Latin American movements warn of a coup underway in Peru

The Social Movements of ALBA platform said the resignation of Peruvian foreign minister Héctor Béjar is a clear example of the ongoing coup against the newly inaugurated left government

August 24, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo with former foreign minister Héctor Béjar. Photo: Kawsachun News

Since the swearing in of Peruvian president Pedro Castillo on July 28, Peru’s electorally defeated right-wing has been attempting to undermine and attack the newly formed government. The platform Social Movements of ALBA, which brings together more than 400 social movements from 25 Latin American countries, on August 22, has deemed that these actions are part of an ongoing coup d’état.

“From ALBA Movimientos and from every corner of the Great Homeland, we denounce the Peruvian right and its insistence on ignoring the popular majorities of this sister country,” said the organization in a statement.

ALBA Movimientos added that the efforts to oust Castillo precede his swearing in, and began when the right refused to acknowledge his electoral victory. They stressed that these destabilization attempts have been accentuated after the forced resignation of foreign minister Héctor Béjar last week on August 17, which the organization considered as the starting point of a counteroffensive and an ultra-reactionary coup.

Béjar became a victim of an intense defamation campaign, in which old statements he made in a press conference in November 2020 were manipulated. In his statements, he highlighted that the participation of the Peruvian intelligence and the CIA to divide the left and the alleged involvement of the Navy in beginning terrorism in Peru during the dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000). After the publication of the manipulated and edited version of his statements last week, he was accused of disrespecting and offending the Armed Forces and Navy. People protested demanding Béjar’s resignation. The navy issued a statement condemning his remarks as “an attempt to distort history.” Far-right politicians used the opportunity to call for a motion of censure against him. With the smear campaign in full force, in just three weeks after taking office, Béjar was forced to resign.

According to Social Movements of ALBA, “the coup strategy” against Castillo “has as its center the Congress, dominated by the right.” It highlighted that the opposition has presented a record number of “19 motions to question seven ministers in just 15 days of government,” and alerted that “there is a threat for the next few days with the unprecedented and unusual fact of not granting confidence to the newly appointed ministerial cabinet, for the sole reason that it does not like ministers.”

The body also warned that “these reactionary sectors are trying to overthrow the recently assumed popular government, using the figure of ‘presidential vacancy due to moral incapacity’, a diffuse and discredited figure, part of the worn out and in crisis institutions.” But in addition, “the coup-wing right seeks to appoint new members of the Constitutional Court to act as a lock to prevent (the creation of) the Constituent Assembly and other necessary changes (in the constitution) that were voted on at the polls as Castillo’s program and commitment.”

The alliance stated that “the right, which has communication monopolies as part of its weapons,” is using them “to show the same bias, aggressiveness and racism against the government that they showed against the popular candidate during the electoral contest.” It added that with this campaign “the economic and financial powers that speculate on the price of the dollar and food, are punishing the population in order to generate anxiety and feed the coup environment against the government.”

The group condemned that the right-wing forces “have the judicial and legal scaffolding in favor of the dominant and imperialist interests”, which they use to “execute strategies of criminalization of politics, lawfare, against anyone who represents a threat to the infinite appetite for accumulation of the mediocre Peruvian oligarchy.”

The platform pointed out that Béjar’s resignation “is a clear example of the coup in progress in its political and military facet and expresses the link between the right-wing parties with fascist sectors that deny the human rights violations that occurred in Peru in past decades.”

They added that that “the ongoing coup seeks to prevent, as a short-term objective, the regulations and controls on negotiated corruption and privileges.” It also said that the right is trying “to put Peru’s foreign policy back into the renunciation of sovereignty, under the diktats of the US imperialism, for interference and aggression against brother peoples of Our America.”

ALBA Movimientos emphasized that “the coup in Peru is not only against a government, it is against democracy and the people; it is against the sovereign integration of Our America and against the hopes of those without a voice.” It called for international solidarity and the active mobilization of the people, political and social organizations and all sectors of the Peruvian people to stop the attempts to depose the legitimate government of the Free Peru party. The union of regional organizations warned that they will not tolerate one more coup on the continent.

In the face of a new attack to replace Prime Minister Guido Bellido, yesterday, on August 23, the secretary general of the Peru Libre party Vladimir Cerrón called for a march in support of the cabinet chaired by Bellido and against “the coup, the vacancy and the imposition of a new roadmap.” Cerrón denounced that the calls to replace Bellido were made by a former justice minister, whose name he did not mention.

The mobilization will be held at Plaza San Martín in the capital Lima on August 26, the same day Bellido will present the cabinet to Congress for its approval in a vote of confidence.