By: Ceclia Williams
Peru is in a state of outrage after former President Martín Vizcarra was impeached among unproven allegations that he was receiving bribes (up to 2.3 million soles or $640,000 USD) in exchange for government contracts. Vizcarra denied these allegations, but to no consequence as he was unexpectedly voted, and forced out of power on Monday, Nov. 9. He followed the announcement by claiming he would leave the presidential palace and return home in peace.
Manuel Merino, former congress head and member of the center-right Popular Action party, immediately stepped up as interim president and selected his cabinet, but this action, as well as the impeachment, caused riots in the streets. Days later, nationwide fury over 100 hospitalizations and 2 deaths amid the protests forced Merino to step down on Sunday and make way for congress to vote on a new interim President.
Meanwhile, the Peruvian people are claiming police brutality and arguing to have a voice following the intense week regarding their governments shaky legs. As well as the civilian injury and death count, at least 35 journalists were injured covering the anti-government protests and 4 civilians are still unaccounted for.
After nearly 24 hours without a head of state, the Peruvian congress has voted upon Fransico Sagasti to be Peru’s caretaker president until the elections in April 2021. Sagasti is an industrial engineer and member of the only party who voted against the ousting of former President Vizcarra, and he won the vote in congress 97-26.
Sagasti’s new position is expected to ease tension in the streets after what many are calling Peru's worst political crisis in more than a decade. All of this, while protests have yet to entirely cease, and the South American nation continues to fight one of the one of the worlds deadliest outbreaks of COVID-19.