Peruvians are angry at their country’s politicians. Since the impeachment of President Pedro Castillo on Dec. 7, protesters have been demanding “que se vayan todos,” which roughly translates to “get rid of them all.” In a December opinion poll, 83 percent of Peruvians favored advancing presidential and congressional elections, previously scheduled for 2026, to give them a chance to do so and elect a new president and new representatives.
Fortunately, on Dec. 20, Peru’s Congress recognized that the country’s democracy was in grave danger and agreed, moving elections up by two years to April 2024. Yet, the anger that fueled the protests cannot be quickly overcome. The political opportunism, polarization and fragmentation that have led to Peru having had six presidents since July 2016 will continue, meaning we might see more presidents come and go before April 2024.
The protests that have wracked Peru since Castillo’s impeachment—located primarily but not exclusively in Peru’s southern highlands, a remote and impoverished area with large numbers of Indigenous Peruvians—have been the country’s largest since the 1970s. As of mid-December, five regional airports had been closed, and 21 national highways, including the key Pan-American highway, had been blocked, threatening the supply of goods to Peru’s cities and stranding thousands of people. Stores were also looted by vandals in several cities.