A stranded American is speaking out about the ongoing crisis in Peru, where protests have broken out amid unrest over the ouster of former president Pedro Castillo.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Brian Vega was on vacation and visiting a town near Machu Picchu when the trouble began, according to ABC affiliate station WPLG. Now, he says he’s one of hundreds of Americans struck there.
“They’re rioting, burning things down,” he told the outlet of the protests. “The only way into this town is via train and from what I understand, they’ve disassembled train tracks and protestors are also blocking the train line.”
In a statement shared on his Facebook page, Vega said they “have not been provided with a solution or date for safe evacuation.”
“They’re very worried,” Vega told WPLG of his wife and two children.
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Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement that Miami-Dade Police Sergeant Jessenia Muñoz is also currently unable to get out of Peru.
“We are concerned that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Brian Vega and Miami-Dade Police Sergeant Jessenia Muñoz are among the American travelers now struggling to return home from Peru,” Cava said in a statement. “My office reached out to the White House to ask for the assistance of the administration in helping Captain Vega, Sergeant Muñoz, and any other American travelers in Peru return safely to the United States.”
“We are aware of the reports,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council told PEOPLE when asked about Americans who say they’re stranded in the South American country. “U.S. Embassy Peru has continually evaluated the security situation in Peru and will keep providing updates and assistance to U.S. citizens as appropriate.”
The U.S. Department of State did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The ongoing unrest began after Castillo was removed from office and arrested following his attempt to dissolve congress, which was due to vote on his impeachment, according to The Guardian.
After the attempt fell through, congress voted to remove him and he was arrested, per the outlet. Then, vice president Dina Boluarte was sworn in, fueling additional unrest.
The new government has since declared a national state of emergency, per the Associated Press. As part of the declaration, a number of freedoms have been restricted, including the rights of assembly, reported the news agency.