(CNN Spanish) — Peru continues to face critical moments today due to the crisis unleashed by the impeachment of former President Pedro Castillo, who was ousted from office and arrested last week before facing a vacancy motion against him after attempting to dissolve Congress. Offenses of Sedition and Conspiracy.
These events created discontent among some of Castillo’s supporters, who took to the streets in several provinces in the country’s interior to demand the resignation of incumbent President Tina Bolvarte. The political crisis that has erupted in Peru has left scores dead, dozens injured, and at least two of the country’s major airports closed due to attacks against their infrastructure.
Here’s what you need to know about the Peru crisis.
Protests and State of Emergency in Peru
Various protests by hundreds if not thousands of people have been held in the interior of the country and in Lima since last week, demanding the 60-year-old Boluarte be stopped from carrying out the current government mandate until July 2026.
Demonstrations in Peru tipped the balance At least seven people diedAccording to the ombudsman’s office, eight patients were hospitalized due to the protests and another 30 have already been discharged.
This Monday, the Government of Peru, through the Council of Ministers, announced the issuance of a Supreme Decree declaring a state of emergency in the provinces of Abanque, Antahuilas, Sinceros, Crao, Cotabambas, Anbamba and Aymaras in the Department of Apurimac. A state of emergency was imposed for 60 days; During this time, the rights to “inviolability of home, freedom of movement through national territory, freedom of assembly and personal freedom and security” are suspended. According to the decree.
Dozens of roads in at least eleven provinces of Peru were blocked by protests amid the country’s worsening political situation. According to the latest information from the National Police. One of the provinces most affected by sieges is Arequipa, with at least 16 sieges in the entire region, as well as Cusco and Abanque.
#PNPI information 🚨| This is the condition of roads across the country. Updated [12DIC2022/ 22:00 horas] pic.twitter.com/YpnngOAdSq
— National Police of Peru (@PoliciaPeru) December 13, 2022
The head of Peru’s Council of Ministers, Pedro Angulo, said Monday night that some ministers will travel to areas of social conflict to promote dialogue and promote peace and governance in Peru.
In Peru’s capital Lima, hundreds of protesters rallied outside Congress, burning barricades and throwing objects, clashing with police who fired tear gas to disperse protesters, Reuters reported.
Protests intensified on Monday as a community blockaded a major road in Cusco used by China’s MMG Ltd’s Las Pampas copper mine, a source close to the company told Reuters. Peru is the second largest producer of copper in the world.
Earlier, indigenous communities declared an indefinite strike in Apurímac, where Las Pampas operates, which has met with continued protests from communities demanding greater benefits from mining exploitation.
Within the framework of the demonstrations, one of the greatest moments of tension was this Monday at noon, when dozens of protesters took over Arequipa International Airport, bypassing security and setting fire to the control booth.
Dozens of protesters entered Arequipa airport, “destroying security infrastructure and setting fire to the control booth,” Aeropuertos Andinos de Perú said in a statement. Due to the events that took place, the authorities evacuated everyone from the airport and the airport was closed. Officials said they were working to restore control of operations in the short term “when conditions exist to guarantee the safety of passengers, crew and the entire airport community”.
Meanwhile, the international airport in the southern Peruvian city of Cusco was temporarily closed on Monday night as protests continued across the country calling for political change. The Peruvian Corporation of Airports and Commercial Aviation (CORPAC) said the protesters tried to blockade the airport terminal. They said they requested the support of the Peruvian National Police to secure the compound.
So far, there have been no injuries, arrests or damage at the airport, CORPAC said.
Boluarte expects early elections
Although President Tina Polvarde hopes to finish the presidency in 2026, to complete Pedro Castillo’s five-year term, this Sunday night he announced that he will send the draft of early elections for April 2024 to the Republican Congress.
However, early elections depend not only on the will of Polwart, but also on the Congress. For this, it is necessary to submit a bill to Congress to amend the constitution to hold presidential elections, as the presidential term in this country is five years.
The current president has indicated before the early elections that his government will promote a reform of the political system in Congress that will “allow for a more efficient, transparent and participatory government, free from corrupt practice and legitimized by citizen participation”.
“The country is going through difficult times,” the president said.
Castillo reappears in prison and says that Poluarte is a “usurper”.
After several days of silence following his arrest on December 7 for attempting to close Congress, former President Pedro Castillo sent a message on social media demanding his immediate release, saying Bolvarte was an “usurper” and that he would not resign from its functions.
“I speak to you in the most difficult moment of my humiliated, uncommunicative, mistreated and hijacked government, but still wearing your faith and struggle …”, Castillo wrote on Twitter on Monday, adding that he will not resign or give up. Duties as President, and said President Baluarte is a usurper, he uses the same tactics as “conversion rights”.
Dear Great and Patient Peruvian People: I, @PedroCastilloTeThe same person you all elected me to serve as the Constitutional President of the Republic 16 months ago. I am speaking to you at the most difficult moment of my government… (1/4)
— Pedro Castillo Terrones (@PedroCastilloTe) December 12, 2022
Pedro Castillo’s attorney, Ronald Atencio, confirmed to CNN that the letter is genuine and corresponds to his client.
The governments of Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, and Bolivia reaffirmed their support for Peru’s recognized president, Pedro Castillo. In a statement issued by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the governments of these 4 countries expressed concern about the situation of the former president and requested that Castillo’s rights be respected and judicial protection of the former president be ensured.
“Our governments call on all actors involved in the previous process to give priority to the will of the citizens as expressed in the elections,” the joint statement said.
Castillo’s problems with justice
The former president has been detained at the headquarters of the National Unit for Special Operations (TINOS) after Congress approved his vacancy for announcing the disbandment of that authority.
Castillo will hold a preliminary detention appeal hearing this Tuesday. The former president faces charges of sedition, violating constitutional order by ordering the shutdown of Congress on December 7, and “conspiracy, harming the state.” Peru’s Public Ministry said In the last week.
Castillo’s defense denied the charges of sedition and conspiracy against the president and rejected the prosecutor’s office’s accusations.
This Tuesday, the Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office filed a constitutional complaint in Congress against former President Pedro Castillo and several former officials of his government.
According to a case document obtained by CNN, Benavides accused Castillo of authorizing the crimes of sedition and conspiracy, as well as abuse of power and serious disturbance of public peace. The document has been sent to Congress President Jose Williams Zapata.
— With reporting from CNN en Español and Reuters by Ana Cucalón, Gerardo Lemos, Jimena de la Quintana.