Crisis in Peru: the president’s party left the government of Pedro Castillo | Peru Libre turned to the opposition

From Lima

Rupture in the government of Pedro Castillo. Less than three months after the rural professor and left-wing union leader assumed the presidency, the party that brought him to power, Peru Libre (PL), has withdrawn his support. Its main leaders say they feel displaced from the government after the recent change of ministers and accuse the president of “going right”, a statement that does not reflect the progressive composition of the new ministerial cabinet. This occurs when Castillo is harassed by a right-wing coup that seeks to remove him from the opposition Congress. This rupture has been promoted by the secretary general of PL, a party that defines itself as Marxist-Leninist, Vladimir Cerrón., which with the ministerial changes has lost the important influence it had in the Executive. The right celebrates the division in the ruling party.

In Cerrón

The break between Castillo and PL has occurred after the president decided to change the ministerial cabinet headed by the congressman and leader of PL Guido Bellido, very close to Cerrón. Bellido tried to impose a party line defined by Cerrón that on many occasions publicly collided with the president, taking away his authority, and with other ministers, and developed a permanent confrontation, with the opposition that controls Congress but also with other members of the government. The extreme right led by Fujimori knew how to exploit this to attack Castillo’s presidency and build a coup coalition. In this scenario, Castillo decided to replace Bellido with a former left-wing legislator who is not a member of PL, Mirtha Vasquez, who has been president of the Congress and has a dialogue style that differentiates her from Bellido. The change has been applauded by sectors of the left and right, but it triggered the fury of Cerrón and his party leadership.

The new cabinet will have to ask Congress for a vote of confidence, where the government is a minority and is now weakened further by this rupture. However, not all the ruling party – 37 legislators out of a total of 130 in the unicameral Parliament – supports the decision of the party leadership to break with the government and deny the cabinet vote of confidence. The magnitude of the break led by Cerrón is still unclear. The extreme right -which has 43 votes- continues in its coup positionsBut the more moderate right has opened the door to give the new cabinet a vote of confidence, although it has not yet announced a decision.

A turn to the center-right?

In a statement, PL has announced that it will not give the new cabinet a vote of confidence because it represents “a political shift towards center-rightism.” However, Prime Minister Mirtha Vásquez is far from expressing this supposed right-wing movement. Vásquez has a long history on the left, an activist in the defense of human and women’s rights, a feminist and an environmentalist, she has been a lawyer for peasants facing the abuse of powerful mining transnational companies.. The PL leadership has threatened to expel the vice president from the party Dina Boluarte, Minister of Development and Social Inclusion, and the legislator Betsy Chávez, Minister of Labor, the two PL militants in the cabinet, for being part of the ministerial team that Cerrón has decided to declare war on. Boluarte and Chávez express a critical party line with Cerrón.

The new cabinet that Cerrón calls the right wing has resumed diplomatic relations with Venezuela, broken since the government of the business right of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016 – 2018), active promoter of the failed Lima Group. This decision has upset the right wing and the mainstream media, which promote a permanent state of war against the Nicolás Maduro regime and pressure the government in that direction. The new cabinet has marked a position on the issue, far from the right

The results of the break

“Cerrón’s break with the government is a mistake, he exaggerates when he talks about the right-wing government. This decision is not explained only by Cerrón’s ambition to have power, as the right says. There are a number of factors. Cerrón is a person with radical thinking, an orthodox and dogmatic Marxist-Leninist, behind this break there is a radical ideology that tends towards sectarianism. The position of Cerrón and PL also expresses the anger of the provinces against Lima. One possibility is that with this rupture, Cerrón will be isolated, but the other is that it will be strengthened in the provinces, “he told Page 12 the sociologist Alberto Adrianzén.

On the consequences of this rupture in the government, Adrianzén points out: “On the one hand Castillo is weakened losing PL votes in Congress, but at the same time the change of cabinet is positive for the government and opens a space for the possibility of lowering tensions and reducing polarization, and to modify the relationship with a sector of the opposition, that of the more moderate right, and to seek new air. It is difficult to say now if with this Castillo wins or loses more ”.

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