Vice-Minister of Interior resigns after being harshly criticized for not pressing charges against protesters who took 13 police hostage

Peru’s Vice-Minister of Interior, Wilson Hernández, resigned from the Cabinet of Peru’s President Alan García Monday, after being harshly criticized for signing an agreement guaranteeing that no criminal charges would be pressed against the Paucartambo protesters who took 13 policemen and four civilians hostage.

“We can’t be making deals guaranteeing that persons who commit crimes will not be criminally prosecuted,” said Premier Javier Velásquez.

On Monday, Peru Interior Minister Octavio Salazar announced that criminal charges will be pressed against the farmers who took 13 policemen and four civilians hostage at the Yuncán hydroelectric power plant in Paucartambo, a district in Peru’s Pasco region.

The farmers face up to 30-year prisons terms.

“We have yet to make any arrests, but warrants are on their way,” said Salazar. “This is a crime, and we can’t ignore that. People just can’t take justice into their own hands.”

Last weekend, 13 police officers and four civilians were taken hostage by farmers at the Yuncán hydroelectric power plant in Paucartambo, a small community located more than 300 kilometers, or 185 miles, east of Peru’s capital city, Lima.

The farmers freed the officers assigned to providing security for the Yuncán power plant after local officials promised Saturday that fertilizer would be delivered within 15 days.

According to Peru National Police Chief Miguel Hidalgo, the officers and civilians were held hostage at a local church for nearly 24 hours.

Two days before the 72-hour strike turned into a hostage situation, some 6,500 Paucartambo farmers began occupying the power plant to pressure the French-Belgian power plant operator Enersur, a subsidiary of Tractebel. According to the farmers, the company had repeatedly failed to redistribute resources assigned to the Yuncán Social Fund and destined to improve living conditions and provide for public works.

“Everything is calm now,” said Paucartambo Mayor Kléver Meléndez. “The roads are no longer blocked, and shops are open.”

According to Enersur, a control room was destroyed by the protestors, and a floodgate damaged.

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.