“The signatories call upon the Biden administration to condemn the countless number of human rights violations being perpetrated by state forces in Peru.”
By Logan Williams, NEU Activist
The pressure placed on Dina Boluarte to resign as President and for the coup government in Peru to call a new election has continued to grow in recent days. We have now seen progressive forces across the globe seeking to apply tactical pressure to key allies of the contemporary Peruvian government to demand reforms.
One of these progressive groups who has sought to utilise their position of influence can be found within the US House of Representatives. A group of twenty Democratic Party members of congress have co-signed a letter urging President Biden to halt significant amounts of financial aid which has been targeted towards the Peruvian government under Boluarte. The group of signatories include key members of “the squad” such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and, Cori Bush alongside fellow Democratic representatives.
The signatories of the letter highlight that whilst the protest wave; led by working class and indigenous Peruvians, initially demanded the release of President Castillo, they have now broadened their demands to include “far reaching political reforms, including constitutional reforms” through the establishment of a constituent assembly. The letter goes on to argue that “rather than working to deescalate tensions, the Boluarte government has substantially increased tensions” through actions such as classifying protestors as terrorists and enforcing strict curfews and travel bans to limit citizens’ rights of movement.
The letter goes on to argue that state “security forces have indiscriminately responded with almost no regard for protestors’ human rights” especially in relation to the recent police raid on student accommodation at San Marcos University in Lima. This act of repression saw the state security forces arrest nearly 200 people, frequently use racist language towards the indigenous population of the university and force female students to do squats according to reports collated by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The signatories; led by Rep. Susan Wild who organised the joint letter, would go on to call upon the Biden administration to condemn the countless number of human rights violations being perpetrated by state forces in Peru as well as calling for justice and accountability for the victims of said violence.
These Representatives go on to argue that the United States’ government is sending out an “ambiguous message” through its call for impartial investigations into abuses committed by the Peruvian government whilst it publicises its support for Boluarte and her government’s “efforts to seek a political solution”. In addition to condemning the ambiguous tone of the United States’ governments briefings towards Peru, the letter highlights the actions undertaken by the US Ambassador to Peru, Lisa Kenna. Kenna has recently met with the Boluarte Government’s Minster of Defence and, has recently confirmed that the US government will provide an additional $8 million to support the Boluarte government’s coca eradication efforts in the remote Upper Huallaga valley.
The Representatives go on to demand that the Biden administration “immediately suspend U.S. security assistance to Peru until the violent repression of protests ends and steps are taken… to investigate human rights crimes and prosecute those responsible” which they believe will enable the people of Peru to find a peaceful solution to their current crisis.
It is imperative that we, as socialists and labour activists in Britain, work to encourage our progressive political representatives to emulate the work of these twenty members of Congress in demanding a peaceful solution with clear commitments to justice for those victims of state sanctioned violence.
Our movement must continue to amplify the voices from both the international solidarity movement as well as those on the frontline of the struggle for social progress and self-determination in Peru and across Latin America.
- Logan Williams in an activist for the National Education Union and an organiser for Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America.
- You can sign a solidarity statement with the struggle for democracy in Peru here.