Peruvian authorities have detained ex-prime minister Betssy Chavez on charges of conspiracy against the state after allegedly assisting in a coup planned by former president Pedro Castillo.
Chavez was detained on Thursday at her home in Peru’s southern city of Tacna after a court order was issued. She was part of the Free Peru Party, a leftist party that often espouses Marxist beliefs. The party is currently the second-largest congressional seat holder, with 22 out of the 133 seats.
The charges followed after the ex-president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, who is also affiliated with the Free Peru Party, attempted to dissolve Congress and form a provisional government last December following lawmakers attempts to remove him from office. Congress quickly ousted Castillo and arrested him on sedition and high treason charges.
Despite the fact that Congress had formally ousted him, members of Peru’s leftist parties and indigenous communities protested his arrest and called for his immediate release, as well as the dissolution of Congress, new general elections, and the creation of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. The protests led to at least 60 deaths, over 600 injuries, and 380 arrests following a 30-day suspension of some constitutional rights implemented by the government. The suspension included the right to prevent troops from staying within private homes and buildings, the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to “personal freedom and security.” Not only do these citizens consider Castillo the rightful president, but other nations such as Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, and Colombia have vocalized support for the ousted president.
Chavez, who originally worked as a lawyer before beginning a career in politics, is one of many other lawmakers belonging to Castillo’s government that are being investigated under conspiracy charges. Despite these investigations, Chavez has pleaded her innocence, claiming to have not participated in and having no knowledge of the attempted coup.
Betssy Chavez was prime minister for only a short time, being appointed to office on November 25, 2022, and resigning on December 7, the same year.