U.S Troops in Peru – Reinforcing the Government Against the People

Peruvian military helicopter. Image source: Sergio de la Puente via Wikimedia Commons

This June, the U.S. government began sending troops to the South American country of Peru to reinforce the government and train the armed forces. The Peruvian government, with a 6% approval rating, has faced months of major mobilizations, with another massive protest planned for July 19.

The government of Dina Boularte came to power in December, when the sitting president, Pedro Castillo, was removed by a majority vote of Congress. This move by the government unleashed a huge reaction on the part of the population. Massive demonstrations shook Peru’s capital, Lima, throughout December and January. The move to oust Castillo was felt as an insult by the indigenous and rural populations of Peru. Though Castillo’s government had failed to deliver on its message to end poverty and limit the power of international corporations, Castillo is of indigenous descent, from rural Cajamarca. His removal called into question the legitimacy of the government because behind Boularte’s presidency, the outright representatives of Lima’s wealthy elite have seized the power. The repression of the demonstrations was brutal, with 65 people killed, including children, and 912 wounded.

In power, the Boularte regime has carried out attacks on workers and the environment while protecting the police from prosecution. Congress extended the age of retirement in Peru from age 70 to 75. Meanwhile, Peru’s lithium supply, an essential component of electric vehicles, has been opened up to further exploitation by international corporations. At the same time, in spite of its unpopularity, Congress has refused to hold early elections.

The presence of U.S. troops can only mean one thing – the government is toughening up its military to protect itself against another upsurge by the population. Even if the U.S. troops are only engaging in training exercises, the message is clear – the U.S. military is ready to reinforce the Peruvian government, along with the international system of exploitation that is crushing the Peruvian people.