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Peru protests intensify
Dec. 14, 2022
Protests in Peru are intensifying — at least seven people have died in the clashes between supporters of former president Pedro Castillo, who was ousted after an attempted coup last week, and security forces. (See Monday’s post, and yesterday’s briefs.)
Human rights groups accused police of using “excessive force” against protesters, while the National Association of Journalists reported 28 attacks on media workers, the great majority of them committed by supporters of Castillo. (Washington Post)
Peru’s government declared a state of emergency for the country’s highways, today, reports La República. And Peruvian defense minister Alberto Otárola, announced, last night, that the armed forces would take responsibility for protecting strategic infrastructure such as airports and hydroelectric plants, reports the New York Times.
Many rural voters feel their political will was run over by Lima elites. The protests are backed by the largest federation of labor unions, the largest association of Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon and many organizations representing poor farmers, among other groups.
Peruvian President Dina Boluarte said she would seek to move elections up to December 2023, earlier than the 2024 date she suggested on Monday. Any change would have to pass through Congress. (La República)
Peru’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal for Castillo’s release, this morning, a decision that some analysts fear could further inflame protests. He was charged with rebellion and conspiracy, last week, and prosecutors seek to extend his pre-trial detention for up to 18 months. (Deutsche Welle, Reuters)
From jail, Castillo called on supporters to maintain protests, reports El Comercio.
Monday evening several leftist governed countries in Latin America — Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico — issued a statement calling the ousted president “the victim of undemocratic harassment” and urging Peru’s political leaders to respect the “will of the citizens” who voted him in.
The upheaval, part of several years of political turmoil, is increasingly threatening to derail Peru’s economic stability, according to Reuters, with ratings agencies warning of downgrades, blockades impacting major mines in the world's no. 2 copper producer,
Protests in Peru may die down with the holidays, “but the fundamental problems driving the unrest will not go away: an abysmal gap remains between the powerful capital Lima and much of the rest of the country which identified with (former President Pedro) Castillo and feels neglected by its institutions and, most of all, its hugely unpopular congress, which is largely viewed as a viper’s nest of corrupt lobbies and vested interests,” reports the Guardian.
Peru's Supreme Court is considering the prosecution's request for up to 18 months of preventative arrest for Castillo after he was charged with rebellion and conspiracy, the court said today ahead of a new hearing. (Reuters)
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is a leading voice in the global conversation on climate change — this year she presented the Bridgetown Initiative, an innovative plan she has developed to reform the World Bank and I.M.F., institutions that are failing to help countries being battered by climate change, reports the New York Times.
Barbados’ High Court struck down colonial-era laws that criminalize gay sex, on Monday. It is the third Caribbean country to do so this year, after Caribbean courts found such laws in Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis unconstitutional. (See today’s Just Caribbean Updates)
Haiti has been blighted by colonial exploitation, natural disasters and violent gangs – now a food crisis looms, writes Kenneth Mohammed in a Guardian opinion piece. “What can be done to fix Haiti? The answer lies in forming a government of integrity and substance without allegiance to any gang … severing existing ties between gangs, politicians and law enforcement.”
There have been 1,900 homicides in Tijuana this year so far, making it the deadliest city in Mexico. The violence has been propelled by a shift in the drug trade — the city has become a waypoint for fentanyl and an increasing number of residents have become users, reports the Washington Post.
An Argentine court cleared a woman accused of killing her baby after suffering an obstetric emergency. The ruling was a victory for women’s rights activists who had been campaigning for the woman’s release, and fighting against the criminalization of women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths in Argentina, reports the Guardian.
A new study suggests that ancient Mesoamericans tracked leap years using a sunlit horizon, reports the New York Times.