Protest in Peru looms towards stalemate as Peruvian leaders continue to ignore calls for change from their rural and Indigenous population.
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo attempted to seize full political control of Peru by decree, and the legislative, judiciary and military levels of government rejected him in December of last year. As a result, for the past three months, Lima, the capital of Peru, shut down as a result of political protest and civil unrest that show no signs of letting up. The beautiful country has seen wave after wave of protest and demonstrations against its government’s dysfunctional state.
Castillo’s successor, now President Dina Boluarte, adopted a deeply tense situation, as protestors call for her removal as well after her predecessor’s attempts to dissolve democracy and her support of right-wing policies. In attempts to de-platform the thousands of protesting Peruvians, Boluarte has labeled them as “pawns for drug-traffickers, illegal miners and terrorist groups who are trying to sow chaos.” Following these words, President Boluarte declared a national state of emergency, leading to the deaths of 58 protestors as Peru’s police have responded with excessive force.
These protests have been led largely by the rural and Indigenous population of Peru that have reached a boiling point with their governments dysfunctional political system and geographic discrimination. The protestors have often traveled days to make it to the capital of Peru in hopes of having their voices heard on issues with Peru’s health systems as well as calling for a constituent assembly to create a new constitution.
The protests in Peru are also driven by a broader sense of social injustice and a desire for greater political representation and accountability. Many citizens feel that the political system is rigged against them and that their voices are not being heard. According to a Vanderbilt University survey, only 21% of people in Peru are satisfied with their democracy. They are calling for a more democratic and transparent government that is accountable to the people and responsive to their needs.
Currently, Peru has more than a dozen political parties represented in Congress, making it hard for any leader to gain substantial support. Indigenous and rural protestors call for new elections and a new constitution as a solution to this issue. The Indigenous people feel that “this democracy is no longer a democracy.”
The protesters feel their political system is rigged against them and that the government only listens and caters to their capital residents in Lima. In rural Peru, hospitals often lack basic services such as toilet paper and soap, and suffering patients will even have to pay for their own water.
While there is no clear path forward for Peruvians, the people’s demand action from their governing parties . The thousands of protestors these past few months are a manifestation of deep-seated frustrations and anger among the people. Dina Boluarte is Peru’s fifth president in the past 25 months, and with protestors calling for her removal as well, it appears her reign will not last long.
As Peru’s congress continues to fail to act, time runs thin as protestors have vowed to not leave Lima until their voices are heard.