Peru. According to COUNTRYAAH, Lima is the capital of Peru which is located in South America. Violent protests in late September against the copper mine Las Bambas in the Apurimac region led to the deaths of four protesters and 16 injured, after a couple of thousand protesters broke into the mining area and were met by tear gas. The protesters’ complaints were about lack of communication with the locals, who fear great ecological consequences of the project. A state of emergency was announced throughout the region and was not lifted until just over a month later. Also in the Arequipa region, riots broke out in connection with protests against another copper mine, Tía María, at the same time as the miners ‘union announced a nationwide strike in May in protest of new labor legislation that, according to the union, would impair miners’ rights and job protection.
President Humala was also hired on charges of corruption against his wife Nadine Heredia. According to the opposition, she would have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign grants from Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez during her husband’s failed election campaign in 2006 and faced interrogation by Congress. The fact that Justice Minister Gustavo Adrianzén first dismissed a prosecutor specializing in money laundering and the Heredia case, and then resigned in October himself was seen by the opposition as evidence that the charges are true. Heredia and Adrianzén both denied that there was any connection.
Dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Ana Jara led to threats of distrust in Congress. In early April, therefore, she resigned and was replaced by Pedro Cateriano, former Minister of Defense. Cateriano became the seventh prime minister during Humala’s presidential term, illustrating the country’s institutional instability and the difficult relations between the president and Congress.
However, the annual UN report on drugs and crime contained good news for Humala. According to it, illegal coca cultivation in Peru fell by 14% compared to 2014, and Humala declared that Peru is no longer the world’s leading coca producer thanks to successful measures by the government. The UN report found that almost half of the cocoa cultivation takes place in the so-called Vraem region where the old Maoist guerrilla Sendero Luminoso is still active.
Kuczynski’s polarization and pardon of Fujimori
At the 2016 presidential election, two right-wing candidates went on to the second round: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski from the election alliance ” Peruanos por el Kambio ” (PPK) and Keiko Fujimori from ” Fuerza Popular ” (FP). Under the current voting system, FP was granted with 36 percent of valid votes 73 of 130 seats in Congress, a clear political majority. Still, Kuczynski won the presidential election and became the country’s president in July 2016.
From the first moment there was a tension between the minority government and a congress where the political majority showed little willingness to cooperate. Congress opposed several bills and initiatives promoted by the government. The situation tightened towards the end of 2017, when Fuerza Popular filed a vacancia presidency against Kuczynski’s government on charges of corruption scandals surrounding the Brazilian giant Odebrecht. The attempt failed with unexpected support from several representatives of Fuerza Popular, including Kenji Fujimori who is the brother of Keiko Fujimori and son of Alberto Fujimori. Two days later, on Christmas Eve 2017, Kuczynski announced pardonby the incarcerated Alberto Fujimori on humanitarian grounds. Fujimori was released and reunited with his family.
The pardon of Fujimori further strengthened the existing political polarization in Peru. As Fujimori supporters backed arguments over the former president’s poor health, high age and contributions in the fight against Luminous Path, critics recalled the human rights violations and corruption he had been responsible for. Fuerza Popular was partially divided in the case, and the party’s leadership excluded those who contributed to Kuczynski’s political survival. The political turmoil that arose led to a new deposition proposal against Kuczynski’s government. The proposal never came to a vote when the president himself resigned the night before after it was revealed that he had offered project funding in exchange for support in congressional voting on the provision. Vice President Martin Vizcarra took over the presidential office on March 23, 2018.