Demonstrators protest to demand Peru's President Boluarte to step down, in Lima
Police: Peru Ambassador Intruder Appears To Be ‘Isolated Incident’ Photo by: Reuters/Pilar Olivares

A group of House Democrats urged the Biden administration to halt all security assistance to Peru. This latest development came following what they perceived as a “pattern of repression” of protest against the country’s new government. More than 50 people have been killed during the anti-government protests, with another death occurring recently after a clash between law enforcement and demonstrators.

The Associated Press received a copy of a letter on Monday that urged the Biden administration to cease sending security assistance to Peru. It said the assistance would resume if the end of the crackdowns could be confirmed, and those responsible for human rights violations were held accountable.

Around $40 million in security assistance are annually provided to Peru by the U.S. The majority of the money was aimed at helping Peru’s anti-drug trafficking operations.

This week, Peru’s foreign minister was in Washington and sought international support for President Dina Boluarte, whose government is currently under siege by its people. Boluarte, formerly Peru’s VP, ascended to the presidency after her predecessor President Pedro Castillo was impeached and arrested when he attempted to close Peru’s congress.

The letter also stated that security forces have indiscriminately responded with almost no regard for protesters’ human rights. Some 20 and mostly progressive House Democrats signed the letter which also stated the Boluarte government was substantially increasing tensions rather than working to de-escalate them. Protesters were classified as terrorists and the government limited the citizens’ right of movement.

The initial protests demanded the release of the former president from jail, but the unrest soon spread across the nation. It garnered the support of many of the country’s poor and indigenous population who have benefitted little from Peru’s mining-driven economic boom. They then demanded that Boluarte and Congress stand down and hold new elections this year. That was shortly dismissed on Friday and then reconsidered after another protester had died.

Víctor Santisteban Yacsavilca, 55, suffered a severe head injury during one of the clashes with law enforcement in downtown Lima on Saturday, Peru’s ombudsman said. This recent death tallied the total to 58, including a police officer. Protesters have descended upon the country’s capital this month to expand their demonstrations, which mostly took place in the nation’s southern area.

Since Peru's Congress impeached then-president Pedro Castillo after he tried to dissolve the legislature, protesters and police have clashed across the South American country, such as in this altercation in Lima on December 8, 2022. AFP / Ernesto BENAVIDES

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