The Andes
Lima

Peru: thwarted auto-golpe or successful coup?

Facing a third round of impeachment (or “vacancy“) proceedings, Peru’s president Pedro Castillo ordered the dissolution of Congress and announced a “government of exception” that would rule by decree. But his government immediately collapsed as protesters, many armed with clubs, filled the streets of Lima. Most of his cabinet resigned, with foreign minister CĂ©sar Landa tweeting: “I strongly condemn this coup d’Ă©tat and call on the international community to assist in the re-establishment of democracy in Peru.” Defying the dissolution order, Congress quickly approved a “vacancy” measure, calling for Castillo’s immediate ouster. The Public Ministry, the government’s prosecutorial body, confirmed that Castillo has been arrested, charged with “breaching constitutional order.” His vice president Dina Boluarte, who also condemned Castillo’s action, was sworn in as Peru’s new mandatary. National Police troops have flooded the streets of Lima, which remains under curfew. (Photo via Twitter)

Southern Cone
Rio Loa

ICJ rules in Chile-Bolivia water dispute

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its judgment in a water dispute between Chile and Bolivia. The court found that the contested RĂ­o Silala is governed by international law, meaning that Bolivia cannot assert complete control over the waterway, and that Chile is entitled to the “equitable and reasonable use” of its waters. Bolivia asserted that Chile should not have rights to the river because the Silala’s waters only flow into Chile’s RĂ­o Loa through artificial channels. Chile, in turn, claimed the Silala is an international river and noted that the artificial channels at issue were built more than 100 years ago. The court urged that a “shared resource can only be protected through cooperation,” allowing both Chile and Bolivia to claim victory. The decision comes at a time when both Chile and Bolivia are experiencing severe drought. (Photo of RĂ­o Loa: Norberto Seebach via Aprendo en lĂ­nea, Chile)

The Andes
Pasco

Peru: bill to exempt miners from oversight

Peru’s Ministry of Environment (MINAM) issued a statement rejecting the Congress’ approval of Bill 412, which exempts bankrupt mining companies from complying with environmental certifications. The bill, introduced by the right-wing Popular Force bloc, establishes special measures for companies in asset restructuring. After the bill’s text was approved, the Executive Branch raised concerns, and sent it back to Congress for further review. However, the Congressional leadership approved the text a second time, and it was passed by a vote in plenary. MINAM’s statement said the law is “unviable since it allows mining companies in a precarious economic situation…to have a legal argument that will affect the health of the population and that does not guarantee care for the environment.” MINAM called on Congress to re-evaluate the law a second time. (Photo: WikimediaCommons)

The Amazon
VRAE

Protests as US troop mission approved for Peru

Peru’s Congress, at the behest of President Pedro Castillo’s government, voted to approve the entry of US military troops for participation in anti-drug and anti-terrorism operations. But the vote was protested by voices within Castillo’s own Partido PerĂş Libre (PPL), with legislator Kelly Portalatino calling it a “sign of submission.” Previous such US troop missions have seen operations in the Valley of the ApurĂ­mac and Ene Rivers (VRAE), a key coca cultivation zone. Campesinos of the VRAE Federation of Agrarian Producers (FEPAVRAE) have just announced a region-wide indefinite paro (civil strike) in protest of ongoing government coca-eradication campaigns. (Photo: FEPAVRAE)

The Andes
adepcoca

Bolivia: La Paz marches for and against government

The pro-government Pact of Unity and Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB), the Andean country’s largest trade union federation, held a “March for Democracy” in La Paz to oppose what they called “destabilization” attempts and demonstrate their support for President Luis Arce. Thousands marched from the outlying working-class city of El Alto to Plaza Mayor de San Francisco in La Paz, where a mass rally was held. But days earlier, cocaleros of the Departmental Association of Coca Producers (ADEPCOCA) marched in La Paz, accusing the government of attempting to undermine the organization’s legal monopoly on sale of coca leaf by establishing a “parallel market” in the city, run by loyalists of the ruling party. ADEPCOCA announced formation of a “Self-defense Committee” to forcibly shut down the “parallel market” in the city’s Villa El Carmen district if the government does not act. (Photo: ADEPCOCA via La RazĂłn)

