Peru. Social unrest was also felt in Peru this year. At the end of April, the corruption-accused mayor in the provincial capital Ilave in Puno was lynched by an angry crowd. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Peru is 32,971,865 people in 2020. The incident forced Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi’s resignation and was followed by a month of continued unrest and protests in the area. The turbulence was said to be fueled by some Bolivian Indian leader Felipe Quispe, who rhetorically talked about creating a new ethnic state that would unite all Aymara Indians in both countries.
Even in Ayacucho, degenerate demonstrations organized by teachers for the riots and occupation of public buildings. The government here accused the old guerrilla organizations Sendero Luminoso and MRTA (Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru) of infiltrating the teachers’ unions and of the universities. However, most people believe that these have put down the armed struggle and are instead focusing on reorganization.
The social protests and strikes show that President Alejandro Toledo’s position, despite a relatively good national economic development, has weakened. According to opinion polls, he was supported by less than 10% of the population.
In April 2009, the Supreme Court of Peru handed down a unanimous verdict on former President Alberto Fujimori. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity. The court found Fujimori an accomplice in the execution of 15 people in Barrios Altos district of Lima in November 1991, the abduction and murder of 9 students and a teacher from La Cantuta University of Lima in July 1992, as well as two abductions. In a lawsuit 1 year earlier, General Julio Salazar Monroe had been sentenced to 35 years in prison for ordering La Cantuta murders. He was head of the intelligence service under Fujimori. By the end of 2009, 13 members of the Colina group had been convicted of the Cantuta and Barrios Altos murders. The Colina group was a death patrol operating under the Peruvian state in the early 1990’s.
A number of other investigations and litigation regarding the state’s human rights violations ran into more serious difficulties because they were sabotaged by both the military and the Alan Garcia government. Officers stated that the human rights cases undermined the military’s morale, and in October 2009, Secretary of Defense Rafael Rey declared that the police and military had not committed crimes against humanity as they did not murder for religious, racial, political or ideological reasons. Alan Garcia also questioned the legitimacy of the lawsuits. The consequence was that only a few of the guilty were convicted of their crimes, while others already convicted were released.
Also in April, Peru signed a free trade agreement with China, and in a few years China became Peru’s largest trading partner.
In June 2009, 23 civilians and 10 policemen were killed during violent clashes in Utcubamba and Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon. The backdrop was indigenous people’s blockades of roads in protest of state development initiatives. The 23 protesters were killed when police shot in sharply among the protesters. The 10 policemen were killed by protesters, after only being captured while guarding an oil pipeline. The events led to Prime Minister Simon’s departure.
Torture continues to be widespread in the country. In the period 2003-08, 502 cases of torture were reported. Moreover, the government and the military are increasingly hitting human rights activists.
In 2010, Alan Garcia government issued Decree Law 1095, leaving the investigation and sentencing of soldiers in civilian assault cases to the military courts. The decree was sharply criticized by national and international human rights organizations. Yet in 2013, the Constitutional Court had not ruled on whether the decree was unconstitutional.
Ollanta Humala won the first round of the presidential election in April 2011 with 31.7% of the vote against Keiko Fujimori’s 23.6%. At the second round of elections in June, Humala gained 51.4% against Fujimori’s 48.6%. Fujimori was the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who sat in jail and was the right-wing candidate. Humala’s Gana Perú received 47 of the seats in the Congress against 37 for Fujimori’s Fuerza 2011. Apra had to settle for 4 seats.
Humala won the lead of a center-left alliance and has close ties to Latin America’s more leftist countries. The expectations of him from the poor and indigenous people are therefore high. They paid a high price during Alan Garcia’s water and mining projects. However, there is no indication that Humala is able to meet expectations. From his tenure to September 2013, 27 Peruvians were killed during protests against the government.
The armed conflict is not over yet. In 2012 alone, 30 soldiers were killed during clashes with remains of the Luminous Path. In February, however, the military succeeded in capturing the Luminous Path’s leader, Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala.