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  • In 5 days, 1 president removed and 1 president resigned
  • Congress currently electing the next president
  • 2 dead, 47 missing and 94 injured in protests across the country
I realize that internationally there is very little coverage about what happens politically in Peru, but since a few have asked, I wanted to share as concisely as possible what is happening right now. I am going to try to be as concise as possible and avoid entering too much into opinion.
 
First for context, Peru has five-year terms for president and a president can serve as many times as they are elected, but they cannot serve consecutive terms. Since 1985, Peru has elected six presidents and now has had two, soon to be three, un-elected presidents. Every one of these six elected presidents has been involved in some sort of scandal and most have faced charges and/or spent time in jail; one sadly even took his life in 2019 rather than face the charges. Most of the corruption relates to the now infamous Brazilian company Odebrecht (see Netflix documentary 'The Mechanism' for more on this) but is certainly not limited to them alone. Thus, the consensus in Peru is that all politicians are corrupt, which has led to a common phrase, “They are a thief but they get stuff done". So, with that in mind, here is what has been happening in the past week.
 
On 10 Nov 2020, the Peruvian congress voted to impeach President Martín Vizcarra. Vizcarra took office after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) resigned, rather than face impeachment in March of 2018. PPK was facing charges related to corruption connected to Odebrecht. Throughout his tenure, Vizcarra remained independent from political parties, promoted reforms against corruption in the legislative and judicial branches and vowed to not run for president when his term ends in 2021. Following what he described as a "factual denial of confidence" against his government, Vizcarra dissolved the Peruvian Congress on 30 Sep 2019, and on the same day, issued a decree for legislative elections. The snap-election for a new congress was held on 26 Jan 2020, with the legislature elected becoming opposition-led once again.
 
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Peru, Vizcarra instituted stay-at-home orders and issued relief funds, but existing inequality, overcrowding and a largely informal economy saw Peru being heavily affected by the pandemic. As a result, Peru's gross domestic product declined thirty percent, increasing political pressure on Vizcarra's government. In Sep 2020, Congress opened impeachment proceedings against Vizcarra on grounds of "moral incapacity", accusing him of influence peddling after audio recordings were released by an opposition legislator, but the process did not receive enough votes to remove him from office.
On 9 Nov 2020, the congress impeached Vizcarra a second time, after declaring him "morally incompetent"; he was removed from office. The President of Congress, Manuel Merino, succeeded him as President of Peru the following day.
 
Vizcarra's removal from office was seen as a coup by many Peruvians, political analysts and media outlets in the country, resulting in the beginning of the 2020 Peruvian protests. (the previous three paragraphs are largely taken from Wikipedia, with a few of my own additions) Most did not doubt the likelihood that even Vizcarra who was seemingly fighting against corruption could also be corrupt, but did not agree with the approach that was taken by Congress in order to impeach, as well as the timing of his removal. My understanding is that the article they used from their constitution as their basis was intended to be used for when a president is unable to fulfill the office due to illness or some other issue, similar to the U.S. 25th amendment, but in this case they were trying to justify his removal based on being morally incapable; few seem to doubt that he or any politician is likely morally incapable. It seems that the constitution is rather restrictive in the acts that allow for removing a president and most experts don’t believe this would qualify.
 
In the five days since Vizcarra was removed, and Manuel Merino was installed as president, the country has united in protest against the congress which is largely viewed to have overstepped their authority to protect themselves from anti-corruption efforts. Protests have taken place in a united effort across the country in forms of marching as well coordinated times of banging pots out their windows. During these protests, which were mostly young people and organized organically via Tik Tok and Instagram, unfortunately two young men were killed and 47 people are missing. Following their deaths, the calls for Merino to resign grew stronger; 13 of his 18 cabinet members resigned this morning and a little after noon Merino has now also resigned. To be honest, I am not even sure if there is a clear Constitutional answer to who is now going to be President, but I am sure we will find out soon.
 
In the U.S. we take a lot for granted, and one of the quotes I read spoke a lot to that; translated the quote said, “these actions by congress ended 20 years of continual democracy” (bold for emphasis). According to ourworldindata.org, the U.S. has the longest standing continual democracy with over 221 years, the average in South America is just 30 years, and Peru just 20 years. Please pray for Peru; after being one of the hardest-hit countries in the world by COVID this political turmoil is leaving many very unsure what the future holds. For us as believers, we know that our sovereign God is in control of all things, but many here don’t have this hope. Pray for revival, pray for a generation of God-fearing leaders, pray for the people of Peru.
What are we doing in Peru?

Our hope is to see gospel ministry increase & be sustained locally by locals!
We are offering them the following:
  • Group training of basic business concepts grounded in a Biblical approach
  • Community groups for savings and loans that share a weekly Bible teaching
  • One-on-one consulting for small business owners to improve their business or form a business plan
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