The new episode of the Justice Visions podcast is a second episode of a miniseries that looks into the revolutionary potential of transitional justice in current protest. In this episode we examine the wave of recent protests and severe state violence in Peru. We link the aftermath of leftist ex-President Pedro Castillo’s failed coup d’état on December 7th 2022 and people’s demands to Peru’s former transitional justice process. This was a response to the country’s violent internal conflict between the 1980s and 2000s and concluded in 2003.
Together with our two studio guests, Sarah Kerremans and Rocio Silva Santisteban, we unearth a continuum of violence that helps to understand why this is happening today, why indigenous and rural communities find themselves at the centre of the conflict and how this links to Peru’s extractivist economic model and the country’s many ongoing ecoterritorial conflicts.
During her recent field work in Peru, Sarah witnessed the vitriolic attacks by institutions and mainstream media against indigenous groups: ‘What struck me most was the racist dimension of that endlessly repeated message that they wanted to take over Lima and the attempts to silence critical voices.’ Protesters in Peru have been coined as terrorists to delegitimize them and their demands during the current protests, as well as in many conflicts regarding extractivist projects.
Rocío Silva-Santisteban narrates how the current situation is unprecedented: “It is a situation that in some way or another shows that there is a great political malaise, a great malaise of the sectors that never before in the country had been represented by one of their own.” She points to the failed transitional justice process: “These are the same demands for justice, for truth, for memory, for reparation that were not fulfilled 20 years ago.” However, she stills feels inspired by all these people organizing, “despite the difficulties, despite the harshness of the situation, despite the impunity, despite the fact that the state doesn’t care, they take the streets, they mobilize, they make themselves being heard.”
Rocío Silva-Santisteban Manrique is a Peruvian feminist, activist, a poet, a university professor and a human rights consultant. She has been the leading woman of the Peruvian National Coordinator of Human Rights (2011-2015) and has served as a Congresswoman (2020-2021). She has published several (non)academic books, such as ¿Cómo volver a vivir tranquilos?Biopolítica extractivista y posestallido en conflictos ecoterritoriales with José de Echave and Raphael Hoetmer.
Sarah Kerremans is a Belgian-Peruvian Justice Visions researcher working on human rights accountability and duty bearers, who has lived for more than a decade in Peru.
Voice-over: Gretel Alexandra Mejía