By Ben Norton / Geopolitical Economy Report
A study by a leading polling firm in Peru found that the country’s coup-plotting congress has an approval rating of just 6%, with a staggering 91% disapproval.
The South American nation’s unelected president, Dina Boluarte, has the approval of just 15% of Peruvians, with 78% disapproval.
In December 2022, Peru’s democratically elected leftist President Pedro Castillo was overthrown in a congressional coup. The military arrested him, and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, without due process.
The US ambassador in Peru, Lisa Kenna, is a CIA veteran who strongly supported the coup against Castillo, and has collaborated closely with Boluarte.
Boluarte’s heavily militarized regime has violently cracked down on widespread demonstrations, killing more than 60 protesters.
The mainstream think tank the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) has conducted regular opinion surveys. IEP’s March poll showed that the unelected coup regime is extremely unpopular among all parts of society.
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In January, February, and March, Peru’s congress had 89%, 90%, and 91% disapproval ratings, respectively.
The IEP study found no differences between urban and rural areas; in every part of the country, on average, at least 90% of Peruvians oppose the congress, while just 6% support it.
Peru’s unicameral congress is notoriously corrupt, and dominated by the country’s right-wing oligarchs. Recent controversies like the 2018 Mamanivideos scandal exposed how common it is for members of congress to accept bribes to vote in a particular way.
Among Peruvians who identify as left wing, only 4% support the congress and 93% oppose it, whereas among right-wingers, 10% support the congress and 88% oppose it.
Peru’s unelected president, Boluarte, faced 76%, 77%, and 78% disapproval in January, February, and March, respectively.
Boluarte has slightly more support among Peruvians in the capital Lima, who tend to be much wealthier. But even in the Lima metropolitan area, she still only has 18% support, with 72% disapproval.
In other cities in Peru, Boluarte has 14% support and 80% disapproval. In rural areas, she has mere 11% support and 81% disapproval.
Interestingly, although some of the very few people who back Boluarte have cynically exploited feminist rhetoric to justify her unelected rule, the same study found that only 11% of women support her, while 79% of women oppose her.
In fact, Boluarte is slightly more popular among men, although just 18% support her, while 76% of men oppose her.
The Institute for Peruvian Studies think tank that conducted this survey is in no way sympathetic to Castillo. In fact, it had been quite antagonistic to him when he was in power.
The Lima-based organization represents the country’s economic elites. Ironically, the IEP is funded by many of the same Western governments and CIA-linked organizations that have supported the coup, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), British embassy, World Bank, Open Society Foundations, Ford Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation, among many others.
But despite the sources of its finances, IEP’s polling could not ignore the reality of Peru, which is that opposition to the unelected coup regime is so widespread it is nearly universal.
Latin America condemns the coup against Castillo, while US, Canada, and foreign mining corporations support it
At least 14 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have condemned the coup in Peru, expressing support for President Castillo, including some of the most populous countries in the region, such as Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina.
Yet, despite the overwhelming lack of democratic legitimacy for Peru’s coup regime, it has the full backing of the United States and Canada.
A day before Castillo was overthrown, in fact, CIA agent turned US Ambassador Lisa Kenna met with Peru’s defense minister, who ordered the military to disobey Castillo’s orders when the democratically elected president cited article 134 of Peru’s constitution to temporarily dissolve the coup-plotting congress and hold new elections and a constituent assembly.
Castillo wanted to organize a democratic process to rewrite Peru’s constitution, which was drafted by the far-right US-backed dictatorship of Alberto Fujimori. The United States had a significant influence on the creation of Peru’s current, Fujimorista constitution, which incorporated neoliberal economic policies into the country’s legal fabric.
Today, US, Canadian, Swiss, and Australia corporations have significant mining interests in Peru, and great influence over the country’s politics.
Since the parliamentary putsch, the US ambassador has met with Peru’s mining and energy ministers to discuss foreign corporate “investments”.
Castillo had proposed increasing taxation on foreign mining corporations, and wanted to use the proceeds to fund healthcare, education, and social programs. Members of the socialist Perú Libre party, with which Castillo had ran for office, had called for nationalizing the country’s substantial mineral reserves.
Peru is the world’s second-biggest producer of copper, representing 10% of global output (exceeded only by neighboring Chile).
The South American nation also has large reserves of gold, zinc, silver, lead, and iron.
Peru is likewise a leading producer of natural gas, and has increasingly exported its energy to Europe, to make up for the drop of Russian gas supplies due to Western sanctions on Moscow.
Ben Norton is a journalist, writer, and filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of Geopolitical Economy Report, and is based in China.