Boluarte apologizes after deadly week of violence in Peru, reshuffles cabinet

Lima, Jan 13 (EFE).- Peruvian President Dina Boluarte on Friday reshuffled her cabinet and apologized if the government had “erred in the quest for peace” but vowed to not resign, even as violent protests and police action has killed 49 people in the country in a month, including 21 in the past week.

“If we have erred somehow in the quest for peace and calm, I apologize to the Peruvian people,” Boluarte said in a message to the nation, her first public statement since Monday, when the social unrest intensified.

However, she insisted that she would not resign and reaffirmed the government’s pledge to “keep promoting dialog and social peace” in the country.

Boluarte stressed that she did not want to remain in power and urged the Congress to bring forward the date for voting on a bill that the government has tabled for holding general elections in April 2024.

“I am not going to resign, my commitment is to Peru and not to this miniscule group that is making the nation bleed,” the leader said.

The president also said that the country deserved to know the objective truth about the deaths registered during citizens’ protest and hailed the “open investigations” by the public prosecutors to identify those responsible.

However, she alluded to so-called “foreign disruptors or infiltrators” who were responsible for “violent acts.”

Expressing regret for the death of 41 protesters and a police officers in the protests, the leader called for giving up violence, even though she acknowledged that the protesters were expressing their just discontent over unmet demands.

Earlier in the day, Boluarte reshuffled her cabinet by changing the ministers of interior affairs, labor and women’s affairs.

Minutes after announcing the reshuffle, Boluarte swore in Vicente Romaro Fernandez, Luis Alfonso Adrianzen and Nancy Tolentino as the interior minister, labor minister and women’s affairs minister respectively, having accepted the resignations of their predecessors.

The move was necessitated due to the previous ministers resigning over the handling of the protests.

The earlier labor minister Eduardo Garcia had resigned on Thursday and urged Boluarte to apologize and recognize the mistakes in her government’s handling of citizens’ protest demanding her resignation.

The interior ministry now passes to Romero Fernandez, who replaces Victor Rojas Herrera and has the challenging task of heading the national police and organize the institutional response to the protests.

Fernandez is the third interior minister to be sworn-in since Boluarte assumed the presidency in December, as the first minister to hold the portfolio – Cesar Augusto Cervantes – lasted just 10 days in office before being replaced by Herrera.

Boluarte said that she was aware that the country was “going through a serious political crisis” since ex-president Pedro Castillo’s attempt to dissolve the Congress, which led to his ouster. EFE


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