Political Crisis Prompts Peace Corps to Evacuate Volunteers from Peru

Amid a political crisis that has included deadly crackdowns by the government on its citizens, the Peace Corps has temporarily evacuated its volunteers from Peru to another post, Politico reports.

Often working in areas far from national capitals and with less immediate protections than US diplomats, Peace Corps volunteers are sometimes the first group of US workers to be evacuated when unrest hits.

Underscoring the safety and well-being of Peace Corps volunteers as their top priority, Peace Corps spokesperson Troy Blackwell confirmed the relocation but gave no details with regard to the destination to which they were relocated.

According to a person familiar with the latest event, the volunteers are headed to the Corps post in Ecuador. Blackwell added in an email that they’re closely monitoring the security situation with local partners on the ground and the US Embassy in Lima.

There’s no current indication that the US Embassy in Peru, USAID officials, or other government agents are leaving the country although Washington has issued some travel alerts for Peru.

Cycling through several presidents amid various corruption and other scandals, Peru has had a politically tumultuous few years.

Following the failed coup attempt in December by a Peruvian president facing impeachment, the South American country was pushed into weeks of popular unrest against a government that has taken over.

In the long, though somewhat intermittent history in Peru, hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers cycled through the country between 1962 and 1975, when political and economic instability forced the program to close only to return in 2002.

The current situation in Peru isn’t set to improve, according to analysts who are fearful that the conditions that allowed Peace Corps volunteers to work there are going to get worse before they get better after the government has doubled down on the crackdowns.

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