Is Peru the right-wing beachhead in Latin America
Peru's political establishment was shocked when Pedro Castillo won the presidential election. So when Castillo made a clumsy power-grab late last year, Peru's elite made their own power-grab by not only impeaching him but also imprisoned him without charges, a far more excessively harsh treatment than any previous, elite-friendly right-wing president.
When the people protested, the police and army showed no mercy.
Peruvian security forces carried out widespread attacks against protestors with “extrajudicial executions “and “widespread use of lethal ammunition” earlier this year, while trying to contain mass protests that started in December 2022, according to Amnesty International.
The rights group researched the deaths of 25 people killed in the regions of Ayacucho, Apurimac and Puno between December 7, 2022 and February 9, 2023. In total, 49 civilians were killed during the protests.
Amnesty International’s report found that many of the victims were younger than 21 years old, with six children among the cases documented.
So are we talking about extrajudicial executions of children?
Believe it or not, it gets worse.
“Despite the government’s efforts to paint them as terrorists or criminals, those killed were demonstrators, observers and bystanders. Almost all of them were from poor, Indigenous and campesino backgrounds, suggesting a racial and socioeconomic bias in the use of lethal force.”
I can't say if it was more racism than classism, but it was probably both.
Unfortunately, the protests didn't work and the political establishment has reasserted itself. Although it was touch and go for a while.
However, there was one group that has been very happy with this outcome - the U.S. military.
Gen. Laura Richardson, head of the U.S. Southern Command, spoke to the establishment-oriented Atlantic Council on Jan. 19. In regard to Latin America, she mentioned “rare earth elements,” “the lithium triangle—Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,” the “largest oil reserves [and] light, sweet crude discovered off Guyana,” Venezuela’s “oil, copper, gold” and “31% of the world’s fresh water in this region.” She concludes, crucially: “This region matters. It has a lot to do with national security. And we need to step up our game.”
On Jan. 18, de facto President Dina Boluarte and her Council of Ministers informed Peru’s Congress that they were submitting for approval a draft legislative resolution saying, in effect, that Congress would be “authorizing the entry of naval units and foreign military personnel with weapons of war” into Peru.
Who but U.S. troops and military machinery would be first in line? The U.S. military is already familiar with deploying in Peru. And the day prior to Castillo’s removal from office, U.S. ambassador Lisa Kenna, a CIA veteran, was in the office of Peru’s defense minister, conferring.
She is persistent. On Jan. 18, Kenna conferred with Peru’s minister of energy and mining and his associates. Journalist Ben Norton attests to that minister tweeting about “a high-level institutional dialogue that day between Peru and the United States.” The minister expressed pleasure at “support from the North American government in mining-energy issues” and mentioned his government’s prioritization of the natural gas and energy sectors.