disease at its source in “America” (sic). The ongoing destruction of Natostan, EUSSR, those USeful idiots of the evil angloZionaZi empire of shit in the diseased rump Ukrapland brings humanity closer to a world with out the WASP ish filth of the Washing town sewer. Soon the civil war reloaded in Slumville will offer hope and respite to a planet sick of everything that these pedovore Satanic scum have unleashed.
I don’t think that most of these people are capable of forming a free society in the first place! It wasn’t long ago that their priest class talked them into being cannibals.
27 million people have died by the US and their controlled governments alone sine WWII in South America. Many of them tortured and murdered…
This is what the US stand for. But the averange intelligent US people support their murder and pillage around the world…
Gods Satan’s own country…
No surprise that Quito joins the jackals. They threw Assange under a bus.
The United Snakes of Aipac spreading it’s DeMockRacy again.vWish Russia nukes them and their controller, isRealHell
another USA fascist coup