Machu Picchu is Not For Sale!

The people of Cusco, Peru, site of the historical Inca city of Machu Picchu, have risen up against the government’s plans to privatize the site’s administration. The unelected government of Dina Boluarte, which came to power last year by impeaching former president Pedro Castillo, has decided to hand control of Machu Picchu ticket sales to the company Joinnus, a subsidiary of Citibank. The hands of international capital are reaching deeper into Peru with the help of the Boularte government. But the people of Machu Picchu say “No!”

The privatization is not the only grievance of the people. Last year, a massive popular mobilization confronted the Boularte government after its seizure of power from Castillo. It was much more than a defense of Castillo, whose government had done nothing to help the poor and working-class majority of Peru. The people mobilized in the hundreds of thousands against the corrupt system in general, run from Lima by rich, white Peruvians, who look down on the indigenous majority. More than 70 people were killed by police and military in that mobilization.

This popular mobilization against privatization is supported by the local government, unions, farmers and indigenous associations, but the movement comes from the grassroots. The movement is organized by a massive popular assembly where people gather their forces and plan ways to shut down and block the tourist site. So far it has worked. Machu Picchu remains closed, losing the government and its corporate constituents millions of dollars.

International capitalism sees no limits to its need for profit. The governments of the world are tools to extend and diversify the means of exploiting people and the planet. But as the people of Machu Picchu have demonstrated, we can push back by organizing our own forces and fighting for what we need. It’s the only real power in our hands, and if we use it, together we can shut down the source of their profits.