New Wave of Protests Begin as US Troops Enter Perú

Clau O’Brien Moscoso, Orinoco Tribune, June 20, 2023 —

A Third Takeover Of Lima Is The Next Action Planned In The Mobilization Against The Coup Government In Peru.

National Strike, Day 161.

As the parliamentary coup against democratically elected president Pedro Castillo enters its sixth month, the people of Perú continue protests and begin a new wave of coordinated actions throughout the country to prepare for a third Takeover of Lima in July. Despite the coup regime’s various attempts to stifle the uprising that began December 7th and has continued both in the capital city of Lima and in the outer provinces and regions. Despite the Supreme Court ruling declaring protests are not a protected right and Congress trying to take Perú out of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights , the people have not stopped making their voices heard. With the entrance of hundreds of US military personnel starting on June 1, it is yet to be seen what this deployment means for the movement and the people’s struggle for a plurinational and sovereign nation. Meanwhile, plans continue for a renewed wave of protests.

June 7 marked Flag Day in Perú as well the 6 month anniversary of the Boluarte/ Fujimori coup regime that claimed the lives of over 80 Peruvians during the uprising. Peruvians, particularly in the southern regions of Puno, Arequipa, and Apurímac raised the black and white Peruvian flag honoring those killed during 6 months of dictatorship. Merchants in mercados throughout the country raised the black and white flag. Families of victims and others in places like Ayacucho, Junin, and in Lima staged a “lavado” (wash) in public squares where they were washing flags in buckets of soap and water (to metaphorically get the blood of their slain children and other martyrs and abuses of this dictatorship off the flag), amid continuous organizing towards the July 19th Third Takeover Of Lima where delegations of people from outer regions into Lima to demand the ouster of the Boularte regime, the closure of Congress, and justice for the victims, among other demands.

As with much of this popular uprising, the southern region of Puno has provided leadership to the struggle. On May 30, all of Puno observed a full strike (paro seco) that had all storefronts, hostels, and restaurants closed in observance of the call made by Popular Assembly. Through various formations, both longstanding and newly formed in the past six months, popular assemblies have been converging throughout the regions and macro regions of the country to plan for the upcoming delegations heading to Lima, and also to plan more local actions like the May 30 strike. More importantly, popular assemblies meet to discuss the character of a popular, sovereign, and plurinational constituent assembly. Other regions, like Arequipa , have also agreed to the Third Takeover of Lima for mid July while also planning local actions in the lead up to the mass march on the capital, according to Yasmani Cayo, president of Frente de Defensa del Avelino.

The Boluarte regime declared an additional 60 days of a State of Emergency for Puno in response to the planned protests. The next day resulted in tense scenes in the Puno city of Juliaca between police and mourners jostling to lower the flag at half mast, but no deadlier interactions were reported. With this round of renewed protests and major mobilizations to the capital city of Lima, the mobilized masses have yet to face the brutality of whatever training the Peruvian Armed Forces are receiving from the additional 1,000 US military troops. As President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel recently replied when asked about the entrance of US troops to Perú, “that is interference, that is aggression. A country that respects itself does not allow that. That is an attack against the sovereignty of a nation, it is to end self determination… Behind this, it shows the interest to assault and be present in the problems of our countries as an element of domination.”

As government contracts with the Department of Defense flood Lima, particularly the Naval Medical Research Unit Six (NAMRU-6 ), the primary source of infectious diseases research in the Latin American region for the US Navy, it’s clear that the US is further entrenching itself in Perú not only to help clamp down the popular uprising inside the country, but also as a threat to the region of what happens when the people elect a government promising to have the resources of the country benefit the masses.

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