Dozens of Israelis rescued from Peru

With a state of emergency declared and unrest sweeping the country, the travelers were trapped at the Machu Pichu tourist site.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two Israeli companies on Saturday rescued dozens of Israeli tourists who had gotten stuck in the ancient Peruvian citadel of Machu Pichu after a state of emergency was declared last week with unrest sweeping the country due to the ouster of President Pedro Castillo.

Passportcard Insurance and Magnus Search and Rescue announced that they had successfully extracted the group after a 15-hour trek. The tourists, led by local guides and Magnus personnel, walked 10 kilometers through the rain and then endured a six-hour bus ride to the city of Cusco.

Regular access and egress from the UNESCO heritage site was impossible, as hundreds of thousands of Castillo’s supporters had stopped trains from running throughout the country and demonstrators blocked roads in protest.

One of the rescued travelers, Esther Benjamin, told Israel Hayom, “The routes are blocked and the demonstrators don’t take into account if [people trying to get through] are tourists or not. They broke the railroad tracks leading to Machu Pichu, the only way to get in and out of there.”

Video uploaded to the Ynet news site showed large rocks placed down the middle of the single track that leads through the mountainous territory. A long line of tourists, not just Israelis, are first seen walking along the line and then driving slowly in buses and mini-buses accompanied by police cars, going around patches of bricks and other debris strewn on the road.

CNN had reported Friday that some 300 trekkers were stuck in Machu Pichu. An additional 5,000 visitors at least were reportedly stranded in Cusco since its airport was shut down due to the protests.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed to Ynet Sunday that all Israelis who had been trapped in remote sites were now safe, if not out of the country yet.

It also repeated its Tuesday travel warning for the Latin American country, when the ministry had stated that “in light of the most recent political developments in Peru,” Israeli citizens there should “avoid gatherings and demonstrations as much as possible at this time, and be attentive to local instructions, the media and the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

President Castillo was arrested 12 days ago on charges of rebellion and conspiracy for attempting to overturn the country’s Constitution by trying to dissolve the legislature so that it would not impeach him on corruption charges.

It was the third attempt to impeach the former union activist and teacher after months of corruption scandals rocked the country, which Castillo had said were orchestrated by his political opposition to bring him down.

His attempt to disband Congress failed, with the lawmakers hitting back at what they deemed a “coup attempt” and deciding to impeach him by a vast majority.

The legislature then voted to install Vice-President Dina Boluarte in his place until 2026, making her the country’s first female leader. She was the one to declare a 30-day state of emergency after widespread protests by Castillo’s followers began.