Sister Mila Díaz Solano, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield’s leadership team, provided an update for the sisters and associates on the difficult situation in Peru, her home nation and a place of ministry for the congregation since 1965.
“As of today (December 14), seven people have died due to the demonstrations and more than a hundred have been injured,” she wrote, saying that in 14 of Peru’s 25 regions people have blocked the highways in protest of what amounts to a ‘self-coup’ by former President Castillo followed by an impeachment of the president by Congress and his arrest and removal.
Among the demands of the people are the following:
- A constituent assembly representative of Peru’s diverse population. Demonstrators do not see that Congress represents the will of the people. The Congress has impeached President Castillo and installed the new president, his former vice-president Dina Boluarte. The majority of the Congress has been against Pedro Castillo from the beginning of his term.
- New elections. The Congress and President Dina Boluarte have stated that Presidential and Congress elections will be in 2024. The citizens are crying out to have elections at the beginning of the new year.
- The freedom of former President Castillo. He is imprisoned and going to be processed for rebellion.
“Unfortunately, demonstrations reflect the anger of the people who reject the political class,” Sister Mila said. “Leaders from native communities in the Amazon, from unions, and from associations of civil society have marched to Lima. Demonstrations have been portrayed as violent by the government, but is not entirely true.
“The Ministry of Defense announced a state of emergency this morning for 30 days. This means, the citizens’ right to gather has been suspended, the police and army are empowered to provide security and assure mobility throughout the country, and classes have been suspended in all schools of the State,” Sister Mila wrote in her email to the sisters.
“There is so much unrest. Thank you for your continual prayers.”
Six Springfield Dominican Sisters and two women seeking membership in the community currently live in Peru. While they have concern for the democracy of their country, they report that they are all safe for the moment.