Thursday, February 9, 2023

Peru: Congress debates electoral gains to pacify the country

LIMA ( Associated Press) – Peru’s congress adjourned Friday amid calls for early general elections to quell last week’s violent protests after Pedro Castillo was ousted as president.

The proposed electoral advance would consider a new vote for both the office of president and the renewal of legislators. However, the vote did not have enough support and the session was interrupted due to disagreements between left-wing groups, which call for holding a Constituent Assembly and drafting a new constitution and including consultation with the population on the possibility of rejection. . Right-wing legislative groups.

The project to go ahead with the elections, one of the demands of the protests, had 49 votes in favor, 33 against and 25 votes from a congress of 130 MPs. A request for reconsideration has been made to vote again, a request that will be addressed when the session resumes.

Meanwhile, in the interior of the country, protests add another day and have already reached 18 dead and 200 injured, according to Health Minister Rosa Gutierrez.

Given the increase in deaths, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has announced his concern about the situation in Peru. According to the organization’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Secretary-General António Guterres regrets the loss of life, and reiterates his call for the authorities and all parties to abide by the law, as well as respect the rights and freedoms of assembly and protest. repeated. peaceful. He also called for greater control and calm to prevent violence from escalating.

The reality, 560 kilometers from the Peruvian capital, is that protesters set fire to the streets of the city of Humanga, in the south-central part of the country, which were filled with garbage and tires. Hundreds of people, mostly youths, clashed with police firing tear gas shells.

An Associated Press reporter saw the fire at the Judiciary complex on the Parade Grounds. Police, in groups, were stationed on some corners near the historic center of the regional capital of Ayacucho.

This tension on the streets has already been reflected in the first resignations in the government of Dina Boluaarte. Education Minister Patricia Coria resigned from her post, alleging that “there is no justification for the death of compatriots.” He reprimanded that “state violence cannot be disproportionate and cause death.” Later, Culture Minister Jair Pérez Branez also resigned.

Boluaarte announced that he would travel to the interior regions of the country to listen to the demands of the population. “All these efforts, with a clear objective: social peace in the country,” said the president from the Chorrillos Military School, where he attended a graduation ceremony for 270 new army officers.

The congestion has also affected commerce and tourism, with dozens of foreigners claiming they were blocked in visiting areas due to blockages of highways and transport services. The Ministry of Transport announced on Friday that Cusco airport in southern Peru will resume its operations at 1:30 p.m. today.

Housing Minister Hania Pérez de Cuéllar and Environment Albina Ruiz left for the Madre de Dios region in the Peruvian jungle with 10 tons of aluminum sulfate, an essential input for the treatment of drinking water. On leaving, he remarked that each minister had an assigned area to attend to and that humanitarian flights would be made with armed forces aircraft to transport stranded tourists and the sick.

“For technical flight reasons we have to stop in some places and what we are doing is registering both sick and stranded tourists,” Pérez de Cuéllar explained to the press, adding that it is the coordinated work of the executive. Is.

Business impacts were felt in Bolivia where a thousand trucks with import and export cargo remained stuck on the roads on Friday due to protests in southern Peru. Those affected requested the intervention of the Bolivian government, said Ramiro Sulcani, president of the Chamber of Transportation.

According to official reports, more than 40% of Bolivian foreign trade moves through the ports of southern Peru. Bolivia does not have its own outlet to the sea and mainly uses Chilean ports.

Sacked Pedro Castillo will remain in pre-trial custody for 18 months, as requested by the prosecutor’s office, because of a flight risk due to a judge’s decision taken on Thursday. The hearing and judicial decision took into account the intentions of the former Peruvian president and Mexico’s positive response when it came to obtaining political asylum.

Castillo faced charges of rebellion, conspiracy, abuse of authority and serious disturbance of the public peace as a result of his attempt to dissolve Congress on Wednesday of the previous week, just before a scheduled vote in the Legislature for his dismissal. Following the announcement, he was eventually dismissed, also arrested, and replaced by Dina Boluaarte as head of state.


A previous version of this Dispatch was corrected to clarify that 49 votes, not 29, were received in favor of the preliminary election project.


Associated Press reporter Franklin Briceño in Andahuellas, Peru; Carlos Valdez in La Paz, Bolivia and Regina García Cano in Lima contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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