Al Jazeera Close Up

Peru: A Divided Country

As Peru is thrown into a political crisis, these women dream of opposite futures for the country.

Peru is in crisis. Its former president, Pedro Castillo, is in prison. The current president, Dina Boluarte – the country’s sixth in just five years – is struggling to maintain control. A state of emergency is in place, and across the nation, confrontations between protesters and the Peruvian authorities have killed 28 people and injured hundreds.

“I raise my protest as a Peruvian teacher. Why do our children have to keep dying?” says Rosa Elvira Reyes, a teacher from Ancash, a rural area of Peru. As anger grows, hundreds of thousands of protesters across Peru demand justice for Castillo, a former teacher from the Andes and the first member of the country’s impoverished rural poor to become president. For people like Elvira, the former president is the voice of the marginalised.

In this episode of Close Up, we spend time with Elvira as she takes to the streets to demonstrate against Castillo’s removal. We witness police firing tear gas canisters to stop protesters from reaching government buildings, and we meet Paola Escatte, also a teacher but with a very different vision. A vocal leader of a Christian anti-socialist group, Escatte is worried about the “communist wave” sweeping through Peru.

This is a film about two women at the heart of political turmoil and their different visions for the future of Peru.


A film by: Alexander Lali Houghton

Editors: Giancarlo Shibayama & Ravi Lloyd

Additional camera: Alejandra Elias

Producers: Antonia Perello

Executive Producer: Tierney Bonini