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  • Yannick Ricaud

Peruvian 'Titanomachy'

This article describes the interaction between three ‘actors’ in Peru and its consequences on the Peruvian political sphere. The first actor is president Pedro Castillo and his statement regarding his alleged accusation of treason. The second one is the civil society that created the 'Reacciona Perú' movement to try to take out Castillo in combination with another group to close the parliament. The third and last one is the parliament which is also trying to take out Castillo through the ‘motion of no-confidence' but has not yet finished the process.

During a celebration alluding to the 242nd anniversary of the rebellion of two heroic figures of Peruvian history, Túpac Amaru II and Micaela Bastidas, the president compared the struggle of the Inca martyrs in colonial times with the so-called "unequal battle" that his government faces.

Pedro Castillo states: “we have reached the Government to make the great change that Peru today demands and demands. Although keeping our distance, we know that we are fighting a battle as unequal as Túpac Amaru himself experienced, but I affirm that we will overcome it and win”.

He continues by speaking of a group of "reactionaries" and "enemies of the Peruvian citizens", in an apparent allusion to the opposition in Congress that intends to overthrow him. With the goal of "bending" his administration with "disinformation, false accusations, unimaginable slanders so that we renounce the will to change”.

Castillo develops his narrative by showing confidence and security to his audience, the entire country, conveying a message portraying him as benevolent and his enemies as malevolent using a quote from the last Inca Túpac Amaru to claim that his mandate will not be shortened: “Here, the only ones to blame are you and me, you for oppressing my people and I for wanting to free them".

He made this statement after the ‘Subcomisión de Acusaciones Constitucionales del Congreso’ scheduled for Monday, November 7, the support of the final report of the constitutional complaint filed against President Pedro Castillo for the alleged crime of treason against the homeland.

The complaint against Pedro Castillo comes from the statements he offered last January to Fernando del Rincón, from the ‘CNN en Español’ network, in which he declared to be in favour of giving “sea to Bolivia”. Castillo stressed an eventual widespread consultation to grant Bolivia an opening to the sea through Peruvian territory: "if the Peruvians agree, I shall obey their will, I would never do things that the people do not want".

This situation of governmental instability has caused a domino effect on its citizens who began to protest in front of the ‘Palacio de Gobierno’, the official residency and workplace of the president, with the desire for a presidential impeachment and closure of the Congress.

"We cannot allow them to confront each other, to injure themselves, to cause damage to other people or to damage public or private property," declared General Manuel Lozada, head of the police forces in Lima. Nevertheless, in the midst of the displacement, the protesters tried to knock down one of the fences that have been placed in different parts of downtown Lima to block access to the Parliament and the strategic Plaza San Martín. Seeing this attitude, the police officers used tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters, generating a brief altercation between both parties. The beginning of this protest was carried out peacefully, but after the riots began, the troops had to launch tear gas canisters against some of the protesters. Not being able to advance, they began harangues against President Pedro Castillo.

It is necessary to specify that, while the 'Reacciona Perú' collective demanded the impeachment of Pedro Castillo, there was another group of protesters that had gathered in Plaza San Martín calling for the closure of Parliament. The Mounted Police tried to dissuade the protesters, but they responded by throwing bottles and stones at the horses.

The objective of the movement 'Reacciona Peru' is to seek a peaceful solution to the current social crisis. One of the organizers of the march, lawyer Lucas Ghersi, stressed that the objective of the mobilization "is to find a solution to the political crisis" in the face of "a government increasingly clearly implicated in corruption".

"We are seeing a country that is deteriorating, its institutions collapsing. The government has

not been able to buy urea, they are threatening a coup d'état all the time, with the closure of Congress," he highlighted. In this regard, he considered that there is more than one way out of the political crisis, although he stressed that the "cleanest" is the presidential vacancy due to moral incapacity.

"The constitutional solution to the crisis, the cleanest, is the vacancy due to moral incapacity. In addition to the vacancy, there is the possibility that the president is suspended. There is also the possibility that the removal of the president is approved through the constitutional accusation procedure based on the request of the National Prosecutor," he said. Lucas Ghersi also stressed the need for the vice president of the republic, Dina Boluarte, to also "leave her post" due to a considerable amount of accusations of corruption, coercion and money laundering.

Another important piece of information to present is that the president of Congress, José Williams, invited president Pedro Castillo to the session of the Permanent Commission Wednesday 16 November so that he can listen to the complaint against him for alleged treason to the motherland. This invitation holds its importance because of the current tension between the Executive power and Legislative power. The action taken by Williams could be interpreted as an act of provocation and mockery towards Castillo.

In response to this ”invitation”, the president considered it vital that he should be granted access to the documentation so that he can present his arguments and defend himself in a timely manner against the constitutional complaint that is based on the statements given by himself to ‘CNN en Español’ about the possibility of consulting with the population their opinion regarding granting an exit to the sea for Bolivia.

"Since this is an occasion that necessarily entails scrupulous respect for due process in parliament and the right to defense, it is reasonable and proportional that I should be granted, previously as a defendant, access to the aforementioned documentation, from which I can identify the errors contained in the final report that has been notified to me”, stated Pedro Castillo.

The case is still ongoing and the tension can be felt all the way from Peru to here in the Netherlands. Having the president and his ministries against the majority of the parliament can be considered a softer version of Greek Titanomachy for Peruvian politics.

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