Peru 2022 rallies

Article

May 22, 2022

Protests in Peru against inflation and President Pedro Castillo's government begin in March 2022. The protests come amid rising fertilizer and fuel prices due to Western sanctions against Russia following Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine, starting in the days after attempts to impeach President Castillo failed. Some of the larger protests were organized by Geovani Rafael Diez Villegas, leader of Peru's Union of Multimodal Transport Unions (UGTRANM) who previously collaborated in late 2021 with business executives and far-right politicians against Castillo's government. Its power is recognized to rival that of the government's Ministry of Transport and Communications. Diez Villegas is demanding the abolition of restrictions on bus passengers, pardons for transportation workers convicted of crimes, and negotiations for forgiveness of the transport entrepreneur's debt to the government. He then organized a general strike aimed at crippling transportation in Peru starting April 4, 2022 which resulted in protests, product shortages, transport stoppages, and riots. The Castillo government responded to the initial protests by suspending the 30% fuel tax, although the fuel companies refused to lower prices and protested. Following widespread unrest on April 4 after UGTRANM called for a general strike, President Castillo declared a one-month state of emergency, citing intelligence reports of planned violence, and imposed a curfew on the capital Lima which was later withdrawn. Unrest broke out nationwide on April 5, with thousands of people demonstrating in Lima and attempting to storm the Legislative Palace during Castillo's meeting with Congress. In addition, the office of the Supreme Court was also looted. On April 7, Castillo met with various protest leaders to find a solution to the situation, while that day Congress voted on a motion calling for Castillo's resignation, with 61 in favor, 43 against and 1 abstention. Background

COVID-19 pandemic in Peru

As a result of economic stagnation during the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, between ten and twenty percent of Peruvians fall below the poverty line in 2020, reversing a decade of poverty reduction in the country and resulting in a poverty rate of 30.1% that year. According to the Institute of Economics and Business Development (IEDEP) of the Lima Chamber of Commerce, the country's middle class has nearly halved from 43.6% in 2019 to 24% in 2020 due to the crisis. Following the global economic echo of Western-led sanctions against Russia due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine from February 2022, inflation in Peru rose sharply. In April 2022, Peru's inflation rate rose to its highest level in 26 years, creating greater hardship for an increasingly poor population.

Brotherhood of Pisco

According to Convoca, the leader of the Union of Multimodal Transport Guilds of Peru (UGTRANM), Geovani Rafael Diez Villegas, met with President Castillo in August 2021 on behalf of the National Society of Industries (SNI), an organization of manufacturing companies. Due to the power that Diez Villegas wields in Peru, he is described by El Comercio as the "parallel minister" of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC), with the newspaper writing that "[he] has decision-making power over the regulations issued by the MTC and has been running. through that ministry for three administrations as if it were his home". In September 2021, leaders of SNI, UGTRANM, political leaders and other business executives began to meet as the "Pisco Brotherhood" and plan various actions including funding a transport strike to destabilize Castillo's government and encourage his removal. In October 2021, the El Foco website released footage revealing a leaked WhatsApp group chat, with Bruno Alecc