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Peru and Political Instability

By Eros Videmantay

On December 7th, 2022, President Pedro Castillo was thrown out of office and detained. The reason? Ostensibly, it was because he was trying to erase congress. But deeper than that, it was a sign of deep political corruption that has become evident in Peru. In December of 2022, there were protests on the streets of Lima, the capital, which injured many civilians. On January 4th, there was a strike that threatened to stop the Peruvian economy altogether. So how did a country get to this point?

The election for President in 2022 was a hectic one. Pedro Castillo won, but a little research shows that previously, he had zero campaign experience, having never ran for any office title beforehand. Due to COVID-19, Castillo and his inexperience rose to the top of the ballots, winning by slim margins. His opponent? Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Alberto Fujimori, himself a previous President of Peru. Currently, he sits in jail serving a 25-year prison sentence, charged with crimes against humanity (he killed and kidnapped several guerrilla members who opposed him and his party). Keiko herself was also charged with 15 months in prison after allegedly accepting money from a Brazilian organization, then pretending to pass it off as a donation from another source. Her lawyer managed to convince the Peru supreme court to appeal the sentence until Keiko finishes the election. So yes, she is running for president even though technically she’s supposed to be incarcerated. Beyond elections, guerrilla and other terrorist groups can manipulate the political current of Peru. Since the nation is very centralist - most of its resources are in the capital of Lima - these guerrilla groups, and even cartels, are attacking civilians that live in more rural areas. Castillo came from one of these villages, where there was no potable water or health care for its villagers. He fought for resources to be handed out in more rural areas - something that gave him a lot of clout. It brought back a decades-old discussion: that of inequality. The rich versus the poor, and more specifically, the Hispanic elite versus the Indigenous impoverished.

Now, Peru is tired of the political turmoil and all of the debates. There is talk of moving the 2026 presidential election up to 2024. For now, Castillo’s Vice President Dina Boularte has assumed the top role. We can only hope that the government acts swiftly to end any corruption in its political systems. Then again, it’s had decades to do so, and failed time and time again.

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