James Jay Carafano
Updating an issue we have discussed before. The crisis in Peru may not be making global headlines anymore, but things are far worse. Protests in Peru are entering their third month as radical leftist mobs demand the reinstitution of former President Pedro Castillo of the Marxist ‘Peru Libre’ Party, following his arrest and impeachment on December 7 when he attempted a coup against the Peruvian Congress. The protests have turned increasingly violent, including burning police stations and public buildings, looting private businesses and mines, blocking roads and major tourist sites, and attempting to seize an airport. 58 have reportedly died in violent clashes thus far.
So we turned to our expert Mateo Haydar for an update.
What is Happening? Peru is under attack by the radical left, which seeks to exacerbate violent conflict, undermine the territorial control of the state to benefit transnational cartels and illicit actors, and maintain instability ahead of the next presidential elections. This is not about short-term concessions from the sitting president or even about Castillo’s own fate, but about whether the anti-U.S. radical left can violently force its hand over the country’s future in the next decade.
What’s the current situation? Current president Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s Vice President and also a member of Peru Libre, has deployed the national police to enforce the rule of law and defend the constitution, but she is also attempting to allegedly quell the protests by proposing to accelerate elections to 2023, a proposal rejected by Congress last week. This is a shift from her earlier position seeking to complete the current term until 2026 and a later position calling for April 2024 elections, which Congress approved. While protesters call for her resignation, Boluarte’s concessions raise concerns that conflict will persist into the election calendar.