1674594438 Dina Boluarte calls for a national ceasefire in Peru but

Dina Boluarte calls for a “national ceasefire” in Peru, but complains about the “political agenda” of the protests

The President of Peru, Dina Boluarte, during a performance this Tuesday.Peruvian President Dina Boluarte during an appearance this Tuesday CRIS BOURONCLE (AFP)

He apologized to the international press three times and called for a “national ceasefire”. She said more than once that she was saddened by the deaths of fifty protesters in the month and a half that she was President of Peru. He assured that she was a “provincial woman, a victim of hatred and revenge who only wants to work with clean hands without stealing a sun from Peru”. At the same time, President Dina Boluarte noted on Tuesday that the protests “are instigated by radical groups whose political and economic agenda is based on drug trafficking, illegal mining and smuggling.”

It was more than an hour during which the President repeatedly repeated the words dialogue, peace and unity. Their central message was the call for a ceasefire to set up dialogue tables that can resolve the conflict and restore the country’s development. Boluarte also reported that the government had set up a multisectoral commission to accompany the victims’ families with financial support, which he did not specify, and psychological support to overcome the losses. And he emphasized that his mandate recognizes the right to protest: “I have also taken to the streets to demonstrate for fair labor and student struggles, but protests must not be accompanied by violence, destruction and death.”

After establishing a chronology of the beginning of the mobilizations, Dina Boluarte focused on the events of January 9th in the city of Juliaca, where about twenty demonstrators died from gunfire in front of the Inca Manco Cápac airport. Boluarte put forward the theory that the protesters were killed not by law enforcement gunfire but by the civilians themselves. “There are videos where it appears one of the men is grabbing a huaraca and no, it’s a weapon. It’s not the police who shot. The deaths did not occur where police were concentrated, but in the immediate vicinity of the streets,” he said, adding later, “Most of the beatings were committed with a hand-made weapon called a dum dum. Agents don’t use these deadly weapons.”

When asked about the disproportionate repression by the state, Boluarte reacted sourly, stressing that the main purpose of the troops is the security of all Peruvians and that this is above any particular region. “What do we do in the face of threats? Do we let them burn us alive like they burned the policemen in Puno and burn our houses down? We must protect the lives of 33 million Peruvians. Puno is not Peru,” he stressed.

Regarding the large police operation that violently broke into the campus of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM) last Saturday, President Dina Boluarte apologized not for the fact but for the way the events happened. For three days, groups of students occupied the study house to offer shelter to the protesters who had traveled from the country’s southern highlands. During the intervention, 193 people were arrested without the presence of prosecutors or the Ombudsman’s office. “Perhaps the form was not sufficient and I apologize for that. But there were no injuries and they were later released. The police intervened for the students’ lives because it was not known who had entered and we could not guarantee what might happen inside the university,” he explained.

Elsewhere in his press conference, Boluarte accused Pedro Castillo of the country’s social upheavals. As we recall, on December 7, Castillo staged a failed coup attempt and attempted to apply for asylum at the Mexican embassy just as he was appearing before Congress for a third job posting application. “Being a victim was his best way of getting out of government and not acting on the 57 tax files he has on him for acts of corruption. There’s no sacrifice here, Mr. Castillo. Here is a country bleeding to death because of its irresponsibility,” he said. Dina Boluarte also noted that she has no intention of staying at the palace beyond the time she has to serve out before the new general elections.

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Finally, Castillo’s successor hinted that the crisis stemmed from Bolivian paramilitary forces. “In this year and five months of government, I’m wondering: Has all this paramilitary force been prepared? (…) The Ponchos Rojos brought these handmade dum-dum weapons across the border to Bolivia,” he said. The Red Ponchos are an Aymara militia related to former President Evo Morales, who was banned from entering Peruvian territory indefinitely a few weeks ago. This Wednesday, Dina Boluarte will hold a meeting with the OAS Standing Commission, which is very concerned about what is happening in Peru.

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