Peru Minister Resigns Amid Crisis

Peruvian Minister for Women, Carmen Vilodoso, resigned on Tuesday amid a serious political and social crisis, based on the deaths of dozens of people in a recent demonstration of indigenous communities from the Amazon.

Vilodoso confirmed her resignation early in the morning on Tuesday and only explained that it was based on political reasons, although the media said the situation in the Amazon is the origin of her resignation and that it could unleash a greater ministerial crisis.

Asked if she supported President Alan Garcia in the present situation, she just said her resignation from government is an irrevocable decision.

Vilodoso is not member of the governing Partido Aprista party and had assumed the post in October, 2008, together with Prime Minister Yehude Simon, also not a part of the governing party, in a hasty reshuffle, caused by a serious corruption scandal.

The minister communicated her resignation to President Alan Garcia, after a rather stormy and long presentation by Simon and Interior Minister Mercedes Cabanillas, before the congressional Defense Commission.

For several hours, with intervals of intensive discussion, the ministers presented the official version, saying that those responsible for the recent disturbances are the Peruvian Jungle Inter-ethnic Association (AIDESEP) leaders, in charge of the protest started two months ago.

During his appearance in court, Simon announced that the president of AIDESEP had sought refuge at the Nicaraguan embassy and that the situation had been accepted by the Peruvian Foreign Ministry.

Nicaraguan Ambassador Tomas Borge said his government is studyingwhether or not to grant political asylum to Pizango, although heannounced his personal opinion, which is that he should be grantedprotection.

The version of foreign intervention, put forward by Alan Garcia, wasalso denied by AIDESEP Vice president Daysi Zapata, who said theAmazonian protest is genuine and comes from the communities.

Zapata demanded Simon and Cabanillas' resignation and also DefenseMinister Antero Flores Araoz', as those directly responsible forpolice operations that resulted in 33 deaths, including police agentsand civilians.

[Source: Prensa Latina, Lima, 09Jun09]

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