The Andes
Luis Flores SolĂ­s

Peru protests: one year later

A year after the height of a protest wave that swept Peru, demanding the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, we finally see an initial step toward justice for the some 50 slain by security forces in the repression unleashed by her regime. Judicial Power, Peru’s justice department, ordered the “preventative detention” of an officer of the National Police, as he is investigated in the slaying of a Cuzco youth last January.  On the other hand, there is outrage that Luis Flores SolĂ­s, a National Police general and a former agent of the elite Special Intelligence Group, has been named as the new chief of the Counter-Terrorist Directorate (DIRCOTE)—despite the fact that he is under internal investigation by the police force in the killing of protesters in Andahuaylas. Meanwhile, Pedro Castillo, the president whose removal from power and replacement by Boluarte in December 2022 sparked the protest wave, remains imprisoned on pre-trial detention orders. But ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori, who was serving a 25-year term for corruption and human rights abuses, was released last month on order of the Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s highest court. (Photo: Wayka)

Southern Cone
AMIA

Hezbollah operative indicted in Buenos Aires bombing

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York unsealed an indictment filed against Hezbollah operative Samuel Salman El Reda for his alleged involvement in a bomb attack on a Jewish community center in Argentina three decades ago. The 20-page indictment concerns the 1994 bombing of the AsociaciĂłn Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people and caused hundreds of injuries. The US government claims El Reda collaborated with the Hezbollah-linked Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) in the attack.

The Amazon
Secoya

Ecuador: court orders return of Siekopai homeland

In what is being hailed as an historic decision, an appeals court in Ecuador ordered the return of a 42,360-hectare expanse of the Amazon rainforest to the Siekopai indigenous people, generations after they were driven from the territory by the military. The Provincial Court of Sucumbios ruled that the Siekopai retain indigenous title to their ancestral homeland, known as Pë’kĂ«ya, which lies along the border with Peru in remote country. The lands were seized by Ecuador’s army during the war with Peru in 1941, and remained a military-controlled zone until being incorporated into Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve in 1979. Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment has been given 45 days to deliver a property title to the Siekopai Nation, and make public apologies for the usurpation of their homeland. (Photo: Amazon Frontlines)

The Amazon
Amazon Fires

Amazon rainforest loss approaches new height

Within just five years, the Amazon rainforest could lose half the total forest cover that it lost in the first 20 years of this century, a recent study by the Amazon Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG) has revealed. Deforestation rates are accelerating in nearly all of the nine Amazonian countries, but especially in Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia—mostly due to road development, agricultural expansion and mining. (Photo via Mongabay)

The Andes
toma de lima

Peru: opposition protests US troop deployment

Peru’s Congress voted to approve Legislative Resolution 4766, authorizing US troops to be stationed on the national territory from June 1 to Dec. 31. Lima lawmaker Alfredo AzurĂ­n, president of the Commission on National Defense, Internal Order & Anti-Drug Struggle, said the soldiers will carry out training missions and joint exercises with Peru’s armed forces and National Police. The vote was harshly condemned by former foreign minister HĂ©ctor BĂ©jar, who said the estimated 700 US troops will be disposed to support operations by the security forces against Peru’s social movements, now preparing a new mobilization: “It is obvious that the presence of these soldiers is a deterrent, part of a policy of intimidation of the Peruvian people, who have announced new protests for next July.” (Photo: IndymediaArgentina)

The Andes
Lima

Peru: ‘egregious abuses’ by security forces

Peru’s military and police likely carried out extrajudicial or arbitrary killings and committed other “egregious abuses” against demonstrators as well as bystanders during protests that swept the country from late last year through February, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. While some protesters were responsible for acts of violence, security forces responded with “grossly disproportionate” force, including with assault weapons. Forty-nine protesters and bystanders, including eight children, were documented as killed in the unrest. The report emphasizes “the entrenched political and social crisis that is eroding the rule of law and human rights” in the Andean country. The administration of President Dina Boluarte “seems to have looked the other way for weeks as security forces killed protesters and bystanders,” HRW said. (Photo: Renato Pajuelo via Indymedia Argentina)

The Andes
toma de lima

Peru: first death in ‘Taking of Lima’

The first death was reported in the national protest mobilization on Peru’s capital, dubbed the “Taking of Lima.” Victor Santisteban Yacsavilca, 55, was struck in the head with a tear-gas cannister, bringing the death toll since the national uprising began last month to 58. That same day, Peru’s Congress voted down a proposal by embattled President Dina Boluarte to bring forward elections to December 2023 from April 2026. Earlier, the National Police raided San Marcos University, where Peruvians from across the country who came to Lima for the demonstrations were staying. Troops smashed through the campus gates with an armored vehicle, fired tear-gas, and detained more than 200 people for interrogation under emergency measures. Protesters continue to demand immediate new elections, and the calling of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. (Photo via Facebook)

