Social mobilizations continue increasing in Peru, after several weeks of continuous protests, strikes, rallies, road blockades and marches in towns, cities and mining or industrial centers. Streets and squares are being shut down while thousands of people walk out yelling their complaints against President Alan Garcia’s policies on public education, economy, corruption and neo liberal economic policies, including the widely unpopular Free Trade Agreement with the U.S.
As a response, the government of Lima has replied with insults to union leaders and little concern about the popular requests. Instead they have sent police forces to repress the protests. Hundreds of workers, students and teachers are being wounded and placed in jail. Only yesterday three main leaders of the national teachers union (SUTEP) were placed in detention overnight, and although they were freed today they are accused with charges that can bring them to prison for up to 8 years. Also former congressman Javier Diez Canseco has been detained.
Meanwhile Peruvian President Garcia has signed a new legislation that regulates public education and allows the government to fire teachers who don’t pass special evaluations. Garcia appeared with his Education minister Antonio Chang (who met with US envoy John Negroponte few weeks ago) to sign this new law, the same day when teachers were out protesting in a national strike.
According to independent media, over 30 mil Peruvians took it to the streets of Lima yesterday, in a rally that concluded in one the city’s main squares. The main opposition leader Ollanta Humala was one of the speakers and he called for a united social movement of workers, social organizations and political parties to continue the fight for a new Constitution, for the renegotiation of the US-Peru FTA and the review of mining contracts with foreign companies.
The response of the Peruvian government has been of neglect, arrogance, repression and violence. President Garcia has insulted teachers and workers who were protesting calling them names and accusing them of being Communists and of using funds provided by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
There is a huge discontent among Peruvian citizens against their current government but Peru’s media (based mostly in Lima) has ignored this social crisis intentionally. Most of newspapers and TV stations are calling the protesters adjectives as “rebels, anti-socials, violent mobs, terrorists, etc.”
The response of the Garcia administration will assure the worsening of violence and social unrest in the Andean nation. This instability confirms that broken social and economic policies make poor countries as Peru, even more unfair nations where the rich is getting richer while the vast majority of people are suffering the consequences of the lack of social provisions that can protect the sectors that have been exploited for centuries.
It is not a coincidence that Latin America is the most unjust region in the planet, and while social violence rises, official data supported by international banks and multinational corporations are still promoting a perfect image of optimistic data that shows an apparent economic boom in Peru, while most Peruvians are still living in poverty.
VIDEOS: REPRESSSION OF PERUVIAN TEACHERS BY THE POLICE
(1:37 minutes) In these 2 videos one can see how teachers and union leaders are detained violently by Peruvian police forces. The protesters were walking peacefully in the streets. This is another example of "Divide and conquer": Indigenous peoples fighting against Indigenous peoples.
SOLIDARITY WITH PERUVIAN TEACHERS (In Spanish)