“Politicians are calling people demonstrating on the streets ‘terrorists’ for protesting for a new constitution,” Eliana Carlin, a Peruvian political scientist from Lima tells Behind the Headlines host, Lee Camp. Peru is currently in a state of crisis, after years of anti-austerity protests, the election of a humble teacher and union leader, Pedro Castillo, as president, and Castillo’s subsequent ouster in a constitutional coup in December.
Camp starts the conversation by asking Carlin to provide a brief history of President Alberto Fujimori and how his presidency impacted the current state of the country. A constant abuser of human rights, Fujimori was the dictator of Peru between 1990 and 2000. Carlin notes that his presidency created a political culture of corruption and impunity, which led to a lack of trust in the government. Fujimori is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for financial crimes.
The conversation then shifts to the recent political crisis in Peru. Carlin discusses President Martín Vizcarra’s impeachment and the subsequent protests led to the appointment of Manuel Merino, a little-known politician, as president. Merino’s presidency was short-lived as massive protests forced him to resign, and Francisco Sagasti became the interim president.
Carlin explains that the crisis in Peru is not new and has been brewing for years. She notes that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the country’s problems by exposing its social and economic inequalities. Peru’s healthcare system, which is chronically underfunded, struggled to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases. The pandemic also led to an economic recession, with millions of Peruvians losing their jobs.
Carlin also points out that Peru’s political parties are weak and lack credibility. She explains that many politicians in Peru are seen as corrupt, and this has eroded the public’s trust in the government. She claims that the current crisis presents an opportunity for Peru to address its deep-rooted issues and create meaningful change.
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of Behind The Headlines’ new series: The Most Censored News With Lee Camp. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.