“We want these solidarity actions as they allow us to resist and defend the right of our murdered brothers to justice and truth.”Indira Huilca, former congresswoman for Lima
By Logan Williams
Last week Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America alongside various Latin American solidarity campaigns including Friends of Bolivia, the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, the Brazil Solidarity Initiative, Friends of Ecuador and the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign Action group, heard directly from leading figures in the resistance against the illegal coup against Castillo.
Each of these leading figures begged the international labour and progressive movements for solidarity in the face of intense police and military repression across Peru.
The first leading figure within the movement organising resistance to the illegal coup against Castillo and the Peru Libre government was Indira Huilca, former congresswoman for Lima. Huilca described the current situation in Peru as being “a military civic regime that has killed at least 40 Peruvians” through the government’s attempts to repress the mass mobilisations of people through the use of both police force alongside “the use of the armed forces, acting outside of all legality and outside of compliance with all regulations and protocols”.
She continued by saying that these government actors “have attacked the civilian population – shooting in the face and the body”. Most of these victims have been identified Huilca and other leading figures in the opposition movement as being “from the southern Andean regions, where there is a Quechua and Aymara population” which are also regions that have been historically excluded in Peruvian society in favour of Lima and other cities. Huilca finished her speech by stating “we want these solidarity actions as they allow us to resist and defend the right of our murdered brothers to justice and truth and also to avoid other deaths and other murders”.
The next speaker the Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America emergency meeting heard from was Diana T’ika Flores Rojas; an ecofeminist activist and a university professor at the National University of El Altiplano in Puno. Diana began her speech by discussing the repression of the opposition movement within her region which has previously been excluded from political life in Peru by governments prior to Castillo’s election.
She argued that the basic rights of her fellow citizens are not being guaranteed, she stated “the wounded are being cared for only on the streets. Young volunteers are watching YouTube videos to be able to take pellets out of the protesters in the street because the right to healthcare is not being guaranteed”.
Diana continued that the opposition movement across Peru consists of a variety of organisations and peoples united around a list of demands including the construction of “a constituent assembly, which means the possibility of choosing the way in which we believe that common goods should be administered, [and] the way in which we believe that relations between regions, education, health and fundamental rights should be”.
Diana finished her speech by demanding that the international community ensure that is “known that in Peru not even minimum democratic formalities are being guaranteed. Quechuas and Aymaras are being violated in our fundamental rights. We have to say that that democracies cannot use force against the people like this”.
The final leading voice from the Peruvian opposition the emergency meeting heard from was Natalia Arce; a teacher and activist in Juliaca within the southeastern region of Peru. Arce began her speech by highlighting the events on the 9th January where “the police repression deployed by President Dina Boluarte has killed 17 innocent people – some of whom were not even in the surrounding areas where the protest and the confrontation between demonstrators and police took place”.
These repressive actions committed on behalf of the Boluarte government was further exacerbated as the predominately indigenous protestors “didn’t want to go to the hospital because a rumor had spread that anyone who entered the hospital after the police repression that was taking place was going to be accused of being a terrorist” and, potentially targeted by pro-coup forces. Arce continued by stating that communities in the south of Peru “demand that Dina Boluarte resign… We demand the closure of this corrupt congress and we also ask for a constituent assembly”.
Arce concluded her speech by stating that claims made by the opposition forces “are not heard and our voices are being silenced with bullets and police repression. We please ask our brothers abroad to speak up. It cannot be that these abuses continue to be committed in our land”.
It is vital that the messages included in these speeches made by leading voices and figures of the Peruvian opposition movement are spread across the international progressive and labour movements and, that we continue to build and expand our solidarity actions against the illegal coup carried out with the support of “the most discredited sectors of Peruvian politics such as “Fujimorismo” and ultra-conservative sectors but also with [the support of] the economic and media elites”.