September 11, 2023
Young People in Peru Are Protesting to Protect Democracy
By Peter Lucas
Indigenous community members, farmworker coalitions, and students have taken to the streets. “Right now, we are calling for Dina Boluarte to leave power, and for new congressional elections.”
Peru is facing a democratic crisis. In December of last year, then-President Pedro Castillo, facing a third impeachment vote, attempted to dissolve Congress and institute authoritarian rule. Congressional lawmakers responded by voting to remove him from office on charges of “rebellion.”
The fifth president in less than five years, Castillo ran at a time of deepening instability and increasing antagonism between the executive branch and Congress. Trust in the Peruvian government has declined since 2017. Within the first year of his presidency, Castillo faced at least 13 different criminal and civil investigations, and became the first president in history to face an inquiry from the attorney general.
Omar Coronel, a political science professor at Lima’s University of the Pacific, described Castillo’s coup attempt as an act of desperation, emblematic of Castillo’s fragile hold on power. “Castillo lacked the support of the business sector, the armed forces, and even his own party. Even the left turned their back on him. When Castillo attempted his self-coup, nobody supported him.”