What started as a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see one of the new seven wonders of the world quickly became a nightmare after ongoing protests left a math professor stranded in Peru.
Arizona State University math professor Naala Brewer joined “Fox & Friends Weekend” Saturday to share her experience getting stuck in Peru as ongoing protests have shut down airports and roadways.
“I don’t feel 100 percent safe. I’ll feel safe once we get on the plane,” Brewer said. “I’ll feel 50 percent safe once we get on the plane to Lima and 100 percent safe once the plane takes off from Lima to the U.S.”
Brewer had planned a trip to Peru with her niece to visit Macchu Picchu, but prior to their planned departure, political unrest began in the South American country.
On December 7, then-President Pedro Castillo planned to dissolve the nation’s Congress and called for new legislative elections while also calling for changes in leadership in the country’s courts.
Among other measures, these moves prompted lawmakers to vote 101-6 with 10 abstentions to remove Castillo from office for reasons of “permanent moral incapacity.”
“We were scheduled to leave on the eighth and my brother tends to keep up with a lot of current events. And on the seventh he said, I’ve been reading that the president committed to dissolve the Congress. He said, you should probably rethink whether or not you’re going to be going to Peru because I’m taking my niece, his daughter,” Brewer explained.
After Castillo was removed, Vice President Dina Boluarte was sworn in to become the nation’s first female leader.
“Between that day and the day that we had to leave, the next day that they had appointed the vice president as president, and they arrested the president. So it seemed more stable at that point. They had a president and the president had tried to dissolve the Congress was under arrest. So we went ahead and headed out there,” Brewer said.
Boluarte, however, was faced with widespread protests that erupted shortly after Castillo’s ouster. The new government declared a national state of emergency Wednesday as the protests escalated.
Protestors of Castillo’s removal have taken to the streets of Peru, attacking public buildings and blockading roadways. In addition, protestors have swarmed airports and forced closures, trapping many tourists in the country including Brewer.
Among their lists of demands includes freeing Castillo who was ordered by a judge to be detained for up to 18 months while prosecutors prepare cases against the former president. Protestors are also calling for Boluarte’s resignation and new elections.
Brewer shared that the Cusco airport was shut down by the protests as she was waiting to fly home. The south Peruvian city of Cusco is a popular hub for tourists traveling to Macchu Picchu.
“By 8:30 p.m., we had not boarded the plane yet, and I’m supposed to leave at 8:55 p.m., and we started hearing a lot of commotion.”
“Our flight was the first one to be canceled. And all the flights were canceled.”
After learning of the flight cancelations, Brewer explained she was told by police to leave the airport. She returned to the hotel where she had stayed during her trip.
“Just the timing of everything,” Brewer said. “We’re really lucky that we’re in Cusco and not in Machu Picchu, which you can’t get out except by plane.”
Despite continued protests, Brewer is expected to get a flight back to the U.S. Sunday.
The Associated Press and Fox News’ Bradford Betz and Peter Aitken contributed to this report.
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