Spain’s Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, has confirmed that 360 Spanish tourists are being evacuated from Peru followed the failed coup on 7 December by deposed president Pedro Castillo in a desperate attempt to hold onto power.
The visitors were trapped in the country after airports and roads were closed during the protests. Albares said some had already been evacuated and the others will be brought out during the remainder of this week.
He confirmed that the Spanish Embassy, the Spanish Consulate in Lima and the consular emergency service had been in contact with the Spanish visitors by email and phone. Most (279) had been in Cuzco, where the famous Machu Pichu is situated, when the demonstrations began to demand the release of Castillo and for immediate elections to be held, and another group was in Arequipa.
Albares has urged people not to go to Peru unless absolutely necessary due to the serious instability in the country at present. At least 25 people have died and 646, including 290 police officers, have been injured in the riots so far.
The Spanish authorities have also asked visitors who have opted to remain in the country, as well as the more than 32,000 Spanish residents, to watch closely how the situation develops, follow official recommendations and move around as little as possible. They are also asked to make contact with the Ministry’s emergency unit and the Consulate if they have not already done so.
Albares’ statement coincided with the dismissal of Peruvian prime minister Pedro Angulo by president Dina Boluarte, after less than two weeks in the post. Boluarte said this was part of her government reshuffle but according to the RPP radio station she wants a government which is technically aware but “a little more political, in order to confront social unrest and build bridges towards dialogue”.
Boluarte has refused to stand down, despite calls from protestors for her to do so. “If I resign, I would be saying that these violent people are right. I believe that people in the democracy we have should respect and be respectful of the law,” she said in a TV interview, adding that her resignation would not solve the problems the country is facing.
She has also sided with the Joint Command of the Armed Forces of Peru, which on Monday justified the use of force to overcome the protests in Ayacucho. Nine people died and around a dozen were injured during the protests, which the authorities said were attacks by “bad Peruvians”.