RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In the heat of the second round of Peru’s presidential elections, this Friday marks six months since 14-N, the tensest and tragic day of last November’s political crisis that ended the short-lived presidential mandate of Manuel Merino after the deaths of two protesters.
Half a year later, those responsible for the young Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado deaths have still not been identified. However, all indications point out that they were shot dead by the police, which used lead shots as projectiles, a non-permitted anti-riot ammunition.
The investigations are still underway by the Prosecutor’s Office but are being delayed, as some senior police officers have failed to attend several summonses for questioning.
A few meters from the place where they were shot dead, a memorial was erected on several occasions in honor of the two victims. Extreme right-wing vandalism groups have been periodically destroyed.
Also charged in the investigation for abuse of authority and intentional homicide is the short-lived former president Merino, a congressman of the Acción Popular party, who continues his parliamentary work without acknowledging his responsibility for these events.
The sudden arrival to power of Merino as interim president was the trigger last November of the largest wave of protests that Peru has experienced in the last 20 years.
Peruvians came out en masse to protest against the decision of the opposition-dominated Congress to remove then-President Martin Vizcarra (2018-2020) so that in exchange, Merino could take over the presidential seat and change the political sign of the Executive Branch to an ultra-conservative one.
The crisis ended with the resignation of Merino and the assumption as interim president of Francisco Sagasti, congressman of the Purple Party (center liberal) who assumed the transitional mandate to hold the elections that Vizcarra had already called and hand over power to the winner on July 28.
However, Merino’s pro-Merino sectors in Congress have already tried twice to remove Sagasti through two motions of censure that the full Parliament has rejected.
The last of them took place this Thursday, in an action that barely had 10 votes in favor since Sagasti barely has two and a half months left in office before he is succeeded by Pedro Castillo (left) or Keiko Fujimori (right), the two candidates who are competing for the Presidency in the second round of the elections.
The winner will be known on June 6, the day on which more than 25 million Peruvians are called to the polls to elect their next head of state for the 2021-2026 period.