Saturday, December 12, 2020

Peru Protests

 Receiving less attention than the widespread farmers strikes and protests in India is the similar campaign being carried out in Peru, by its farming communities.

Farm workers in various regions of Peru- such as Ica, Viru La Libertad and Piurahad – went on a strike in the first week of December, 2020, blocking the strategic Pan-American motorway to demand wage increases, basic social security benefits and the repeal of the Agrarian Promotion Law, enacted in 2000,  a mechanism which maintains the power of corporations in the agro-export sector. 

 The law authorizes the hiring of personnel for the agricultural industry through intermediary companies. These third-party contractors avoid statutory labor regulations and pay workers extremely low wages.

Farm workers complain they are paid about $10 for a 12-14 hour workday. They also don’t receive benefits given to other workers, including annual bonuses and vacations.

This law was extended until 2031 by the government of Martín Vizcarra and strikes ensued this decision, with the state deploying police violence to quell mass protests.   the police showed all their violent methods against peaceful protesters. They excessively used tear gas bombs, shot pellets into peoples’  directly at faces and clubbed people with batons. The police had free rein with no restrictions or regulations on their violence since the government supported them, so they also began arbitrary arrests of anyone who was participating or contributing to the protest. On December 3, 2020, Peru’s National Police officers shot dead young farmer Jorge Muñoz during a peaceful protest called by farmworkers in Viru city.  During earlier protests Bryan Pintado and Inti Sotelo died at the hands of the Peruvian police and then on Nov. 14, the police shot Brian Pintado Sanchez, who died immediately by bullet wounds to his head, face, neck, arm and thorax. Manuel Merino resigned from the government.  Francisco Sagasti was appointed as interim president of Peru

President Francisco Sagasti sent a bill to congress to repeal the law and it passed by a vote of 114 in favor, two against and seven abstentions.

The protesters expressed joy and immediately began lifting the blockades that had choked many stretches of the north-south Pan-American Highway. “We did it!” protesters chanted. However, the anger and discontent has not disappeared. The parliamentary and constitutional situation remains unstable'

Building workers and miners have now marched through the streets of Peru's capital, Lima, to demand various labor improvements including an increase in their salaries.

Cracks Appear in Peru's Neoliberal Agriculture | Dissident Voice

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