The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Popular Revolt against the Impeachment of the President

Jan 9, 2023

This article is translated from the December 21 issue #1138 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.

In Peru, the right-wing Parliament’s dismissal of President Pedro Castillo on December 7th provoked a major response. Tens of thousands of demonstrators went into the streets throughout the country, and they are confronting the forces of repression and refusing the dismissal of Castillo.

To ease the tension, the new president, Dina Boluarte, promised to move the general elections forward to 2024. But on December 12, she dismissed all ministers appointed by Castillo and declared a state of emergency in the places where the demonstrations are the strongest. She did not succeed in her attempts to push back the mobilization.

As the days went by, in Libertad in the north, in Trujillo in the northwest, in Cuzco, where Machu Picchu is located, protesters blocked the roads. In Arequipa, the country’s second city after Lima, they blocked the Pan-American highway. 2,000 protesters took to the airport runways, blocking traffic before being driven back by police. During demonstrations in Ayacucho, soldiers fired on demonstrators approaching the airport. The number of wounded sent to nearby health centers has paralyzed the hospital system. In Apurimac, public service employees stopped work.

The many peasant organizations and trade unions, the National Assembly of Indigenous Peoples, student organizations, are all mobilized. Left and far-left organizations support them. All demand the release of the deposed and imprisoned president, the dissolution of Parliament and new elections. They add to that the demand for the resignation of the new president.

The clashes between demonstrators and police have not always worked to stop the demonstrators, but they have been violent and deadly. The toll as of this writing was 26 dead, some of them very young, several hundred injured and many arrests.

On the continent, four center-left governments, in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Bolivia, have shown support for Castillo, victim since the start of his term in 2021 of a "hostile and anti-democratic" movement. Conversely, Washington and the European Union support impeachment and the new presidency.

Supporters of Castillo believe that it was Congress that carried out a coup against the president and not the other way around, as claimed by right-wing and far-right elected officials. They consider Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s ex-vice-president who agreed to succeed him, to be a "traitor, dictator and usurper."

Pedro Castillo is the fifth president thus deposed by Parliament. But this is the first time such a move has triggered a popular reaction of this magnitude. The corrupt politicians who intended to get rid of a humble teacher of peasant and half-Indian origin, one who was overshadowing them, they didn’t see that coming!