Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Peru’s ‘Progressive’ President Sends the Police to Repress Popular Mobilizations

Protests against the rising cost of living have shaken Peru. The crisis demonstrates the dead end of “anti-neoliberal” figures like President Pedro Castillo and parties who try to administer the capitalist state.

Robert Belano

April 9, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Riot police and demonstrators clash during a protest in Lima on Tuesday against President Castillo.
Image: CNN

For over a week, mobilizations have shaken Peru in protest of rising cost of living, especially fuel costs that have hit the poor hardest. Already, police have shot four demonstrators dead. 

The so-called “progressive” government of Pedro Castillo attempted to rein in the demonstrations by issuing a state of emergency and mandatory curfew and sending the federal police force to repress demonstrators. Less than 24 hours later, Castillo was forced to withdraw the order in the face of massive opposition in the streets. 

Many protests are taking place in Peru’s poorest regions, paradoxically one of Castillo’s bastions of support during last year’s presidential campaign. In the interior of the country, truck drivers are protesting rising gas prices by paralyzing roads. They have been joined by agricultural workers who are demanding improvements in their working conditions. Thousands of poor peasants have also mobilized against the government’s policies favoring multinationals and large landholders. 

In the cities of Lima and Callao, protestors set up barricades in the streets and hurled rocks at police who attempted to break up the demonstrations. The main union confederation held a strike on Thursday, along with the teachers’ union.

Castillo took office on promises to end the neoliberal policies of previous governments. However, he has since moved rightward, appointing a number of conservative figures and business representatives to his government and promising to work alongside business leaders. The “land reform” he promised has failed to challenge big agriculture and break up large holdings.

Once again, the crisis in Peru demonstrates the dead end of “anti-neoliberal” figures and parties who try to administer the capitalist state. Faced with the discontent of the Peruvian people, Castillo has called upon the same repressive forces used for decades in Peru to protect business interests and discipline the poor and working class.

The outbreak of popular struggles in Peru recalls similar mobilizations against the supposedly progressive “Pink Tide” governments. The most visible of these was the struggle in Nicaragua beginning in 2018 sparked by the Ortega government’s proposed pension reforms. Ortega responded with a brutal crackdown that left as many as 500 dead. 

Despite his insistence on cooperation with the conservative politicians, Castillo has failed to earn much favor among the right wing. The Right continues to demand Castillo’s resignation, expressing pessimism about the president’s ability to assuage popular discontent. Far from confronting this conservative onslaught, the government and the sectors of the reformist left that support Castillo have chosen to lean more and more to the right and let the reactionary sectors go, all in order to maintain their positions in government. 

Facebook Twitter Share

Robert Belano

Robert Belano is a writer and editor for Left Voice. He lives in the Washington, DC area.

Latin America

Alfredo Cisneros, Mexican land defender from Michoacán, stands in a forest. He is the fifth land defender to be murdered in the country in 2023.

Alfredo Cisneros: Fifth Mexican Environmentalist Assassinated in 2023

Alfredo Cisneros Madrigal, indigenous leader and forest defender in Michoacán, Mexico was murdered on February 23. He is the fifth environmental defender to be murdered in the country so far this year.

Axomalli Villanueva

March 13, 2023

Lula Visits Biden to Repair Relations with U.S. Imperialism

Brazilian President Lula's U.S. visit shows that he's focused on maintaining the interests of Brazilian capital while aligning with U.S. imperialism and being careful not to alienate Beijing.

Caio Reis

February 16, 2023

SOUTHCOM Chief Aims to Increase Imperialist Plunder of Latin America’s Resources

U.S. Southern Command Chief Laura Richardson has expressed interest in lithium and other natural resources in South America. It shows the country’s commitment to corporate profits at the expense of workers, Indigenous people, and the environment.

Luigi Morris

January 26, 2023

The Peruvian Uprising: Massive Protests Demand the Fall of the Coup Regime and a Constituent Assembly

Peru has erupted in a massive uprising demanding that President Dina Boluarte resign, that the current Congress be shut down, and that a new constitution be established. The protests are the culmination of years of political oppression of the country’s indigenous communities, drastic poverty rates and precarity for Peru’s workers and poor, and a political regime that continues the legacy of Alberto Fujimori’s dictatorship.


Protesters gather during a demonstration on Place de la Concorde in Paris on March 17, 2023, the day after the French government pushed a pensions reform using the article 49.3 of the constitution. - French President's government on March 17, 2023 faced no-confidence motions in parliament and intensified protests after imposing a contentious pension reform without a vote in the lower house. Across France, fresh protests erupted in the latest show of popular opposition to the bill since mid-January.

Battle of the Pensions: Toward a Pre-Revolutionary Moment in France

President Macron's use of article 49.3 to push through an unpopular pension reform bill has opened up an enormous political crisis that has changed the character of the mobilizations against the French government. We are entering a "pre-revolutionary moment" that can change the balance of power between the classes in France.

Juan Chingo

March 21, 2023

20 Years Since the U.S. Invasion of Iraq: A Reflection from a Socialist in the Heart of Imperialism

A Left Voice member and anti-war activist reflects on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and how he learned to hate U.S. imperialism.

Sam Carliner

March 20, 2023

It is Possible to Win: The Pension Reform Crisis in France

A French socialist reflects on the way forward after Macron invites Article 49.3 to pass pension reform.

Paul Morao

March 20, 2023

“We are your economy”: Trans Youth Walkout and Speak Out

The following is a speech by a young trans person as part of an action called for by NYC Youth for Trans Rights.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

March 20, 2023