If you are traveling to Peru in the upcoming weeks you probably have many questions about this situation, and how it all started. Below is all the information you need to know to understand our current situation.
Pedro Castillo, teacher and leftist
Castillo was born on October 19, 1969, in Puña, a town in the province of Chota, in the department of Cajamarca, the third of nine children and the son of two illiterate farmers.
He combined his education with agricultural work since childhood and, after completing his training, he worked as a teacher.
In fact, Castillo made his profession one of the axes of his campaign and the pencil his symbol and gained prestige he enjoyed in rural areas of Peru.
“Teacher’s word”, “palabra de maestro”, he often used to say to close his speeches.
He also highlighted his past as a rondero or member of the peasant patrols, and some community defense organizations, and he even went on horseback to cast his vote.
Another aspect that distinguished him and that he exploited in the race for the presidency was his origin: the Cajamarca region, in the northern highlands of Peru.
It is one of the poorest parts of the country, despite its rich mineral deposits, and that put him in a good position to argue one of his campaign slogans: “No more poor in a rich country.”
Along these lines, he promised that he would stand up to the large transnational mining companies that exploit Peruvian soil.
Frequently compared to former Bolivian president Evo Morales or Ecuadorian Rafael Correa, Castillo himself tried to distance himself from other much less popular leftist figures such as Hugo Chávez or Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela.
Thanks to his support base in rural areas, Castillo managed, with a narrow margin, to prevail over Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori and who was trying to become president for the third time.
Instability and Vladimir Cerron
Far from expected, stability did not come to the country either.
During the time he was in power, the president faced several government crisis changes of ministers, with dozens of resignations in less than 2 years.
Shortly after Castillo’s assignation as president, disagreements began with Vladimir Cerrón, leader of the Perú Libre formation, an orthodox left-wing politician who helped him build his candidacy and lead him to the presidency.
The break with Cerrón would occur last July, costing Castillo the support of his legislators in Congress.
December 7th . 2022
After two previous attempts by the opposition in Congress to remove him from power, the legislature ended up removing him on December 7, declaring his vacancy from office due to “permanent moral incapacity” to govern.
Castillo decided to dissolute the Congress, to establish “an exceptional government” which, he assured, would govern through decree law until a new Parliament with constituent powers drafted a new Constitution.
An announcement that was questioned by the opposition and also questioned other authorities, including the Police and the Armed Forces, generated a wave of resignations from senior officials.
The accusation of corruption and destitution
After the declaration of vacancy, vice president, Dina Boluarte, assumed the presidency of the country until the end of the presidential term in July 2026.
Castillo, after his announcement, appeared before the police prefecture in Lima, where he was arrested.
Meanwhile, several accusations of corruption that involve members of his family weigh on the already ex-president, also affecting him directly.
In fact, last October, the prosecutor’s office filed a constitutional complaint against the president, whom he points out for allegedly leading “a criminal organization” to enrich himself with state contracts and obstruct investigations.
Last presidents of Peru
But with his removal, the political crisis in Peru is far from over.
Castillo has been the fifth president since 2017.
His successor, Dina Boularte, will face many of the problems that ended up condemning the rural teacher, mainly the fragmentation in Congress and the difficulty in forming a capable government with sufficient support to develop her government agenda.
What is the state of emergency in Peru?
A state of emergency was declared On Wednesday, December 14th one week after the attempt of a self-coup by former president Pedro Castillo on Dec 7th which was followed by violent protests in different cities of Peru by his supporters, causing social unrest, vandalism against public and private institutions, and attacks against the personal integrity of people and authorities
This is an exception regime provided by the Constitution in case of disturbance of internal peace order, catastrophe, or serious circumstances that affect the life of the people in the nation
Will the Armed Forces intervene?
The Armed Forces will support and not replace the National Police, which is still in charge of internal order.
What are the restrictions?
(1) People can do any activities: go to parties, restaurants, museums, cinemas, etc, but are not allowed to partake in activities that infringe the public order like any time of vandalism and protests that attend against private property. Or integrity of civilians (2) there is freedom of movement and transit within the country, and traveling for tourists is Permitted, to do so our military forces are taking back the roads and airports that were taken by protestors (3) police and army can get into a home or party if they considered it necessary.
A “curfew” has not been decreed in Lima., Cities like Arequipa, Cusco, and Puno have a curfew from 8 pm to 4 am
How long will it last and what departments will it cover?
The State of Emergency will last for Thirty (30) calendar days and will be applied in all the country, ending on January 13th, 2023.
To the moment, Peru has 23 deaths caused by the confrontations during the protests and vandalic acts since December 7th, 2022.
Which our last video about this theme, we hope with will be informative.