Peru No Longer Wants to “Wag its Tail” in the Backyard of the US

By Geraldina Colotti on August 11, 2021

image: The Hindu

In what stands out as the second progressive wave of this century for Latin America, the Peru of rural teacher Pedro Castillo, who assumed the presidency on the bicentennial of independence, promises to do its part. The long and complicated wait for the ratification of the result and the aggressiveness of the conservative forces that support Fujimorism show, however, that his project will not have an easy life.

The oligarchy and the large multinational interests, reflected in the elites of the urban areas, have formed a ring around the Popular Force party. A party that is a bastion of the South American radical right, represented by Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the former Peruvian dictator, in power from 1990 to 2000, who obtained 49.87% in the second round of the presidential elections.

Primary school teacher Pedro Castillo, a trade unionist, at the head of a party such as Peru Libre, has his main pool of votes in the rural areas of the country, inhabited mainly by poor peasants, mestizos and indigenous people, and obtained 50.2% of the votes. In Congress, elected for the next 5 years, his party has only 37 seats out of 130, plus the 5 of Veronika Mendoza in Juntos por el Perú.

Therefore, he does not have a majority that would allow him to easily implement the government program, summarized around the promise “never again poor people in a rich country”, and that of a National Constituent Assembly, which could repeal the 1993 Fujimori Constitution, drafting a Magna Carta “That has the color, smell and taste of the people”.

Since 2018, from the resignation of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, to the impeachment of Martin Vizcarra in 2020 and the resignation of his successor Manuel Merino de Lama, to the compromise of Francisco Sagasti, who led the country to elections, the large power groups that divided the country, settled their accounts through lawfare and institutional coups.

After thirty years of unbridled neoliberalism, 19% of young people between 15 and 24 years of age in Peru neither study nor work, while the profits of the multinationals that exploit the resources of the world’s third largest producer of copper, zinc and tin and sixth largest producer of gold, have increased drastically. In a country among the most affected by the Covid-19 and which, according to the International Monetary Fund itself, had an increase of almost 2 million poor people, the people responded with the struggle and then with the vote. And now, it has no intention of letting the imposition of artificial rules and institutions that close the doors to change.

A first tug of war with the oligarchy was seen after the appointments made by Castillo, starting with that of Prime Minister Guido Bellido. The right wing demonstrated violently in front of the president’s house, but the people ran to defend it. And, meanwhile, as in the most classic CIA script, implemented from the time of Allende to today’s Venezuela, came the price hike and the media attack on the new government: as if to set prices were not to benefit the merchants and the big economic groups …

The main issue that is stirring up Fujimorism is that of the “fight against terrorism”, given that some government officials are accused of sympathizing with the past communist guerrillas of Shining Path, whose militants have been in prison for thirty years. The Shining Path’s top leader, nearly ninety-year-old Abimael Guzman, is dying in prison after 29 years of solitary confinement and torture and was recently rushed to the hospital.

Another popular theme on the right is the fear of “communism”, translated to “Castro-Chavismo”. But many deputies took the oath in Congress raising their fist and declaring their position in favor of Latin American integration and a second independence.

Peru Libre is also a party that defines itself as “Marxist-Leninist-Mariateguist”, which is part of the Sao Paulo Forum, whose militants and leaders have participated in the world congresses organized in Caracas in recent years. In foreign policy, it considers itself “internationalist and anti-imperialist”, and supports the revolutionary processes in Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia.

For this reason, the declarations of the Peruvian Foreign Minister, Héctor Béjar, regarding a change of attitude in favor of multilateralism and non-interference in the internal problems of other countries, and for the resumption of UNASUR, aroused great hope. Béjar, an 85 year-old former guerrilla who knew Che Guevara, also expressed his gratitude for the speech rejecting Almagro’s role in the OAS delivered by the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, before the foreign ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), AMLO also condemned the US policy of “sanctions.

As anticipated by the party’s spokesman, Vladimir Cerrón, Peru could leave the Lima Group, as Mexico, Bolivia and Argentina, three nations to the left, have already done. However, the decision is not yet official, in Peru, just as the positions within the government alliance around the main objective for which the infamous Lima Group was founded to undermine the legitimacy of Venezuelan institutions, starting with the election of President Nicolás Maduro, are not univocal. Given the current internal balance and the weight of those pushing for a “social democratic path” in economy that would be accompanied by a moderate position also in foreign policy, it would already be a great step forward if Peru were to follow the steps of Mexico and Argentina.

Meanwhile, Castillo was recognized as head of the Armed Forces also by the high military commanders, in front of whom he honored the women and men who built independence. “I invite you to keep alive the mystique that has characterized the women and men who forged the history of our country to achieve a more inclusive and tolerant Peru,” I say.

The President of the Council of Ministers, Guido Bellido said: “For more than 200 years there has been an official Peru and an unofficial Peru, a Peru that has everything and another that has nothing. A Peru that is forgotten and discriminated against and another that had all the authority. We are not against anyone, we are here to support the 33 million Peruvians, so that everyone has better conditions and opportunities”.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – Cuba