This last week was one of the tensest since Pedro Castillo became Peru’s president last May. The Congress, with a right-wing member’s majority, is eager to disarm the executive branch, so they can technically annul Castillo’s electoral triumph over the extreme right candidate Keiko Fujimori.
For those who do not follow the South American country’s internal policies, this may seem like a last-minute move from the right sectors, but it is not. The coup was immediately set into motion once Castillo won the presidential runoff early this year.
The first step was to cast doubts over his electoral victory, and clearly and strongly divide the country over this issue. To do so, Keiko Fujimori spread accusations of systematic fraud in the polling stations where Castillo won, and fill the media with this argument to poison the public opinion against the leftist candidate. At the same time, she filed appeals to throw out 200,000 votes, mainly in impoverished rural areas, before the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) to delay as much as possible Castillo’s legal victory. However, they could not succeed, which must not be interpreted as they did not cause damage to the reputation of the recently elected president in the process.
A controversial cabinet reshuffle this week has served to show just how difficult it can be to implement radical and redistributive change. President Pedro Castillo won Peru’s June 6th elections in the second round. His flagship policies were; a new constitution and the nationalization of natural resources. The expulsion of US forces (military bases, USAID, DEA) was also part of the winning manifesto. However, all those promises have run up against corporate interests, which appear to have forced the government into a corner following the controversial cabinet reshuffle.
When President Castillo was officially sworn in, in July, he made clear his intention to carry out the changes Peruvians voted for. He appointed Guido Bellido, as Prime Minister; an indigenous Quechua and a senior leader of the socialist Peru Libre party. Marxist professor Hector Bejar was appointed Foreign Minister. His first act as Minister was to withdraw from the anti-Venezuela ‘Lima Group’, leaving it without its headquarters.
However, the pressure began to be felt from day one. Every single national media outlet aggressively attacked President Castillo for choosing Bellido. Even the liberal La Republica newspaper employed the same McCarthyite language to implore Castillo to incorporate liberal establishment figures from the former administrations.
Congratulations President Pedro Castillo Terrones! We salute him from Cuba and wish him success in his management, wrote on Twitter the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel
After a wait of more than 40 days since the completion of the second electoral round, the candidate of the Peru Libre party, the teacher Pedro Castillo Terrones, was officially proclaimed, on Monday night, as the new president of Peru.
Congratulations President Pedro Castillo Terrones! We salute him from Cuba and wish him success in his management, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel, wrote on Twitter.