U.S. citizens stuck in Machu Picchu as Peruvian civil unrest claims lives. Tourists from the United States have been left stranded in Peru as a result of the deadly unrest that followed the country’s recent political crisis. There were hundreds of tourists, including some Americans, who were stranded in and around Machu Picchu this past weekend while the government frantically tried to arrange transportation to the nearest airport. The train tracks leading to the Inca citadel appear to have been strewn with rocks, as evidenced by photographs and eyewitness accounts.
The train lines to the airport were closed leaving Miami-Dade fire rescue captain Brian Vega stranded in the historic mountain town. We’re all alone, he remarked. Getting in requires either taking the train or failing that, a helicopter. Vega continued, saying that he was thinking about making the hike to the nearest town in order to reach the airport.
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Peru Protests Machu Picchu Because American Tourists Stranded in
After violent protests broke out on Wednesday following the ouster and arrest of President Pedro Castillo, who had attempted to dissolve Parliament in a last-minute power grab, the government of Peru declared a 30-day national emergency. Defense Minister Luis Otarola said on Wednesday that the people’s freedom to gather and move freely across the Andean country had been suspended due to the declaration.
In addition, curfews were imposed in all major cities during the night. Dina Boluarte, Peru’s caretaker president, urged Congress on Saturday to approve early elections to help end the country’s political impasse. The unrest has resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people and the injuries of over 500 protesters and security forces, according to the reports. Many roads are closed and train service has been suspended, so visitors to Machu Picchu who were supposed to fly out of Cusco, nearly 50 miles away, have been stuck there for days.
Tom Gray, a tourist from Colorado, told in a video interview that his group had caught the final bus back to Aguas Calientes, the town at the entrance to the citadel. According to him, there are still dozens of people at the summit. Our guide had to bribe the protesters to move the rocks to let us go back to our hotel. Gray, who had first arrived at Machu Picchu on Monday night, said. He claimed that at least eighteen roadblocks, made of trees and boulders and manned by local villagers stood in the way of their group.
Gray remarked, “There were like 200 of us rather than 5,000, which is the normal population.” No one else was there except for us. It was a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating situation. PeruRail announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday that all train service to and from Machu Picchu was suspended. The U.S. Embassy in Lima said in a statement on Saturday that the Peruvian government is evacuating the most vulnerable foreign tourists from Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Village using four helicopters.
Plans are in the works to help all tourists departing from Aguas Calientes/Machu Picchu Village, the Peruvian government has informed the U.S. Embassy. The ministry tweeted on Sunday that they had assisted nearly 400 visitors from Machu Picchu by escorting them to Ollantaytambo District, northwest of Cusco, where they were met by buses taking them to the airport.
The ministry announced plans to “facilitate humanitarian flights” with priority given to the elderly and those in vulnerable situations, on Saturday. The United States Department of State has issued a travel advisory advising its citizens to reconsider travel to the country in light of the ongoing violence and other countries including the United Kingdom and Spain have issued similar warnings.
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As a result of the warnings, Daniels and McLaughlin left Lima on a Sunday night flight, while Gray left on a Tuesday. Daniels said, “We can get to Cusco airport, that airport is open, which would transport us to Lima.” She added that she would make her way once trains were operating again.
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