Ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in July of 2021.
Ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo (right) with U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in July of 2021. Credit: U.S. Embassy in Peru / Wikimedia Commons

The Trudeau government is helping Washington consolidate a coup that has sparked a furious popular backlash in Peru. Ottawa is defending an unelected regime that has suspended civil liberties and imposed a curfew while deploying troops to the streets. Security forces have killed 24 (mostly Indigenous) protesters over the past week. 

On Saturday foreign minister Mélanie Joly tweeted, “Spoke with Peru’s Foreign Minister, Ana Cecilia Gervasi, to reiterate our support for the transitional government of President Boluarte.” 

Three days earlier Canada’s ambassador to Peru Louis Marcotte met Gervasi. Marcotte tweeted a photo with the message “Today with Minister Gervasi, reiterated support for the transition government of President [Dina] Boluarte to create consensus leading to transparent and fair elections that will bring social peace. Condemned violence and affirmed the right to peaceful assembly.” 

A Bloomberg article headlined “Peru Political Crisis Threatens to Widen Latin America Rifts” reported that “Canada’s Louis Marcotte said his nation would work with Boluarte ‘to strengthen democracy and social peace in full respect for human rights and the rule of law,’ Gervasi said.” 

Gervasi also released a statement to the media, reported CBC, about meeting Marcotte, which “reiterated Peru’s gratitude for the commitment of his country to work with President Dina Boluarte.” 

In “Canada takes sides as hemisphere splits over who rules Peru” the CBC’s Evan Dyer reports that the US, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Chile, Uruguay and Costa Rica have expressed support for Boluarte while Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Barbuda, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Venezuela and Colombia have all expressed some form of opposition to Pedro Castillo’s ouster. 

Canada immediately backed Castillo’s December 7 removal at a special meeting of the Organization of American States. As I detailed in “Ottawa backs removal of elected Peruvian president despite protests”, subsequent Canadian statements have increased support for Castillo’s ouster. By visiting the foreign minister Marcotte has made Canada’s position clear and echoed US actions. On Friday US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called Boluarte and US Ambassador Lisa Kenna met with her on Tuesday. On Friday Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticized Kenna for meeting Boluarte. 

In “Peru coup: CIA agent turned US ambassador met with defense minister day before president overthrown” Ben Norton details Washington’s hand in Castillo’s demise. A great deal remains unknown about the machinations behind Castillo’s removal but it’s clear this is at least the third time Trudeau’s Liberals have supported the ouster of a social democratic leader in the region. 

As I detail in House of Mirrors: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy, they passively supported the 2016 “soft coup” impeachment of Brazilian Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff, which Lula da Silva’s recent election victory partly reverses. In November 2019 Chrystia Freeland actively supported the economic elites, Christian extremists and security forces who overthrew Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first Indigenous president. In a decisive rebuke of Ottawa’s support for the coup, a year later Morales’ former finance minister Luis Acre won the presidency, and the MAS party took a large majority in the Congress. 

For over four years the Trudeau government has engaged in a brazen effort to overthrow Venezuela’s government. But their bid to make marginal right-wing opposition politician Juan Guaidó president has failed. 

Large numbers of Peruvians have taken to the streets calling for Castillo’s release from prison and for new elections to be held. Many have also rallied in favor of dissolving an extremely unpopular congress and organizing a constituent assembly to rewrite a constitution adopted after Alberto Fujimori’s “self-coup”. On Friday two ministers in Boluarte’s government resigned to protest the repression while the prime minister was replaced. 

Hopefully the protesters succeed in spurring changes to redress the country’s extreme inequities and deliver another blow to the Trudeau Liberal’s bid to subvert social democratic governments in the region. 

Take one minute to stand in solidarity with Peruvian demonstrators by emailing Canada’s foreign minister and opposition critics to say, “No Canadian backing for an unelected regime that is killing protesters”.

Yves Engler

Dubbed “Canada’s version of Noam Chomsky” (Georgia Straight), “one of the most important voices on the Canadian Left” (Briarpatch), “in the mould of I. F. Stone” (Globe and Mail), “part...