On January 9, Héctor Béjar, former Foreign Minister of Peru for deposed President Pedro Castillo, issued a statement from Lima on the illegal removal of Castillo and the subsequent brutal repression under a state of emergency imposed by the de facto government of Dina Boluarte. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) herein provides the video link and English translation, followed by a Spanish language transcript of Béjar’s brief analysis of the political crisis in Peru.
Good morning, Good afternoon, Good night. My name is Héctor Béjar. I’m recording this video from Lima, Peru.
Following the illegal removal of Pedro Castillo, the now President of Peru, Mrs. Dina Boluarte, has responded to the popular protests that paralyzed the country as of December 7, 2022 with the suspension of constitutional rights. That means the police can now stop anyone without a warrant; enter any residence and prevent any citizen from traveling freely within or outside of Peru. In addition, gatherings of any kind are prohibited. In areas located in 7 regions of Peru, for several weeks, the population has been prohibited from going out into the street and obligated to stay in their homes day and night. The first protests had the unfortunate consequences of 30 dead and countless wounded and imprisoned.
Why? Because the repressive forces have used lethal weapons; they have shot at the body of the protesters, at the head and sometimes from behind. These practices have continued despite complaints from social organizations and human rights organizations.
No investigation has been launched. No one has been sanctioned, and no apologies have even been made to the relatives of the victims. One year and five months into his [President Pedro Castillo’s] term, after having been elected with 8 million votes in the June 2021 elections, and having assumed the presidency in July of the same year, accused without foundation of having been elected by electoral fraud; after facing three impeachment votes, accused of influence peddling, treason, accused of having received bribes, a number of his ministers having been censured by parliament , and having seen all his bills presented to congress archived… Probably fed up with all this, President Pedro Castillo read a message at 11:40 in the morning on December 7, 2022 announcing the formation of an emergency government and the closure of Congress.
Well, what he announced had been repeatedly requested for months by the social and popular organizations that elected him; but at that time, and because of the way it was done, it practically meant a political suicide for the president. After reading the message, he left the palace with his family, using two presidential cars, the cars were intercepted by the police, and he was arrested and detained without a warrant on the orders of an unknown authority within a few minutes.
Later he was also held without a warrant for eight days, and now he is in pretrial detention for 18 months by an order issued on December 15 from a supreme judge who accuses him of alleged conspiracy. But the crime of conspiracy cannot be used against a president of the republic in Peru. On December 29, the judge’s decision was ratified by the supreme court.
The announcement was read by Castillo at 11:40 a.m. on December 7, 2022. The congress moved up an impeachment vote that had been convened for 3 in the afternoon and started it at one in the afternoon. The president of Congress presented an impeachment resolution due to moral incapacity, without substantiating it by facts or documents, which was approved without discussion by 102 votes, a number of votes less than what is required by the congressional regulations, which are four fifths of the total of members, that is 104. That is to say, not only was there an impeachment vote that broke the established norms, but Castillo’s removal was approved without debate and with only 102 votes. I repeat, 104 votes were needed. There was no debate, just silence. Until now it is not known who ordered the arrest of the president. There was no pretrial during the impeachment vote and that’s our situation in Peru.
In other words, we find ourselves not only facing a situation in which Peruvians are basically prevented from protesting, because we risk being put in prison and perhaps even being killed if we go out into the streets, but we must accept in silence a legal monstrosity like the one being committed against Pedro Castillo. I am not judging whether his government was good or bad, but rather the illegality of his removal and the brutality of the repression against those of us who legitimately want to express our opinion. Thank you.