Paz Ortiz ’26
In Peru, police forces have shot protesters in lethal zones, killing over sixty people, and arbitrarily detained civilians, refusing them their right to legal representation. The Peruvian government has reported leftist or anti-government social media opinions as “terrorism.” For the Peruvian peoples protesting against their government, Perú is no longer a democracy.
After Pedro Castillo—the former democratically elected Peruvian president—was impeached and arrested when his attempt to disband Congress failed, Vice President Dina Boluarte was sworn in as president and stated her intentions of completing Castillo’s term; that is, until 2026.
Following Boluarte’s announcement on December 7, 2022, a series of protests emerged in which civilians primarily demanded for democratic elections to take place as soon as possible, as well as the resignation of both Dina Boluarte as president and the resignation of the members of the Congress. Also, a section of the protesters petitioned the creation of a Constitutional Assembly that represented the people of Perú. This is because the current Peruvian Constitution was instituted in 1993 by dictator Alberto Fujimori, who is currently in prison for multiple human rights violations.
The killings began on December 11, 2022, when the police executed an eighteen-year-old boy and a fifteen-year-old child who were participating in the anti-government protests. The killings took place in the Andes province of Apurimac, and it has since been considered an assassination by independent media outlets due to the allegedly excessive and unwarranted use of firearms.
Police brutality did nothing but increase; since then, there were deaths announced almost every day in December 2022 and January 2023. The worst day of the protests was January 9, 2023, when nine people were slaughtered by the police forces in Puno, including two underage teenagers. It was confirmed by the official autopsies conducted by the medical authorities that they were all killed by gunshot impacts to lethal areas of their bodies.
Calls for justice continued and outrage only grew when a video circulated of 55-year-old Víctor Santisteban being shot in the head by a police officer. Despite the video evidence, the government continues to avoid responsibility for his death or any of the other dozens killed in the past three months.
As of now, Dina Boluarte is being charged with homicide and genocide. The UN has demanded an investigation to take place regarding the mass killing of civilians during the anti-government protests. So far no foreign authorities—except for the Chilean government—have condemned Boluarte’s regime or spoken in support of the fight of the Peruvian people. Without condemnation, the United States, as well as other world powers, has legitimized Boluarte’s government despite the human rights violations her regime has committed.
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