Peru: January 15. Chronicle of another day of struggle

By Sofía Martínez – ISL Peru

The protests in Peru continue and in an unprecedented event the mobilizations reached the exclusive Lima district of Miraflores. On Saturday, January 14, the Kennedy Park was guarded by armed military due to the call for a sit-in in homage to the 49 Peruvians who died during the protests. The activity brought together various artists, activists and citizens who joined in to participate, at the entrance of the park a blanket was placed as an offering with white flowers, candles and the names of the fallen.

This is an attempt to visibilize the identity of the Peruvians killed during the protests, due to the fact that the media do not provide space for the denouncements of the victims’ relatives. Most of them were peasants, community members, young people and the painful list includes 7 teenagers. Citizens in poverty and extreme poverty, humble workers whose faces and stories deserve to be spread and remembered. Alternative press journalists have begun to publish memorials on social networks in the face of the indifference of the mainstream media.

The wounded also require support, because in the regions the health services of the hospitals lack equipment, medicines and adequate personnel. One of the most serious cases is that of Rosalino Flores Valverde, a young man from Cuzco, 21 years old, who received 36 pellet shots in the stomach, of which only 9 have been extracted. He is hospitalized in the Antonio Lorena Hospital, where he is struggling between life and death.

Dina Boluarte appeared in a message to the nation to inform her refusal to resign from the Presidency and the hardening of the repression measures; in a cruel act of mockery to the Peruvian people, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers led by Alberto Otárola declared the year 2023 as the “Year of Unity, Peace and Development”. The Department of Lima and the Constitutional Province of Callao, as well as some regions where protests continue, have been declared in “Emergency”.

This has further enraged the population, which continues to carry out various protest actions at the national level. In Lima, a massive mobilization started from the Historic Center to join the sit-in in Miraflores. There were almost five thousand demonstrators, who moved through various streets of Miraflores until they reached Larcomar, an emblematic shopping center. At the door of the Marriot Hotel a group of activists raised chants, around the pool the huge Peruvian flag of mourning was displayed, shouting loudly the responsibility of Dina Boluarte for the murder of the compatriots and demanding her resignation.

The fact that the protest has reached Miraflores marked a milestone in the struggle, because here the demonstrators were not greeted with blows and bombs, as the police usually do. It should also be noted that the organization has improved and now the activists are very alert to possible infiltration by the police.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights gave its final report at a press conference, noting a climate of extreme polarization and strong ethnic and regional stigmatization. They will also continue with the investigations of police and military abuses. And while the IACHR gave its report, the government has continued with the arbitrary arrests of regional and student leaders from the south, accusing them without evidence of terrorism. Currently 7 leaders have been transferred to Lima and are being held at the Department Against Terrorism (DIRCOTE).

The government has gained popular rejection and is going through a historic crisis of legitimacy; the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) published today the results of the national survey where 88% of Peruvians disapprove of the Congress and 71% disapprove of Dina Boluarte’s administration.

The Superintendence of Transit (SUTRAN) reports to date 33 road blockades in provinces with 100 blockade points. Mobilizations in Lima and regions have also continued. The Awajun nation and the Amazonas peasant round have taken control of the Nor Peruvian oil pipeline supply valve. It should be remembered that CUNARC La Libertad is beginning to observe a radical strike, so the closure of markets will be total.

Various delegations from Puno, Apurimac, Cusco, Cajamarca, Moquegua, Tacna and Arequipa have begun their journey to Lima, and it is estimated that they should be arriving on Monday, January 16. In Lima, various organizations are circulating the call for a national civic and popular strike for Thursday, January 19. As this note is being written, the demonstrators are once again protesting in Miraflores.

That is why it is extremely important to continue strengthening the popular organization so that the 4 Suyos arrive in Lima and in the streets, to achieve the definitive defeat of Boluarte’s government.

The demand for justice permeates all of Peru, a cry that comes from the Andes and that the winds have carried to awaken the peoples of the coast and the jungle. This struggle means the unity of the forgotten, the invisible ones that the Constitution of the dictatorship represses and murders. A struggle that has awakened the solidarity of the Aymara, Quechua, Chanca, Amazonian peoples, Afro-Peruvian communities. We are fed up with so much humiliation.

We revolutionary socialists once more put our souls to, from the front line, contribute to the popular victory.

So long as someone suffers,

the rose cannot be beautiful;

so long as someone sees bread with envy,

wheat cannot sleep;

so long as rain falls on beggars’ chests,

my heart will not smile.

Manuel Scorza: Poems