Peru: President Vizcarra Ousted, Mass Protests Erupt

Cover photo by Ernesto Benavides for AFP via Getty Images

By Robin Fontaine and Jakob Stein

On November 9, the Peruvian congress impeached President Martín Vizcarra for “moral incapacity,” accusing him of receiving more than $600,000 in bribes from a construction project when he was governor of Moquegua. The next day, Manuel Merino, President of Congress, assumed the office before resigning just five days later due to mass protests.

In his short term as interim president, Merino appointed extreme reactionaries at the head of his government, such as Ántero Flores-Aráoz, who oversaw the police killing of 34 indigenous protesters in 2009.

Protests erupted across the country in the wake of Vizcarra’s impeachment, with demonstrations lasting six consecutive days. In the capital city of Lima, police shot tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters, killing two young men, Jack Pintado, 22, and Jordan Sotelo, 24. Additionally, over 40 protesters have been disappeared and at least 100 have been injured.

The impeachment of Vizcarra and the subsequent political chaos is just another symptom of the deepening crisis of bureaucratic capitalism being seen across the world, especially in Latin America. Both factions of the big bourgeois ruling class, the bureaucrat bourgeoisie and comprador bourgeoisie, are contending for political power in whatever way possible, including attempts to manipulate popular discontent in favor of propping up one land-selling imperialist lackey over the other.

At the end of the day, it is the interests of US imperialism which dictated Vizcarra’s impeachment. Although Vizcarra is not an anti-imperialist by any measure, Merino served as a preferable representative of US imperialism in the region. Now that demonstrations have disrupted this transition in power, the ‘centrist’ Francisco Sagast has been put forward as a ‘consensus candidate’ in an attempt to restore some semblance of order and end the protests.

All the electoral parties, whether ‘left,’ right, or center, can only serve the imperialists and their lackeys. They are united in their desire to exploit and oppress the people, to cozy up to imperialists, and to fight the ongoing People’s War—they only differ in their methods. Even the revisionists of Movadef have called for a new Constituent Assembly, another tactic to rehabilitate the image of the reactionary Old State.

While mass demonstrations can force concessions from the government, they cannot end the misery of the old system of bureaucratic capitalism, and especially if they are in support of one ruling class party over another, they can only serve to prolong it.

None of the desperate efforts of the big bourgeoisie have been able to resolve the internal contradictions in Peru which make life unbearable for the people. Only the blood shed by the people and the revolutionaries in the peoples war for new democratic revolution led by the proletarian vanguard can establish a New Peru.