MCLEAN, VA., December 8, 2022 – Yesterday, Peru’s President Pedro Castillo was detained by Lima police after his failed attempt to dissolve Congress in the face of an impending impeachment vote. There has been much opposition against Castillo and his policy proposals throughout the past year in Peru, and Students For Liberty alumnus Lucas Ghersi was one of the lead organizers of this week’s protests out in the streets and in the fight the entire time.
An SFL activist going back to 2013, Ghersi is now a lawyer specializing mostly in constitutional litigation with an L.L.M. obtained at the University of Chicago, and a lecturer in local Peruvian law schools. He reached out to SFL staff last night while out at an event to give some backstory in what happened that led to the events of yesterday.
“When Pedro Castillo was proclaimed the winner of Peru’s 2021 general election, practically immediately, he threatened to shut down Congress and impose a Constituent Assembly in order to rewrite our Constitution under authoritarian lines.” Ghersi explained. He went on explain how this threat to Peru’s already precarious rule of law would have made things worse as the proposed, “Constituent Assembly would have had unlimited powers to interfere with branches of government not controlled by Castillo” which includes “the legislative, the judiciary, local governments, the Constitutional Court etc.”
Ghersi drew comparisons to what happened in Venezuela, stating “Castillo wanted only a minority of the members of the Constituent Assembly (40%) to be elected by the people in an election. His supporters proposed that the rest be chosen by interest groups defined on occupational and/or ethnic lines following a formula similar to the one used in Venezuela’s 2017 Assembly.”
The SFL alumnus jumped into the fight head first along with numerous other opposition groups to stop what was happening in their country and raise awareness of the consequences of doing nothing. “We decided to initiate a grassroots campaign against this proposal. As part of this campaign, we physically collected over a million signatures in practically all of Peru’s major regions — way more than the number of signatures collected by Castillo’s supporters in favor of the Constituent Assembly.”
Ghersi and others in the opposition lectured extensively on this topic throughout the past several months, particularly in southern Peru where the government’s main base of support was located. They organized marches and protests highlighting the increasingly authoritarian language that was coming out of the government amid a series of corruption scandals.
“On November the 5th 2022, we co-organized a particularly successful protest that took place simultaneously in most of Peru’s major cities and was reported on by the international media.” Ghersi was quoted in several articles this week on the heels of the protests, including an interview with El Comercio and a piece by Reuters.
Just a few short weeks ago in mid November, Ghersi told the Christian Science Monitor “we don’t want Peru to be the sheep that walks into the slaughterhouse of democracy. We want to stand up while there is time and stop that from happening.”
Students for Liberty CEO Dr. Wolf von Laer issued a statement, stating how “Students For Liberty trains and empowers students to be leaders who make a difference on campuses now and society in the future. Lucas Ghersi is a stellar example of that. Only seven years after he graduated from college and became an alumnus of our programs, he protected and upheld the rule of law of his country and with that millions of Peruvians. We are very proud of Lucas and he is an inspiration to our over 10,000 alumni and the thousands of active student volunteers that currently serve in 113 countries.”
If you would like to speak with Lucas Ghersi on this issue, please contact Brian Lambrecht directly at 708-420-8324 or [email protected] to schedule time.
About Students For Liberty
SFL is the largest pro-liberty student organization in the world with students active in 113 countries on every inhabited continent. With a multi-million dollar budget and over 77 full-time staff members, they serve pro-liberty students in their pursuit to become leaders of liberty. They accomplish this through a strategy of identifying the top students and then empowering them to be agents of change in their communities. Last school year, their students organized over 1,910 events with over 1.15 million people in attendance. They are a fully virtual, vibrant, and entrepreneurial organization working with a diverse team in the U.S. and around the world.
Brian S. Lambrecht
Students For Liberty