The presidential election arrives during one of the tumultuous years since the end of Peru's guerra interna. Late last year, massive protests erupted across the country against the removal of former president Martín Vizcarra and widespread distrust of the political system. In an uprising that rocked the nation and shocked the world, the presidency changed hands three times in only one week.
Now, the people of Peru are preparing for a vote to write a new chapter in their country's history. From peasant organizations in the countryside to student movements in cities, Peruvians are protesting in the streets to bury the legacy of the Fujimori dictatorship with a new constitution for Peru, inspired by the experience of their next-door neighbors in Chile.
But powerful forces are organizing against them. Just this month, Peruvian elites openly contemplated the potential for a military coup to prevent progressive reforms. In parallel, the far-right has called for the death of leading presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, and outright bans on parties that threaten the status quo from the left.
That is why the Progressive International is dispatching an observer delegation to Peru: to resist these efforts and intimidation and to stand with the people of Peru in their pursuit of popular sovereignty.
Convening progressive forces from across the Americas — including parliamentarians from Ecuador and Chile, trade union leaders from Argentina, and independent analysts from the United States — we answer the urgent calls of all Peruvians warning of grave threats to the democratic process.
These threats are not only domestic. Under the leadership of Luis Almagro — guilty of fomenting a violent coup against Evo Morales and the MAS in November 2019 — the Organization of American States (OAS) endangers the electoral process in every country where it is present.
In Bolivia, Ecuador, and now Peru, the Progressive International has developed an alternative electoral observatory to confront the OAS and defend the integrity of the democratic process against emboldened forces of reaction and empire.
Our observatory does more than verify votes and monitor irregularities in the electoral process. We are also mobilizing to defend democracy against (i) media beholden to the interests of the ruling class, (ii) scandalous tactics of legal warfare, and (ii) outright violence to seize power.
That is why material, international solidarity is essential. The presence of progressive forces on the ground — and the scrutiny of their allies around the world — is a critical bulwark against authoritarianism in countries like Peru.
But the stakes of this election extend far beyond Peru itself. The presidential election on 6 June will set the stage for a pivotal sequence of elections in the region: from Chile, Colombia, and Brazil.
We set off for Lima with the commitment to defend the Peruvian democratic process in this decisive moment, but with our eyes to the horizon of true popular sovereignty — in Peru, across the region, and around the world.
Photo: Samantha Hare / Flickr
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