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Peru: Success of National Strike in Doubt

A national strike [es] took place on July 9 throughout Peru, which was organized by the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP for its initials in Spanish) and had rallied against Peruvian president Alan Garcia's economic policies. According to the El Comercio newspaper, “it was massive and took place in various central and northern provinces registering no major acts of violence [es] .” The same newspaper also collects the opinion of another syndicate movement, Peruvian Workers Confederation (CTP) that says, “The national strike complied by the CGTP was a failure by its general secretary, Mario Huamán [es] .” The differing versions regarding the success of the CGTP's measure of force are divided and can also be better seen in the blogs.

The blogger Mancho from País de Eme [es] declares in his post The Strike Has Arrived [es] that he thought the strike would be grand and the lack of convocation could be due to the discredit that syndicate institutions like the CGTP has:

como es costumbre, el Gobierno saldra a declarar que el Paro fracaso y que el unico ganador es el Perú mientras que por el otro lado la CGTP saldra a decir que todas las regiones paralizaron. Cuando ninguna de las dos es lo real. Ante este Paro, no existe ganador alguno ya que las políticas del Gobierno no cambiaran, la dirigencia del CGTP no cambiara, los pobres segurian siendo pobres y el medio ambiente se ira destruyendo poco a poco ante las políticas aplicadas por este Gobierno. Solo queda por buscar nuevas formas de hacer reaccionar al Gobierno, ya que tras los ultimos paros queda demostrado su inutilidad como objeto de protesta. Tal vez, solo sea que cada vez estamos eligiendo un gobernante mas sordo a la voz del pueblo.

As is customary, the government will say that the strike was a failure and that the only winner is Peru, while the CGTP will declare that all of the regions participated in the strike. When neither of the two is true. With this strike, there is no winner and the government's policies will not change, the management of the CGTP will not change, the poor will remain poor and the environment will continue be destroyed little by little through the policies applied by this government. All that remains is to look for new ways to make the government react, as the last few strikes demonstrated that their use as a protest measure is useless. Maybe, all it is that we continue to elect a governing leader more and more deaf to the people's voice.

Susana Villarán in her post What Should Change [es] makes two points that seem to be important for the motivation for those that called for the strike: The need for a better economic redistribution and the need to reach an agreement. She finishes by proposing the challenge of what is left to be done:

El nuevo liderazgo político y social que surge en las regiones, la Asamblea de Gobiernos Regionales, los partidos emergentes, el movimiento social y político que surgió de la transición democrática deben recuperar el terreno perdido, articular esfuerzos, fortalecer presencia y voz para lograr el cambio, la justicia, la concertación y la gobernabilidad.

The new political and social leadership that emerges in the regions, the Regional Assembly governments, the emerging parties, the political and social movement that emerged during the democratic transition must recuperate their lost terrain, articulate efforts, strengthen its presence and voice to achieve change, justice, compromise, and governability.

Silvio Rendón in the post Syndicalists [es] from the blog Gran Combo Club [es] writes about Vladimiro Montesinos’ comments regarding the strike. As the former right hand of ex-president Alberto Fujimori and who is currently in prision, Montesinos mentions that the syndicates did not strike during their administration. These statements had a positive reaction in the APRA, the current governing party of president Alan García.

La alusión montesinista es parte del discurso “con otros no se quejaban como sí se quejan conmigo”. Este fue un discurso usado y desgastado por Toledo. A Toledo no le funcionó en absoluto. Efectivamente, la prensa fue muy severa con Toledo, cuando no lo fue con Fujimori. Igualmente, Toledo tuvo que enfrentar protestas regionales y sindicales que no tuvo Fujimori. García al usar este argumento demuestra desesperación y frustración por no convencer a la población, a pesar de tener a la prensa de su parte. Claro, no se mete con la población en general, sino con los dirigentes sindicales.

The Montesinos allusion is part of the rhetoric, “with others they do not complain like they complain with me.” This was the rhetoric used and overused by (ex-president Alejando) Toledo. It did not work for Toledo at all. The press was very tough with Toledo, as it was not with Fujimori. In the same way, Toledo had to face regional and syndical protest that Fujimori did not. García, upon using the same argument, demonstrates desperation and frustration for not being able to convince the populace, even though he has the press on his side. Of course, he does not get involve with the general populace, only the syndicate leadership.

It appears that the strike will soon be followed by other more specific sectors such as agriculture, mining and others, and so the government will have their hands full during the next few weeks. Before I end, I would like invite you to read the post titled, The Post-Strike Post [es] from Generación (A)política [es] that lists various illustrative opinions about what happened and the reactions from various characters in Peruvian politics. The post The Interior is Definitely Another Country [es] by Susana Villarán provides reports about the strike from those on the left.

Thumbnail photo by Gato Azul

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