Peru's president, Pedro Castillo, is facing another obstacle in what has been a never-ending crisis since he began his term in office a year ago. The difference is that this time the criticism is not coming from the opposition but from his own party, Perú Libre.
The party's secretary general, Vladimir Cerrón, has formally asked Castillo to resign his membership because he has broken "party unity" by promoting the registration of two parallel parties within the organisation. "The CEN, the Peru Libre bench and the Peru Libre Political Commission, after having evaluated the behaviour of José Pedro Castillo Terrones, extend an invitation for his irrevocable resignation, considering his current position as constitutional president of the Republic," Cerrón posted on his Twitter account.
Por acuerdo unánime del Partido, Comisión Política y Bancada. pic.twitter.com/0B8nxS9XjL— Vladimir Cerrón (@VLADIMIR_CERRON) June 29, 2022
Peru Libre has also assured that Pedro Castillo has skipped what he promised during his political campaign and also "the programme and ideology of the party, implementing the neoliberal losing programme". The party has maintained that they will continue to fight for the conquest of "a democratic, decentralist, inclusive, internationalist, humanist and fully sovereign country".
These internal clashes within the presidential party are compounded by the wave of protests sweeping Latin America over the rising cost of fuel. This demand, together with the reinstatement of freight transport as a public service and the regulation of tolls, are the spearhead of thousands of demonstrators who have protested in Lima and Callao, bringing the country's main roads to a standstill.
The violence of the protests has forced the government to declare a state of emergency for another 45 days to increase citizen security, which will be governed by strict control over the population.
"Peru is facing a political, economic and social crisis. That is why the transport union is raising its voice in protest because we can't stand it any longer. We are devastated by the country's economic problems," said Iván Valencia, leader of the Freight Transport Union. Teachers' and pensioners' unions have also joined the protests, calling on the government to increase salaries and pensions.
In this sense, the demonstrators are demanding that the government of Pedro Castillo find a solution that will materialise in order to agree to lift the indefinite strike. In the absence of government initiatives, the transport workers expect to hold another strike on Monday 4 July until Castillo responds to their demands.
In response to the transport strike, the Minister of the Interior, Dimitri Senmache, declared that the unions have the right to protest, but not to "keep the country in anxiety, to block roads and much less to threaten to burn vehicles". These statements were made by the minister before the Peruvian Congress on Thursday considered initiating a motion of censure against him. The reason for the initiative, which will be approved first thing in the morning, is because of his "serious functional responsibility" in the escape of the former Transport Minister, Juan Silva, who is wanted by the justice system for the alleged crime of criminal organisation.
Speaking to Peruvian radio station RPP, the Interior Minister expressed his position after hearing the news. "They will discuss and make the decision and I, as a citizen respectful of democracy, will abide by what they decide", announced Dimitri Senmache.
America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.