One Year Of The Castillo Government In Peru Between Crisis, Suspicions Of Corruption And Requests For Dismissal

Pedro Castillo celebrates this Thursday a year as president against prognosis. Since taking office as head of the Government of Peru, the man of multiple crises has done nothing but overshadow the expectations of his voters, assemble and disarm cabinets, multiply corruption scandals and dodge calls for dismissal promoted by the opposition. in Congress.

The Government of Peru or erotic self-asphyxiation

Critical Zone – The Government of Peru or erotic self-asphyxiation, by Gabriela Wiener


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Castillo has become the weak president of an indomitable country. Among the long list of weaknesses is the absence of a political structure. A month ago, Castillo submitted his resignation as a member of the Peru Libre party with which he won the elections, after the leader of the political group, Vladimir CerrĂłn, sentenced in 2019 to four years in prison and disqualification from holding public office for diversion of public funds to cover electoral campaigns, asked him to take a step back before initiating a disciplinary process for “promoting the breakdown of party unity.” That was how Peru Libre went on to expand the ranks of the opposition.

For this reason, Castillo left the party and began to surround himself with a small number of extremely trustworthy people, most of them from his native province, Chota, located in northern Peru. “This type of quote of power has made the president have a structure based on interpersonal trust before the political issue. So, when the cases of corruption arrive, Castillo lacks the structure to deal with these problems,” says JosĂ© Alejandro Godoy, a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

At this time, Castillo is being investigated in five cases for corruption. Among the accusations is the suspicion of having committed irregularities for the adjudication of the Tarata bridge, in the purchase of biodiesel and in having incurred pressure to influence the promotion of the military. To this was added the case for the alleged plagiarism of his master’s thesis.

impeachment attempts

Simultaneously, with a myriad of judicial suspicions as a backdrop, opponents are trying to move forward with a new impeachment process. So far this year, Castillo has managed to dodge two impeachment attempts “due to moral incapacity”, with the memory still present of the early departures of former presidents Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and MartĂ­n Vizcarra, who survived a first impeachment motion but did not to a second. In this sense, Fujimorism constantly presses from Congress, as the main and strongest pillar of the opposition, betting on an exit due to the attrition of Castillo from power.

Castillo’s narrow margin of just 44,000 votes over right-wing populist candidate Keiko Fujimori marked the birth of his government as a weak administration. However, one possibility was that over the months the president managed to articulate new majorities to strengthen his Executive. But this did not happen. The resignation with which many voted only as an alternative to the return of Fujimorism, far from being mitigated, has increased, according the surveys.

The president’s lack of experience is another of his weak points. Castillo had never held an elective position. The rural teacher and trade unionist was neither governor, nor mayor, nor deputy, nor local legislator, nor councilor before arriving at the Casa de Pizarro, the seat of the Peruvian Government. The lack of experience in public management has had too high a cost for Peruvian society, which in the streets and in high politics see him as a “president incapable of governing.” To this is added, the lack of leadership that has been seen in the innumerable cabinet changes, which sought to give an image of refoundation but did nothing more than limit his support and surround him.

Last week, Castillo changed the Interior Minister for the seventh time since his arrival in the Government after the previous one created a special Police team to support the Prosecutor’s Office in the cases opened against Castillo and other high-ranking officials. “The lack of government leadership has affected the state’s ability to reward citizens’ rights, to guarantee public services and freedoms,” says Adriana Urrutia Pozzi-Escot, president of the Transparency Civil Association and director of the Professional School of Political Science from the Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University in Peru.

This crisis is also noticeable among Peruvians. Disapproval of Castillo exceeds 70% of citizens, the highest percentage in his year in office, according to the last poll of the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), published by the newspaper The Republic. But in addition, mistrust in the president has grown. While in August 2021, 53% believed Castillo’s word, now only 28% do. Before the second round, Castillo signed the so-called citizen’s proclamation with 12 points as minimum guarantees of democratic respect. “What we have seen is a degradation of the State’s capacity to respond to these demands,” says Urrutia Pozzi-Escot. “In 10 of the 12 commitments we have very serious alerts due to the lack of commitment to the electoral platform.”

For this reason, the opposition in Congress, one of the most discredited powers of the State, once again said this week that they will advance with a new “vacancy request” against Castillo. Even when it is clear that an eventual removal of the president does not solve the underlying problem that makes Peru one of the most unstable countries in political terms. In that sense, the figure of weak president does not help. “Castillo’s weakness can lead not only to the dismantling of the State but also to the confidence of citizens in the democratic system,” says the president of the Transparency Civil Association in a country where one in two citizens does not agree with the idea of that democracy is preferable to any other form of government, according to the latest report of Latinobarometer.



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