Peru seems poised for polarization following surprise results in first-round presidential elections that saw a previously unknown leftist candidate, Pedro Castillo, taking 19% of the vote in a very crowded field—more than any of his rivals. In a June run-off, he will face his runner-up—hard-right candidate Keiko Fujimori, who took 13%. The two candidates represent the extremes of Peru’s electoral spectrum. Fujimori is the daughter of imprisoned ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori—and had herself been imprisoned as corruption charges were pending against her last year. Her Fuerza Popular party is the paradoxical populist vehicle of the most reactionary sectors of the country’s elites, and has actually been assailed as a “mafia organization.” Castillo, in vivid contrast, is a former school-teacher and trade unionist of campesino background from the poor and rural Andean region of Cajamarca. His successful grassroots campaign is seen an upsurge from such forgotten parts of the country, in rejection of the Lima-based political class. (Photo of Pedro Castillo in Lima via Twitter)
Hundreds of striking farmworkers are blocking the Panamerican highway through southern Peru, demanding revocation of a decree extending an anti-labor agricultural reform law that was supposed to sunset this year. The protests have prompted the central government to send a dialogue team from Lima to Ica region, but the farmworkers have refused dismantle the roadblocks, insisting on a face-to-face meeting with Agriculture Minister Federico Tenorio. At issue is the Law for Agrarian Promotion—dubbed the Chlimper Law for its author, José Chlimper, who served as agriculture minister under the authoritarian regime of Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s. (Photo via Expreso)
President Martín Vizcarra of Peru ordered Congress to dissolve, prompting opposition lawmakers to vote to suspend him and plunging the nation into crisis. Vizcarra maintains the vote has no legitimacy because it came after Congress itself had been dissolved. Vizcarra and the right-opposition bloc in control of Congress have long been divided over the ongoing political scandal in Peru. The Congress building has been sealed off by troops, but some 20 lawmakers remain inside and are refusing to leave. The chamber of commerce, CONFIEP, rejects Vizcarra’s move as a “violation of the constitution.” But thousands of joyous demonstrators have filled the streets of Lima in support of the dissolution, shouting the ubiquitous slogan, “¡Que se vayan todos!” (Throw them all out!). (Photo: Andina via La Mula)
Peru's Supreme Court revoked the pardon of ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori, ordering him back to prison. His supporters in Congress are drafting a law to make the pardon permanent, but this is on dubious constitutional grounds and violates international human rights treaties. Meanwhile, survivors of the Fujimori-era "dirty war" continue to seek justice for the crimes of that period. One campaign is to block right-wing candidate Daniel Urresti, accused in the assassination of journalist Hugo Bustíos, from running for mayor of Lima. (Photo: Diario Uno)
Hundreds marched on Peru's Congress building, in a rally that ended in clashes with the riot police in Lima's central Plaza San Martín, and a police car set on fire. The "Shut Down Congress" (Cierren el Congreso) mobilization was called to protest both economic austerity and official corruption, and came amid new revelations of vote-buying. It was the second such march since May 31, which saw a similar mobilization in downtown Lima. The press has dubbed the protest wave the "gasolinazo," as the high price of petrol (despite depressed global oil prices) is a key grievance. (Photo: @dbedoya08 via Debate)
Peru's top public prosecutor Luis Landa Burgos ordered that new charges be brought against ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori over the forcible sterilization of thousands of indigenous and peasant women during his time in power in the 1990s. Three of his former ministers are also to face charges, as well as his ex-health director. Landa said he has an archive of testimony from survivors including Inés Condori, an indigenous woman from Cuzco region who was the first to speak out about the forced sterilization she underwent in 1995. Fujimori, already convicted on other rights abuses and corruption charges, was released from prison following a presidential pardon in December. Landa is now evaluating the legality of the pardon in light of new criminal charges that have been brought. (Photo of sterilization survivors in community meeting from La República via CNDH)
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Lima after Peru's scandal-embattled president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski announced his resignation. Clashes were reported in the city's downtown Plaza San Martín, with tear-gas used and several injured. The resignation came after months of political machinations in Peru's congress had put off Kuczynski's ouster, and the ire of the demonstrators was directed not just at the disgraced "PPK," but Peru's entire political class. The left opposition and trade unions are calling for a constituent assembly to "refound the country and devolve power to the people." The popular slogan heard again and again at the marches is "¡Que se vayan todos!" (Throw them all out!) (Photo: Nuevo Perú)
Thousands have taken to the streets of Lima every night since the Christmas Eve pardon of ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori, to be repeatedly dispersed by the riot police with tear-gas. Lead contingents in the marches have been relatives of those assassinated and "disappeared" under Fujimori's rule, especially victims of the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres—carried out in 1991 and 1992, respectively, by regime-linked death squads against suspected sympathizers of the Shining Path. Marchers hold placards with the faces and names of "disappeared" students, workers and activists from the Fujimori era. (Photo: Diario Uno)
Protests are breaking out across Peru following the Christmas eve "humanitarian pardon" of imprisoned ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK). The pardon came three days after PPK survived a congressional vote on removing him from office over his embroilment in the Odebrecht scandal. A right-wing bloc led by the dictator's son Kenji Fujimori abstained from the vote, allowing PPK to survive in office—and raising obvious accusations of a quid pro quo. (Photo: Tomate Colectivo)
Thousands marched in Lima to demand that Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski not pardon ex-strongman Alberto Fujimori, now serving a 25-year term for human rights violations.
The suspended governor of Peru's Cajamarca region Gregorio Santos was released from prison following a decision by the Supreme Court not to extend his "preventative detention."
The fascistic Keiko Fujimori was narrowly defeated in Peru after the leftist candidate bumped out in the first round threw her tactical support behind the centrist victor.