Political Developments in the Boluarte Government in Peru: A Year Full of Chaos and Controversy

On December 7, 2022, Pedro Castillo, the then president of Peru, announced the dissolution of Congress and decreed an exceptional emergency government. This decision triggered a series of events that led to a deep political crisis in the Andean country.

Let’s take a look at all the events surrounding the Boluarte government, including the dissolution of Congress, protests and repression, as well as corruption accusations and controversial pardons.

Dissolution of Congress and the Accusation of a Coup d’Etat

Pedro Castillo’s message to the nation on December 7, 2022 from Lima marked the beginning of a series of events that shook Peru. In his speech, Castillo accused the majority of congressmen of obstructionism and of creating chaos in order to take over the government outside the popular will and constitutional order.

Ten minutes of speech were enough to announce the dissolution of Congress, decree an exceptional emergency government and promise to call new legislative elections in less than nine months.

Announcement of the dissolution of Congress was met with strong criticism and accusations of a coup d’état. Deputies from different parties, the judiciary, several ministers and ambassadors resigned in protest.

The move came in the midst of a motion of censure against Castillo’s mandate, approved by Congress with 101 votes in favor of the 87 needed. The political situation became even more tense when the vice-president of the government, Dina Boluarte, was elected as the new head of state.

Protests and Repression in the Streets of Peru

The dissolution of Congress and Boluarte’s assumption of power provoked a wave of protests throughout the country. The first demonstrations took place in Lima’s historic Plaza San Martin, where hundreds of people demanded the resignation of the congressmen, new general elections and a Constituent Assembly. However, it was in the south of Peru where the popular revolution took place.

Cities such as Arequipa, Cusco and Puno, where Peru Libre obtained the majority of votes, called regional strikes in protest against what they considered “the hijacking of Peru”. Peasant organizations, unions, federations and organized women led the protests in the south of the country. The mobilizations were met with heavy repression by security forces, resulting in several injuries and deaths.

Over the following months, the protests spread to different cities, such as Apurimac, where the first violent repression was recorded. The confrontation between police and protesters left several people injured and, tragically, some lost their lives.

State violence became a constant during the demonstrations, leading international human rights organizations to denounce the excessive and lethal use of force by the Government.

Accusations of Corruption and Political Scandals

In addition to the protests and repression, Boluarte’s government became embroiled in a series of corruption scandals and accusations of embezzlement. The legitimacy of his mandate was questioned and the lack of transparency in his administration was denounced. Many critics argued that Boluarte came to power not through the ballot box, but through political chicanery.

One of the main points of controversy was the renewal of mining and oil concessions. The Castillo government had promised to review and collect taxes owed by large companies, which threatened the economic interests of the Peruvian elites.

There was speculation that Castillo’s removal and Boluarte’s rise to power were motivated by a desire to protect these economic interests rather than safeguard the rights and welfare of the population.

In addition to accusations of corruption, controversial pardons occurred during Boluarte’s administration. In December 2023, Peru’s Constitutional Court ordered the immediate release of former president Alberto Fujimori, despite objections from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

This decision generated indignation among Fujimori’s victims’ associations, who argued that the crimes committed during his government could not go unpunished.

Struggle for Real Change

Despite the challenges and obstacles facing Peru, there are those who continue to fight for real change in the country. Demonstrations and protests continued throughout 2023, with the demand for a process of comprehensive reparations, investigation and punishment against those responsible for state repression during the protests.

A constituent process to review and change the current Constitution was also demanded, as well as the resignation of Boluarte and the calling of new elections.

The struggle for real change also implies the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and peasants. Many activists highlighted the fundamental role of peasant and indigenous women in the protests and resistance.

These women have been the main defenders of their lands and natural resources in the face of exploitation by mining and oil companies.

Conclusion

Boluarte administration in Peru was marked by the dissolution of Congress, protests and repression, as well as accusations of corruption and controversial pardons. Despite the challenges, the struggle for real change is still alive in the Andean country.

The demand for justice and the search for a political system that guarantees human rights are the main driving forces behind this struggle. Peru is at a critical moment in its history, and only time will tell what direction it will take in the future.