Nearly two months in, the civil and political protests in Peru have morphed into a profoundly complex struggle between numerous factions of Peruvian society.
The hoped-for solution in Congress – moving the elections forward to a 2023 date, has been met with complete stonewalling. Multiple votes in Congress have ended without the majority needed to approve the change in elections, and now the elections commission has moved to “archive” the vote – all but completing any pathway for congressional reform under the current session of the legislative branch.
On the ground in many parts of the country, protests continue, and the anger that seems to be driving the social unrest is elevating. Finger-pointing between various factions of society has added fuel to the turmoil – with some calling the protests an orchestrated action on the part of organized crime and others calling the movement a fight for social and economic justice. News outlets reporting around Peru confirm that many of the blockades that snarled the country into a supply-chain disaster are all but mitigated – although how long the roads will remain open is anyone’s guess. The economic impacts of the situation are far from resolved.
The blockades have paralyzed significant portions of southern Peru – including Ica, Cusco, Puno, and Arequipa – and brought mining and tourism to a complete standstill. Bloomberg and top global economists estimate that the protests cost between $60 and $100 million (U.S. dollars) per day. According to the Peruvian agricultural association, the impact is particularly disruptive to the agricultural sector, with Peru reportedly losing about $300 million in farm shipments during eight weeks of the turmoil. Family-run small-scale agriculture, which supplies many of the local markets and is a way that we feed the staff and boys at the Casa Girasoles, does not have access to commercial refrigeration and farmers are losing thousands of soles per day in products they are unable to ship to markets or preserve from rotting.
As I reported in a previous blog update, the boys, staff, and families of the Casa Girasoles are all safe. However, we are still determining what the future will hold with the rapid rise in prices and the ongoing supply chain disruptions.
Our team on the ground continue to do amazing work. Advocating by building bridges with partner organizations and government programs and mobilizing services where needed. They are doing amazing work under very strain conditions. The Comunidad Girasoles team have been busy helping older ex-Girasoles caught in the economic struggle of the civil and political protests. At the Casa Girasoles, this week was a special birthday for one of the boys. Sra. Ester, recognizing the importance of bringing some normalcy to the Casa Girasoles, scrounged all around Ica to find the necessary ingredients to make a cake that brought smiles to all the boys.
We will keep you posted as we learn more. For now – please keep the people of Peru in your thoughts, prayers, and meditations – and thank you for all your ongoing generosity and support.