The poor in Peru won't back down in face of bloody crackdown

When I wrote about the protests in Peru in December after President Castillo was arrested, I never imagined that this would still be going on in late January. Despite more than 55 people killed by security forces, the protests are getting bigger, bolder and more organized, and their demands are getting more broad.
Police raided a university in Lima over the weekend.

Scores of police raided a Lima university on Saturday, smashing down the gates with an armoured vehicle, firing teargas and detaining more than 200 people who had come to the Peruvian capital to take part in anti-government protests.

Images showed dozens of people lying face down on the ground at San Marcos University after the surprise police operation. Students said they were pushed, kicked and hit with truncheons as they were forced out of their dormitories.

As of yesterday, protestors maintained at least 83 roadblocks in the country.

The blockades are present in eight regions of the country: Ucayali, Huánuco, Ica, Apurímac, Cusco, Arequipa, Puno, Madre de Dios, Tacna, according to the Peruvian radio station RPP.

The director of the NGO Luz Ambar, Quispe Candia, explained that these cuts affect some 80,000 cargo trucks which are stranded. On the road to Desaguadero alone, in the Puno region, near the Bolivian border, 300 trucks have been stranded for 16 days.

Protestors have managed to shut down at least one major copper mine.

It's telling that two weeks ago the new Peruvian government banned Bolivia's former president, Evo Morales for denouncing the brutal crackdown in Peru. Then Mexico's ambassador was kicked out of Peru after Mexico granted amnesty to President Castillo's family. No one in Castillo's family had been charged with a crime at the time.

Just to be clear, Castillo was not an effective president. He appeared to be in over his head. Plus what he tried to do on December 7 was a power-grab, without a doubt.
However, to call it a "botched coup attempt" is stretching the truth. There was corruption under the Castillo government, but it certainly wasn't any worse than under the previous administrations. So it seems unusually harsh that Castillo will spend the next 18 months in prison BEFORE his trial. Meanwhile Keiko Fujimori, his 2021 opponent was allowed to run for president even after being convicted of corruption.
What seems to be obvious to everyone is that the protestors aren't out in the streets because they support Castillo's presidency, but because they identified with Castillo as an impoverished rural school teacher. These protests are about the rural versus urban and rich versus poor divide.

Daniel, 32, an indigenous mine worker from the city of Abancay in the southern-central Apurimac province, did not participate in the mass protests that swept over Peru in 2020, after president Martín Vizcarra was ousted.

“But I did take part this time, in my town, to support my people, Indigenous people, who have been treated like garbage for centuries by the ‘elites’.”
...
“People are really angry because of the people who have been killed, most of them farmers and Indigenous people, and about the racism and classism of those in power,” he says.

“I don’t want Castillo to come back, because sadly he did something illegal. But he was the first Indigenous president to be elected, he was our champion. When he took office, the media began to attack him. But we trust him, because he was like us – a farmer, a teacher in a rural school in a very poor town. We feel betrayed.”

The protests are broadly about the stark inequality between poor Indigenous regions in the south of the country and the capital, Daniel says.

“We don’t have good doctors, no decent education, people here have no money, no infrastructure. Castillo wanted to change the constitution, to enable more participation of indigenous people. When Boluarte, who is supported by the elites, resigns, it will be the beginning of change.”

Daniel says there has been heavy military presence in Abancay since the protests began. “But now, people from many regions have travelled to the capital to protest there. So there are less security forces on the streets than previously. The media call people who protest for their rights ‘terrorists’, depict Indigenous people as ignorant, as people without education and without feelings, even.”

Meanwhile, President Dina Boluarte vowed to get tougher on "vandals."
This won't end soon.

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@humphrey
Left-wing leader is kicked out in Latin America and more centrist, elite-friendly person put in charge, and the U.S. approves.
Why that has never happened before! Or at least not recently, amirite?
When Washington gets their man in charge, they don't hide it.

This week, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso chose Washington—specifically, an event co-hosted by the Atlantic Council at the Inter-American Dialogue—to announce his plans to run for re-election in 2025.

They make sure the left-wing guy can't get back in, and crackdown on anyone who complains.

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Peru has copper. Only so much copper available on 'the market'. People object
to undemocratic representations. Leaders supporting the needs of the poor are
driven out of office by CIA type operations. People get mad and rebel against the
puppets regime. The story line is getting weaker and the people are realizing the
cost of not speaking out is worse than silence. So they fight back. Demand some
accountability. If the system is broken, change it. Keep the copper as leverage.

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@QMS
There is violence in maintaining poverty and inequality that the press never frames it the way that we all know it is.

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@gjohnsit

of course most of us here do not rely on the MSM to inform us on these issues
We have better sources. Non maligned with the propaganda machine.
The impoverished have no chance to take on, except by their ability to
strike and mass protest. That will be twisted by the message police to
indicate resistance if futile. Until it isn't.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@gjohnsit The environmental historian Jason W. Moore tells us that the original divide between "society" and "nature" in the global capitalist social imaginary was promoted by, among others, the Conquistadores, who enslaved the native peoples of what is now Bolivia to run the silver mines in a place called Potosí. The Conquistadores, Moore tells us, regarded the native peoples of that part of the world as "naturales," as part of the natural order (which, of course, they exploited).

So what if the present-day Conquistadores of the world decided to recognize that they, like the Peruvians they've been exploiting for centuries (and who are currently in revolt), are also part of nature, and that some sort of recognition of the natural order (what we call "ecology") will be a necessary part of the social order? The first thing that would happen would be that the exploitation would stop. Next you'd have to see some sort of sorting-out of the social order represented by the phrase "natural resources" to figure out who's going to do the mining and the manufacturing and who's going to get the nice goodies produced by the mining and manufacturing.

Would such an order be ecologically sustainable? Those tiny orders of socialists in their sectarian parties, what is left after the official "Socialist Parties" of Europe sold out, say "yes." The eco-primitivists say "no." The true answer at present is "we don't know," because nobody is trying to create a social order in which the Peruvian mines of the world were genuinely socialized. Instead, the existing order is poised to realize capitalism unto death. And we know that capitalism unto death is NOT ecologically sustainable.

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"Israel is in the process of destroying itself" -- Miko Peled