‘Reconsider travel’ to Peru due to civil unrest, State Department says

FFollowing the arrest last week of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo, the US State Department reissued a Level 3 “Reconsider Travel” advisory for the South American country as international tourists remained stranded at Machu Picchu, the site of the 15th century Inca citadel.

“Reconsider travel due to crime. Exercise increased caution due to civil unrest,” the State Department advisory read. The warning is one step below the level 4 “Do not travel” advisory.

The closure of the PeruRail service has cut off the main way to get to the UNESCO World Heritage site – Peru’s most popular tourist destination – following deadly protests over Castillo’s detention. PeruRail has not run trains to and from Machu Picchu since Tuesday.

“We regret the inconvenience these announcements cause for our passengers; however, they are due to situations beyond the control of our company and seek to prioritize the safety of passengers and workers,” PeruRail said in a statement.

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Castillo was indicted and then arrested earlier this month on criminal charges of rebellion and conspiracy. His supporters have set up a network of roadblocks, making it difficult to travel or even leave the country.

“Protests can lead to the closure of local roads, trains and major highways, often without notice or an estimated reopening time. Road closures can significantly reduce access to public transportation and airports and can disrupt travel within and between cities,” the State Department advisory reads.

More than three-quarters of Friday’s flights were canceled from Alfredo Rodriguez Ballon International Airport in Arequipa, the capital of the Arequipa region and Peru’s second-largest city, according to FlightAware. More than 70% of today’s flights are canceled from Inca Manco Capac International Airport, a high-altitude airport serving the town of Juliaca, 80 km west of Lake Titicaca.

LATAM Airlines Peru issued a statement saying that it “maintains constant monitoring of the political situation” and awaits directives from the competent authorities “which must take corrective measures to ensure the safety of the development of flight operations”.

Fifteen people have died in protests in Peru, Reuters reports.

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