“Despite clear incidents of state sanctioned violent repression, the movement against the coup regime is maintaining its resolve and is uniting Peru’s progressive and labour movements.”
By Logan Williams
Following the illegal legislative coup in Peru; perpetrated by Peru’s majority right wing congress to remove rural teacher and indigenous activist Pedro Castillo from his role as president, we have seen the working class and indigenous communities of Peru take to the streets in their thousands.
Their demands include the freedom of Castillo, the formation of a constituent assembly to address the deep inequalities facing the people of Peru, and the resignation of coup-President Boluarte.
These protests have seen the General Confederation of Peruvian Workers (CGTP) call for and organise a nationwide general strike for an extended period, protesters blocking national highways at 45 different points especially within the indigenous Aymara region of Puno and, daily marches through the streets of Lima.
However, these protest waves have faced increasingly violent and targeted repression from the coup government. The National Human Rights Coordinator of Peru (CNDDHH), on January 26, presented a report to the international community on the extensive human rights violations committed by the coup regime including: the death of over 70 protestors which includes 7 children, thousands of protestors injured and, accounts of torture by state security forces.
These acts were discussed at the recent session on Peru at the Adelante Latin America conference where leading Latin American scholar, Francisco Dominguez, declared the regime as being “a de facto dictatorship” but clarified that “the question is whether they can consolidate it – as the people are now leading the fightback”.
Despite clear incidents of state sanctioned violent repression, the movement against the coup regime is maintaining its resolve and is uniting Peru’s progressive and labour movements as can be seen by the recent addition of the transport workers union to the strike wave. The union announced that they will join the general strike in a statement from their General secretary Ricardo Pareja who stated, “this is the only way for them to listen to us”.
Bolstered by the growing support across the Peruvian labour movement, the CGTP has refused to engage with the coup regime’s attempts at agreement. Instead, the CGTP declared its support for those demanding an immediate general election and the formation of a constituent assembly and argued “there cannot be social peace while the Peruvian people are being massacred, tortured, and killed for using their right to social protests.”
Voices are also growing in Peru and internationally to recognise the illegal actions completed by the Boluarte government in its attempt to re-establish the dominance of the Peruvian ruling classes. Recently, the CELAC (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) summit discussed the issues facing the Peruvian people and, various progressive leaders across the region offered their solidarity.
From President Arce of Bolivia who argued “we cannot simply ignore a situation such as the serious political and social crisis that our brotherly people in Peru are experiencing” to the recently elected left wing President of Colombia; Gustavo Petro who asked, “Why are the political rights of any citizen violated by administrative and parliamentary authorities”.
The Peruvian struggle is not occurring within isolation. We have recently seen the hard right across Latin America seek to reclaim power and destabilise progressive governments – from the anti-democratic attacks on Lula’s government in Brazil to the far-right destabilision in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, against the Movement to Socialism government. Therefore, through supporting the Peruvian government we are also supporting those other struggles for social progress and self-determination in the region.
It is imperative that we as socialists and Labour activists amplify the voices from the frontline of the struggle in Peru internationally to demand justice and democracy.
- Sign the Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America statement in solidarity with Peru here.
- Logan Williams is an NEU activist and an organiser for Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America (LFPLA). You can follow Logan on twitter here; and follow LFPLA on Facebook and Twitter.
- This article was originally published the March ’23 edition of Labour Briefing.