The Andes
toma de lima

Podcast: Peru at the precipice

In Episode 159 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the inspiring and terrifying situation in Peru—which is only escalating, with no resolution in sight. Since left-populist president Pedro Castillo was ousted in a “soft coup” last month, a mass movement has rapidly mobilized to demand that new president Dina Boluarte step down, that Congress be dissolved, and a “constituent assembly” be called to draft a new constitution with the participation of popular organizations. Despite repression approaching genocidal levels, thousands of protesters from across Peru converged on the capital for a “Taking of Lima”—which only brought street-fighting to the center of national power, when the gathering was charged by the riot police. It is a case of “bad facts” for the popular movement that the crisis was sparked by Castillo’s attempt to seize autocratic power in an auto-golpe in response to relentless efforts to remove him by the reactionary fujimorista bloc in Congress. But this does not alter the basic right and wrong of the struggle in Peru, which is fundamentally that of campesinos, indigenous peoples and common folk fighting for their elementary rights and very survival, against the corrupt political class fighting to preserve its privileged position and ill-gotten gains. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: IndymediaArgentina)

The Andes
Juliaca

‘Genocidal’ massacre of protesters in Peru

The prosecutor general’s office in Peru, the FiscalĂ­a, opened a preliminary investigation into President Dina Boluarte and five of her current and fomer cabinet members for possible acts of “genocide” in the repression of the mass protests sparked by the ouster of president Pedro Castillo last month. The announcement came a day after 17 were killed, including two teenagers, as protesters attempted to occupy the local airport in Juliaca, Puno region. The total death toll in the unrest since Castillo’s ouster now stands at 47. Peru’s southern regions of Puno, Cuzco, Arequipa and Madre de Dios have been almost entirely cut off by roadblocks since the protests remobilized with the new year. The giant Antapaccay copper mine in Cuzco region, operated by the Swiss multinational Glencore, is also under occupation by protesters, who set company vehicles on fire and clashed with police sent to remove them. (Photo: Max Nina/Pachamama Radio via Wayka)

The Andes
FEDIP

‘Indefinite’ general strike declared in Peru

After a pause for the holidays, protests over the ouster of president Pedro Castillo remobilized in Peru. Roadblocks and barricades have halted traffic on major arteries through the southern regions of Arequipa, ApurĂ­mac, Puno and Cuzco, while in the city of Cuzco public transportation and the markets have all been shut down. The new protests have been strongest in the south of the country. A year-end summit of Defense Fronts of the Southern Macro-Region was held in the city of Arequipa, where a call was issued for an “indefinite” nationwide general strike. (Photo: MalĂş RamahĂ­/Wayku via Twitter)

The Andes
ccperu

Campesino leaders targeted in Peru repression

Amid ongoing protests over the removal from power of president Pedro Castillo, Peru’s Anti-Terrorist Directorate (DIRCOTE) raided the Lima offices of the country’s main union of peasants and rural workers. Dozens on the premises were held there and interrogated, without access to legal counsel, for 16 hours. Rural leaders from across the country were gathered at the national headquarters of the Campesino Confederation of Peru (CCP) at the time of the raid to discuss coordination of protest actions. In the days immediately before and after the raid, government offices were burned by protesters in Arequipa, in Huancavelica, and in Ayacucho. (Photo: Wayka)

The Amazon
Loreto

‘Law of Genocide’ introduced in Peru

In the midst of the political crisis gripping Peru, reactionary elements in the country’s Congress have launched an initiative to repeal the 2006 law establishing reserves to protect isolated indigenous peoples in the Amazon rainforest. AIDESEP, Peru’s trans-Amazonian indigenous alliance, is calling Law Project 3518/2022 the “Law of PIACI Genocide”—a reference to the Spanish acronym for Indigenous Peoples in Isolation or Initial Contact. The AIDESEP statement also charges that the congressional Commission on Decentralization & Regionalization submitted the bill without first seeking clearance from the Commission on Andean & Amazonian Peoples, which holds authority in the matter. AIDESEP believes that the PIACI population in Peru is roughly 7,500 people—5,200 in isolation and 2,300 in a process of initial contact, mostly in the regions of Loreto and Madre de Dios. But a new alliance in support of oil, timber and other extractive industries, the Coordinator for the Development of Loreto, asserts that their existence is “not proven.” (Photo of Loreto rainforest via Pixabay)