Some Peruvians may be fucking around, alright, but most Peruvians are not fucking around, lemme tell ya. (So if you’re coming my way, just don’t. And do not get it twisted.)
Early this evening, Peru, my birth country, swore in its third president in a week, a man named Francisco Sagasti. (I don’t know her.)
I have now lived in the United States of America more than half my life, and here is where I am, but I keep up. I check El Comercio online on the daily. I am informed. I keep in touch with family and friends.
Up until Nov. 9, Martín Vizcarra, a competent man, looking at it from San Francisco…a centrist, I understand, was president of Peru. He was impeached on corruption charges, which is curious because his whole thing was the dismantling of the systemic corruption that has plagued Peru 20 years into the new century, in spite of the best efforts. And, again…looking at it from here, the guy was generally pro-the people of Peru. I dunno. Yeah, his pandemic response was strict, but had it not been, then, perhaps, more of my family and friends would have death-by-COVID stories to tell. I am grateful Peru had an empathetic human being leading the science-based response to a global public-health crisis that is ongoing, someone who walked and chewed gum as he worked to keep the lights on while encouraging solidarity among Peruvians. Anyway, Vizcarra was impeached by the Congreso de la República, and the man who led the charge, Manuel Merino, then became president of Peru on Nov. 10, pledging to upheld the elections that Vizcarra already had called for April 11, 2021, and for which he would not be running.
Mi gente did not like Merino’s move. I mean, from where I sat this past fortnight (OMG, no sooner were we done with the elections here…), Merino executed a most polite coup. And get this: When the cookie crumbled, Vizcarra didn’t lose his shit or started to burn down the barn with everyone still in it (’cause of COVID). He accepted the outcome of the congressional vote that led to his exit with exemplary dignity and grace. And I think that’s might be it from him until investigations into the allegations against him yield conclusions.
But back to the Peruvian people, because this is about them.
Peruvians rose. They took to the streets to voice and demonstrate their indignation, their discontent, their bravery, their unity, their power. It’s been inspiring and reassuring to witness the resolve of my brothers and sisters. Loved, did not love, but loved to see an image on Instagram, of a trans woman at the front lines, their sign saying as much, and lamenting their country does not similarly fight for them. (Vive la vida all day long, Peru – pero, carajo, deja que el mundo viva la suya también.)
Peruvians marched, and, quelle surprise, the fucking Policía Nacional did what it always does best, which is to make everything worse (we can unpack that one another time). People got hurt. People – kids – died. Q.E.P.D. Jack Bryan Pintado Sánchez. Q.E.P.D. Jordan Inti Sotelo Camargo. Some people are missing (a little bit of history repeating there, unfortch).
Peruvians defended democracy, and Merino resigned on Nov. 15.
I look forward to seeing how Francisco Sagasti shall fare. I understand he opposed the impeachment of Vizcarra, so that’s encouraging, no?
One thing is clear: It’s not that people of Peru got to have a seat at the table, it’s that Peru is their table, and they are tired of politicians shitting all over it. The young’uns are particularly over it, and good for them for getting together, in formation, and out there on the streets where they could make a difference. Which they did. Kudos all around.
Weird Silver Lining Alert! Glad the bar is not that low down in Peru
yet that none of these men ever stoked the fires for their own gain, avoiding further deaths. But a lot of college students are still missing, and that is unacceptable, so we are gonna need some accountability for the litany and malfeasances and violent malices for far too long visited upon the people of Peru by corrupt officials and the popo (tombos coimeros, conchesus) beginning with each and every single instance from these marchas.
Three presidents in a week is beyond-nutty (the sitch is crazy), but Peru is in good hands so long as Peruvians continue to help themselves and one another with their own two hands. The times of raiding the cookie jar are over. A new democracy is dawning in South America.
Be warned and beware: This is Peru after the Fujimori ’90s. Look him up; he’s kinda like our Trump (complete with his own version of Ivanka). Be warned and beware but also be inspired. Democracies work when we get involved.
We are gonna get it together. We already are. Somos libres.