Pedro Castillo, from teacher to president of Peru

Invested head of state on July 28, Pedro Castillo would be, according to this daily columnist Trade, a politician still under construction, with still vague ideas.

Pedro Castillo’s big leap is worthy of the book of records. Teacher in the small village of San Luis de Puña, in the province of Chota, in the north of the country, he jumped suddenly to the presidency of the Republic.

In the documentary titled The teacher, his wife, Lilia Paredes, tells, more worried than proud, that Pedro Castillo left their home “January 7, a bit seized” [pour lancer sa campagne à Lima].

When he returned to his home, in the hamlet of Chugur, in the town of Anguia, a cloud of cameras awaited him after his triumph in the first round of the presidential election on April 11.

Unprecedented story

To paint his portrait, let’s compare him to other Peruvians with meteoric rise. Alejandro Toledo [président de 2001 à 2006] has had an impressive route, starting from the village of Ferrer, also in the Cordillera, north of Lima. But, like the majority of Native American presidents of modest origins in Latin America (including Benito Juárez, Mexico), Toledo came to power when he was already integrated into the ruling class and lived in a large city.

The story of Pedro Castillo is therefore unprecedented in Peru. In the region there remains the priceless example of Evo Morales, for whom Castillo proclaimed his admiration during their exchanges. (Let’s put aside Lula, in Brazil, who was a worker and trade unionist but who had a long political career and presented several candidacies before reaching the top of the state.)

The smell and taste of a newcomer

Evo Morales was indeed born in a rural and socio-economic context comparable to that of Castillo, but the journey of the former Bolivian president was longer and more substantial: he held trade union functions of national scope (and not during a single strike), he was a deputy in 1997, he ran for president in 2002, where he came second. When he was elected president in 2005, he was already part of the political class.

The new Peruvian president still has the smell and the taste of a newcomer, to paraphrase the terms used to qualify what he promises to inject into the future Constitution – one of his campaign commitments. More precisely, he wants this text to have “The color, the smell and the taste of the people”.

He made himself known to the party that served as his platform (Perú libre) and to the

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Fernando Vivas

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Complicated beginnings

After his investiture, on July 28, the state of grace for Pedro Castillo will have been very short, if there ever was one. Since that date, “The schoolmaster is going through a period of crisis which does not seem to end”, writes the site The Country America. Its foreign minister, a former guerrilla, was forced to resign barely nineteen days after his appointment, for old statements recently revealed by the media. He had argued that terrorism in Peru was started by the national navy and not by the Shining Path Maoist group. But Pedro Castillo’s troubles don’t end there. Its Prime Minister as well as the leader of Free Peru, the party which brought him to power, are targeted by the investigation of a prosecutor who suspects them of illicit financing of various electoral campaigns. The Chamber of Deputies will have to vote (or not) on confidence in the government. However, the new president does not have a majority.

Source

El Comercio belongs to the influential dailies in the Peruvian media landscape. Since 1839, he wants to be innovative while being of conservative obedience and tries to defend an “independent and true” spirit. Generalist, it also offers

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