Planet Watch
#ariseghana

Ghana to Peru: more ripples from Ukraine storm

Governments around the world are scrambling to shore up economies hard hit by rising oil and wheat prices as a resut of the Ukraine war. Ghana has opened talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emergency relief after angry protesters flooded the streets of the capital Accra, clashing with police. Protests were called under the slogan “Arise Ghana” to pressure President Nana Akufo-Ad to address a dramatic spike in the cost of food and fuel. Meanwhile, the Central Reserve Bank of Peru is to raise its key interest rate in a bid to quell inflation, after freight shipping was briefly paralyzed across the country. The truckers’ union, the National Council of Terrestrial Transport, announced an “indefinite” strike, although it was suspended following a pledge by the government of President Pedro Castillo to bring soaring fuel prices under control. (Image via Twitter)

The Andes
paramilitaries

Podcast: the forgotten war in Colombia

In Episode 128 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg provides an in-depth analysis of the under-reported multi-sided armed conflict and deepening human rights crisis in Colombia on the eve of an historic run-off election that poses two “outsider” candidates for the presidency: Gustavo Petro, an ex-guerilla and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a far-right construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. This turning point comes as Colombia has entered a new “partnership” with NATO, in response to Venezuela’s deepening ties with Russia. Yet Colombia’s armed forces continue to collaborate with the paramilitary groups that terrorize campesino and indigenous communities. If elected, Petro will face the challenge of breaking the state-paramilitary nexus, and charting a course independent of the Great Powers. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Contagio Radio)

The Andes
paro

Oil spike sparks national uprising in Ecuador

Ecuador’s national indigenous alliance CONAIE announced an “indefinite” paro (general strike), in response to a sudden jump in petrol prices. Things escalated when CONAIE leader Leonidas Iza was arrested in Cotopaxi province, where he was apparently participating in a blockade of the Panamerican highway. He was held at a military base, but released the next day following angry protests over his detention and a CONAIE call for “radicalization” of the campaign. Roadblocks are reported in at least 14 of the country’s 24 provinces, including Pichincha, where the capital Quito is located. CONAIE has presented the government of President Guillermo Lasso with a list of 10 demands. These include, in addition to a drop in fuel prices, a  moratorium on new oil and mineral leases, and reparations to communities impacted by extractive projects. (Photo: Kawsachun News)

The Andes
Arauca

Multi-sided warfare across Colombia

Despite a peace process that has faltered under President Ivan Duque, the internal war in Colombia continues nearly across the country—now involving multiple armed actors: remnant guerilla groups, resurgent paramilitary forces, regional cartels, and the official security forces. Thousands have been displaced in recent months, as campesino and indigenous communities are either caught in the crossfire or explicitly targeted. (Photo: INDEPAZ via Contagio Radio)

The Andes
colombiahr

Protest closing of ICC Colombia investigation

A coalition of Colombian human rights groups and survivors’ organizations released a statement decrying as “shocking” the decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to close its preliminary examination of possible war crimes carried out in the country. The statement, jointly issued by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the JosĂ© Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective (CAJAR), said that closure of the examination “could mean that hundreds or thousands of victims of crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC will be deprived of knowing the truth and obtaining justice concerning the crimes committed. In Colombia…there is still a systematic absence of investigation of those responsible at the highest levels for crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.” (Photo: Prensa Rural)

The Andes
Partnership of the Americas 2009

Colombia joins ‘new partnership’ with NATO

President Joe Biden issued an executive order designating Colombia a Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) of the United States. The designation facilitates further weapons transfers from the US to Colombia, and increased military cooperation between the two countries. Colombia is the third MNNA in Latin America, after Brazil and Argentina. Weeks earlier, a delegation of NATO staff visited Colombia to discuss the South American country’s participation in the alliance’s Defense Education Enhancement Program (DEEP). Colombia became NATO’s newest “global partner” in 2018, but this relationship was reinforced last December, when it became a member of the NATO Individually Tailored Partnership Program (ITPP). (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The Andes
Francia-Petro

Colombia: pending presidency ‘between two populisms’

Following a first round of presidential elections, “between two populisms” is the catchphrase being used by Colombia’s media for an unprecedented moment. A pair of political “outsiders” are to face each other in the run-off: Gustavo Petro, a former guerilla leader and Colombia’s first leftist presidential contender, versus Rodolfo Hernández, a construction magnate whose pugnacious swagger inevitably invites comparison to Donald Trump. Hernández, an independent candidate and the former mayor of Bucaramanga, rose precipitously in an ostensibly anti-establishment campaign driven by social media, winning him the epithet “King of TikTok.” But Colombia’s political establishment is now lining up behind him to defeat Petro. The former mayor of Bogotá and a veteran of the demobilized M-19 guerillas, Petro is the candidate of a new progressive coalition, Colombia Humana, emphasizing multiculturalism and ecology as well as more traditional social justice demands. (Photo via Twitter)