Peru is experiencing a new episode of its long history of institutional crisis. Today, a new president occupies the seat in the Government Palace, only 16 months after the country elected the leftist teacher Pedro Castillo, and Peruvians are once again suffering uncertainty about the political future of their Andean nation.
In his time in office, the teacher of humble origins has been cornered and unable to implement any social change because of a neoliberal unicameral congress that spent its time not legislating but plotting non-stop to impeach Castillo.
Congress’s decision to remove Castillo from office came after he tried to dissolve it, and that political move gave his former vice president Dina Boluarte a free hand to abandon Castillo’s loyalty, which got her there in the first place, to take his seat. The bottom line is that the coup was orchestrated by the rich elites of the country with encouragement from abroad.
According to Sebastian Fernandez De Soto, Peru analyst for Control Risks, “Castillo made a hasty decision to try to dissolve Congress, probably hoping to have the support of the people and the Armed Forces, but the reaction of the power elites was the opposite.”
Today, people are in the streets demanding justice and urging new elections. The death toll has risen to seven, and the number of people injured, including children, has increased to more than 100 due to police brutality. Meanwhile, the international community has strongly rejected this development in a sister country of the region, including strong statements from the presidents of Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, and Mexico condemning the coup and demanding Pedro Castillo’s release from prison.
The leftist teacher is the sixth president Peru has had since 2016, and this political instability has shaken confidence in the country’s credit rating, which had already been downgraded
Analyst Fernandez de Soto explained, “Peru has a dysfunctional political system, and this has once again become evident. The recent situation has accelerated the country’s deterioration, along with the depreciation of the local currency, which would compromise the evolution of the Gross Domestic Product in 2023. The crisis is deepening economic uncertainty, which could stimulate the paralysis of investments in key sectors such as mining,” he said.
But the people who popularly elected Castillo as their president are furious and believe the election has been stolen from them. Not only do they reject Bularte because of her illegitimacy, but they are also calling for a new constitution to replace the one imposed on them in 1993 by the reactionary Alberto Fujimori with one that would not grant power of the Congress over the figure of the president, who on this occasion was democratically elected.
There is a repetition now of the painful images of the protests that occurred in the country at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 under the mandates of the ousted Martin Vizcarra (2018-2020) and Manuel Merino (2020). People beaten, the nights illuminated by firelight on barricades, and people fleeing police tear gas.
Thousands of Peruvians remain in front of Congress, demanding its closure. What will happen next? The only sure path to peace will be for Peru’s political leaders to respect the vote of its citizens and the human rights of its people, and for them to do that, the people will have to remain determined and mobilized.
Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US
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