For damages to infrastructure and production losses for an equivalent of about 1,282 million dollars, the president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, called for a “national truce” to the protesters, amid widespread protests.
Boluarte, whom the protesters demand his resignationsaid that the anger is legitimate for a series of postponed social demands, but maintained that radical groups and criminal gangs are taking advantage of social discontent to generate chaos.
The protests, which have left the minus 62 dead due to clashes and traffic accidents linked to the riots, began in December with the dismissal and arrest of former leftist president Pedro Castillo, who illegally attempted to dissolve Congress and reorganize the judiciary.
“I call for a national truce to establish a dialogue table and set a common agenda for each region and develop our people,” Boluarte said in a conference from the Government Palace, in downtown Lima.
Protests concentrated in areas where mining companies operate
The demonstrations have focused mainly on the southern regions where large mining companies operate and almost all fatalities have also been registered during the violent confrontations with the police and the Army.
Boluarte indicated that in recent weeks government representatives have traveled to the south of the country to talk with authorities; some have not wanted to receive them but others have excused themselves because “violent groups” have him “threatened”.
We are looking for the governors to talk with us, but they have blackmailed those from the south.
Losses have occurred in infrastructures and national production
The president stated that the losses amount to about 3 billion soles in damage to infrastructure and 2 billion soles in losses of national production.
During the protests, the demonstrators have blocked dozens of roads, set fire to public and private entities and in some forced the closure of some airports.
Three copper mines have suffered attacks and blockades in the so-called “mining corridor in the Andes”: the Chinese MMG Ltd, the Canadian Hudbay and the global Glencore. The latter temporarily closed its mine on Friday.
Peru is the world’s second largest copper producer.
Demonstration agenda based on drug trafficking: Boluarte
Boluarte stated that peaceful protests sometimes turned violent due to the action of “radical people” who have their own political and economic agenda.
“And (the agenda) is based on drug trafficking, illegal mining and smuggling. That is why geographically these protests have been located in Puno and Apurímac, ”he said.
Peru and Colombia are the largest producers of coca leaf and cocaine in the world.
The Peruvian president blamed Pedro Castillo, who is serving a preventive prison of 18 months while they investigate him for “rebellion”, which promotes political polarization in the country during the almost 17 months that his administration lasted.
“In that year and five months of government, has this entire paramilitary force been prepared, and is this force generating chaos, violence in the country?” he wondered.
“Would it be more convenient for him to go out with a self-coup to victimize himself and move all this paramilitary apparatus?” he stressed.
The protests have not subsided and on Tuesday hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Lima again and clashed with the police, who used tear gas to disperse them.
Boluarte expressed his confidence that the unicameral Congress definitively approves in mid-February, in a second vote, the advancement of elections to April 2024. (Reuters)