Peru: Thousands of tourists evacuated

Thousands of tourists have been stranded in the Peruvian city of Cusco due to the protests. Now they can be transported by air.

After increasingly violent protests, Peru’s tourism ministry has pulled thousands of stranded tourists out of Cusco, which is the starting point for tours to the famous Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. “I am in Cusco supervising the evacuation after the reopening of the airport today,” the Peruvian news agency Andina quoted Tourism Minister Luis Fernando Helguero as saying on Friday evening (local time).

The background to the protests is the dismissal of leftist President Pedro Castillo a week and a half ago. Hilgero said up to 4,500 stranded tourists and others who had to go to the capital, Lima, had already been relocated.

Putting tourists in Machu Picchu is much more difficult

“I think that on Saturday, Sunday at the latest, all the stranded tourists will leave.” The situation for tourists in Machu Picchu is more difficult, Helgero said, because the train route was also damaged. A large group of tourists had to walk 29 kilometers to reach the next town.

The ruins of Machu Picchu are one of the most important tourist attractions in South America, and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. The city was built by the Incas in the 15th century and receives thousands of visitors daily. The main access is from Cusco. Train service to Machu Picchu was suspended on Tuesday for security reasons due to the protests. Operations at the airport have also been suspended.

Bulwart refuses to resign

And in the region south of the Andes, considered a stronghold of former President Castillo and his supporters, recent days have seen roadblocks and sometimes violent protests, along with clashes between protesters and police. But in Lima and other cities, too, thousands of people have demanded the resignation of Castillo’s successor Dina Poluarte, the closure of parliament, early new elections and the release of the former president from custody.

However, Boulwart, who took office only a week and a half ago, refuses to resign. In a televised address on Saturday, Boulwart declared he was “determined” to stay in office. She again appealed to Parliament to call early elections. However, a similar bill failed in the conservative-leaning Congress.

Two ministers resign

Castillo was impeached by Parliament about a week ago. He had previously tried to dissolve parliament, contrary to the provisions of the constitution, to thwart impeachment proceedings. Due to the unrest, two ministers in the Boulwart government tendered their resignations. “I submitted my resignation this morning. There is no justification for the deaths of citizens,” Education Secretary Patricia Correa said on Twitter.

The government has declared a state of emergency for 30 days, allowing soldiers to assist police in maintaining public safety and restricting civil liberties. The Office of the Ombudsman said at least 17 people were killed in the clashes.

Castillo was elected head of state in July 2021 as a political outsider. Since then, the left-wing politician has been in a constant power struggle with the conservative-dominated Congress, which eventually ousted him for “moral incompetence.” After Castillo’s dismissal, Boulwart, his former vice president, was sworn in as the new president.


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