National Day of Struggle in Peru

National Day of Struggle in Peru

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John Ahni Schertow
July 12, 2007
 

For the past 6 days, around 350 thousand teachers have been on strike in Peru, in protest of a new set of “Teacher’s Laws”, which are being imposed on them. Numerous actions have been take so far. to name a few, an airport was shut down, as well as one city. At this point, atleast 2 people died and an unknown number have been injured.

Amid this, the National Day of Struggle– a two day Peru-wide General Strike convoked by Peru’s National Federation of Miners, Metalworkers and Steelworkers began yesterday.

Led by the unions, peasant farm groups, indigenous organizations, and teachers – there were protests in at least 18 of the 25 regions in Peru, with some still ongoing…

From Real World Radio – A general strike called Wednesday and Thursday by the General Workers’ Union of Peru, had strong support of the National Agrarian Confederation. The strike has virtually paralyzed the country, although President Alan Garcia ordered the Military to be on alert to support the police in case of repression.

Peruvian newspaper La Republica reports that “Teachers, construction workers, students and politicians participated in the day of protests that has become the largest ever held during Alan Garcia’s administration”.

The newspaper did not mention the peasants and mining workers that support the strike against Alan Garcia’s economic policies, and for a better income distribution in the country, where half of the population lives under the poverty line. The teachers have been striking for eight days.

Some of the demonstrations held on Wednesday across the country included road blocks and sit-ins in public and private facilities. This led to clashes between the demonstrators and local owners, and the public order units. EFE news agency reports that at least two people died and other seven were injured during the demonstrations.

La República reports that the president of the National Agrarian Confederation, Antolín Huáscar, told his trade union that he carried out the struggle measures in 18 regions of the country and that the strike continues on Thursday.

The National Radio Coordinator of Peru and the National Confederation of Peruvian Communities Affected by Mining, joined the strike because they reject the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed with the United States. They also demand the declaration of an agrarian emergency.

The National Radio Coordinator of Peru explains that the National Agrarian Confederation and one of Peru’s most powerful organizations, the National Convention of Peruvian Agriculture or Conveagro backed the general strike and criticized the policies of the Ministry of Agriculture, which it faults for lack of interest in the sector. Also, Conveagro’s president, Luis Zúñiga, said in an interview with the National Radio Coordinator that the FTA was “badly negotiated” and that its implementation will have “catastrophic consequences” for the Peruvian farmers.

According to Prensa Latina, President Alan García described the demonstrators as “radicals, suicidal and crazy”. He had previously said that the wave of protests in the country is not the result of a crisis, but it is promoted by small groups that are losing their privileges.

But political analyst Carlos Toche has a different opinion. He told EFE news agency that the protests will strengthen, considering that “Peru has experienced a significant economic growth for some years that does not translate into the welfare of the majority” of the people. (source)

Also see
Peru paralyzed by general strike
Peruvian trade union protests and strikes continue
Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia: Miners and Citizens Demand Rights

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