Peru’s Challenge Runs Deeper Than the Current Crisis

Peru’s Challenge Runs Deeper Than the Current Crisis
Supporters of ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo protest his detention in Arequipa, Peru, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022 (AP Photo/Fredy Salcedo).

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.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.