Home News 5,000 tourists stranded in Machu Picchu town, Cusco

5,000 tourists stranded in Machu Picchu town, Cusco

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Some 5,000 tourists are stranded in the city of Cuzco following protests demanding the release of ousted President Pedro Castillo and early elections in Peru, the mayor of the tourist town of Machu Picchu said on Friday (December 16th).

In Peru, the lessons of a failed coup

“We have 5,000 tourists stranded in the city of Cusco, they are in their hotels waiting for flights to be reactivated”Darwin Baca, mayor of the neighboring Machu Picchu district, which is also in Cusco, told AFP.

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As of Friday, the city’s airport was still closed, roads blocked and rail transport paralyzed. Cusco’s Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport, the country’s third busiest, has been closed since Monday as protesters tried to break in as protests in the city of Cusco continue, according to the mayor.

18 protesters killed

Meanwhile, in Machu Picchu, some 200 tourists, mostly North Americans and Europeans, have left the area on foot, following the railway line to reach the town of Ollantaytambo, 30 km away, where they await bus.

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The train between the stone citadel and Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, located 110 km away, is indeed the only modern way to get to the jewel of Peruvian tourism. In Aguas Calientes, a thermal village nestled in the steep valley at the foot of the historic site, and through which you can access Machu Picchu, dozens of tourists are also waiting.

“What they fear is arriving in Cuzco and not being able to return to their country, because they are afraid that the situation will get worse”, said the mayor. At least 18 people have died in protests and clashes with security forces that have shaken the country since December 7.

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A failed coup

The protests erupted after former president Pedro Castillo, a left-wing rural teacher from a modest background, unsuccessfully tried to dissolve parliament and rule by decree. He justified his decision arguing that Parliament prevented him from governing and that he was being treated in a racist manner.

In Peru, President Pedro Castillo deposed and arrested, Vice-President Dina Boluarte invested

He found no institutional support and was arrested while trying to reach the Mexican Embassy to seek asylum.

On Thursday, justice confirmed his preventive detention for 18 months pending the conclusions of the investigation opened for “rebellion” and “conspiracy”. Pedro Castillo was already the subject of investigations, in particular for corruption, obstruction of justice or influence peddling.

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