Protests in Lima, Peru, December 2002 (Photo: Mayimbú)
Against the murderous government of Dina Boluarte!
New immediate elections and National Constituent Assembly!
In mid-December, large and combative mobilizations took to the streets and squares of the main cities of Peru, in an uprising motivated by the coup perpetrated on 7 December by the right-wing majority Congress, which first dismissed and then had the elected President Pedro Castillo arrested — through the mechanism of the “decree of vacancy”, a sort of impeachment. The Congress replaced Castillo with his vice-president, Dina Boluarte. Popular mobilizations raised the slogans of new general elections, Constituent Assembly and Castillo’s release. Since then, the coup government of Boluarte, supported by all the bourgeois and reactionary sectors of the country, has strongly repressed those who oppose the institutional coup, with a bloody result blood of 30 dead and 700 wounded, including 300 police. [The numbers are from the Peruvian Ombudsman’s Office].
The Boluarte government, puppet of the ilegitimate Congress, has played to stabilize itself by combining harsh repression with a strong media campaign of “pacification” of the country, through which it is criminalizing opponents, justifying arrests and confrontations. Thus, it has reinforced state repression: it has declared a state of emergency at national level since 15 December, resorting to the Armed Forces to contain the demonstrations. On that date, a military massacre took place in Ayacucho, with the use of bullet projectiles, and eight demonstrators were killed. Boluarte is resorting to the political police (Dircote) and the mass media to stigmatize and criminalize the popular fighters and organizes mobilizations for “peace” in some regions, with the social bases of the ultra-right in his crude objective of legitimizing the repressive forces. Thus, in these days, in order to confront a day of struggles and strikes called by the opposition for Wednesday, 4 January 4, the governmen called for a “demonstration for peace” in Lima.
The crisis of the Fujimori political system
The coup and the popular reaction against Congress and the new president are the violent culmination of the political-institutional crisis deepened five years ago, a period during which four former presidents were convicted of corruption (one of whom went into exile, another committed suicide in house arrest) and three, elected by Congress, resigned between 2020 and 2021. The Peruvian tragedy has much of its origin in the current Constitution, promulgated by dictator Alberto Fujimori in 1993, which instituted corporate financing of parties and candidates — which guarantees an almost perpetual majority to the most conservative and pro-business forces — in addition to allowing the Executive to be constantly under the threat of impeachment by Congress.
Elected in an extremely polarized process and with ultra-fragmented political options (31 candidacies in the first round), the rural teacher and union leader Pedro Castillo — candidate of Peru Libre — came to power in June 2021. He governed harassed by a racist Lima elite, the populist ultra-right of Keiko Fujimori (the daughter of the dictator, who confronted him in the second round), a parliament and a coupist press, which have never digested having a trade unionist of peasant origin and from the interior as president. The mass media, the parliamentary ultra-right and the Attorney General’s Office have permanently besieged him, with a systematic blocking of the Executive’s bills, the opening of six fiscal trials in record time against the president and successive motions of vacancies and interpellations. At the same time, the right-wing and ultra-right-wing parliamentary groups prevented a possible Constitutional Referendum and altered the balance of power with constitutional reforms that limited the mechanisms that would allow closing the Congress so hated by the popular majorities. It was absolutely clear that the reactionary majority in Congress sought to overthrow Castillo and regain total control of the Executive.
But, instead of relying on the popular organizations to fulfill the promises of change for which the people voted, Castillo was giving in to the ruling classes, removing progressive or leftist ministers, and incorporating neo-liberal technocrats in his cabinet. In less than a year and a half, he lost the political initiative and tried to decree a frustrated “state of exception”, without any basis or the balance of forces for that. The response to this manoeuvre was the coup of the Congress, which was approved in nine minutes, without the right to defence and ignoring the procedures established in the same regulation of the parliamentary institution. In this way, Peru joins Honduras (2009), Paraguay and Brazil in a history of institutional coups (parliamentary, judicial and media) through which important fractions of the Latin American neoliberal bourgeoisies manage to get rid of governments that bother them or no longer serve them.
Illegitimate government and Congress
Agent of the coup, the current Peruvian Congress has proven that it does not have the democratic legitimacy to continue its administration, besides never having had constituent power. After the vacancy irregularly approved against Castillo on 7 December and the brutal repression of popular demonstrations by the illegitimate government, the removal of Boluarte from office, with a call for new elections for president and a new Congress, is urgently needed.
The profound popular erosion of the Peruvian political system born of Fujimorism requires — as wisely and courageously demanded by those who are rising up against the Congress and the coup President — a new democratic and sovereign constituent process, which will rewrite the rules of the game in favor of the majorities.
The Fourth International expresses its solidarity with the popular mobilizations in Peru and our active support for their demands, beginning with an immediate end to the repression of the protests, the release of all prisoners and a thorough investigation, with international observers, into the deaths, injuries and imprisonment perpetrated by the Armed Forces and police. We call on all revolutionary and progressive organizations of the world to denounce the coup that has overthrown Castillo, the authoritarian government of Dina Boluarte and the Congress coup, in view of the brutal repression they are deploying in the Andean country.
Against the parliamentary coup: out with Dina Boluarte!
End the state of emergency now!
Release of all prisoners! Investigation of the deaths and punishment of the assassins!
For a constituent national assembly!
The International Bureau of the Fourth International adopted this statement on Janyuary 4, 2023. It appeared on the Fourth International website on January 5 here.