Alberto Fujimori and Pedro Castillo are together. Fate has brought together the two former Peruvian presidents in the same prison in Lima and has also brought them together in history. Both gave a self-coup. The right-wing Fujimori, who ruled Peru between 1990 and 2000, succeeded with the fujimorazo of 1992. Castillo, who has lasted in office for a year and a half, did not go beyond a mere pronouncement, he was left absolutely alone and was detained by his own bodyguards.
After trying to dissolve Congress on Wednesday and intervene in the judiciary, President Castillo was removed and arrested. This Thursday he appeared by videoconference before a court, which extended his provisional detention for another seven days. The Prosecutor’s Office accuses him of the crime of rebellion. Meanwhile, the police searched the premises of the Government Palace under the supervision of the State Attorney General, Patricia Benavides.
I had requested asylum
Castillo, accused of rebellion, was arrested by his own escorts when he went to the Mexican embassy to take refuge
In said telematic hearing, broadcast openly, Castillo did not testify, although later Benavides – who in October sent Congress a “constitutional complaint” against Castillo for corruption – went to where he is detained to take his statement. His lawyer, the former prime minister, Aníbal Torres, argued in his defense that “the simple declaration of dissolving congress does not constitute any of the crimes charged” and that in the end the measure was not carried out.
The former president is being held in the General Directorate of Special Police Operations (Diroes), which houses a special prison, where Fujimori is also serving a 25-year prison sentence.
Castillo was transferred to La Diroes handcuffed and by helicopter, after being detained by his escorts, who took him to the Police headquarters in the Peruvian capital when he tried to reach the Mexican embassy in Lima after requesting asylum from the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who this Thursday positioned himself in his favor. “Since he won, he was the victim of harassment, confrontation, his adversaries did not accept that he governed,” López Obrador said.
“They were weakening him until they managed to remove him; It is the decision that these elites made, I do not think it is the best for the people, I am very sorry for the people of Peru,” added the Mexican leader, after confirming that he had agreed to Castillo’s asylum request, before being stopped. López Obrador did not hesitate to speak of “racism” towards the ousted president.
The new president wants to “extirpate”
Vice President Dina Boluarte was sworn in as president before Congress the same Wednesday, after the legislature dismissed Castillo by a large majority. In her first speech, the first woman to preside over Peru promised to “remove” corruption from the State, asked the deputies for time to organize their Executive and assured that she intends to govern until July 2026, when the five-year term of office expires. the one who was chosen in 2021 along with Castillo.
“I am not going to ask, nor could I, that they not audit my government, nor that the decisions that will have to be made are not scrutinized. What I am requesting is a term, valuable time to rescue our country from corruption and misrule,” Boluarte said before the plenary session of Congress. “I have seen with revulsion how the press and judicial bodies have reported shameful acts of robbery against the money of all Peruvians; this cancer must be rooted out”, added the new president, before calling for “a broad process of dialogue between all the political forces represented or not in Congress”.
Against the Peruvian “elite”
Mexican President López Obrador speaks of “racism”
In Lima it is almost impossible to find an analyst who believes that Boluarte will finish his term. Although she immediately distanced herself from the self-coup, Boluarte came to power in the same presidential formula as a candidate for the Marxist party Peru Libre. Although she had already distanced herself from the party and from Castillo, the new president barely has any political experience or a sector of her own to lean on. A 60-year-old lawyer, Boluarte is a mid-rank civil servant who worked in the Civil Registry.
The lack of political experience has taken its toll on Castillo from day one and the best example is his grotesque exit from the presidency, which also showed the solitude in which this 53-year-old rural teacher and ultra-left trade unionist found himself, who gave the surprise in last year’s elections by narrowly prevailing over the far-right Keiko Fujimori, thanks in large part to the massive support of the disinherited Peruvians, the neglected peasant and indigenous population.
It is true that since the beginning of his term or even before he was sworn in in July 2021, the establishment – political opposition, the majority of Congress, businessmen or the media – bombarded Castillo by land, sea and air; but no less certain is that the leftist leader was unable to build the message of stability that the Peruvians required.
Government crises were constant during his year and a half in power, naming a total of 81 ministers, an incredible number. Castillo did not take long to break with Peru Libre and its leader, the Marxist Vladimir Cerrón, losing the little faithful parliamentary support he had: 17 deputies who on Wednesday did not hesitate to endorse his dismissal after the self-coup.
In all this time, except for announcing a timid agrarian reform, it cannot be said that Castillo has carried out any policy or revolutionary action that justifies the pressure of the “elite”, in the words of López Obrador. A “harassment” that is also interpreted from the left in terms of an underlying atavistic racism between the white and the cholo.
However, there has been a trickle of corruption scandals involving relatives and people close to Castillo and have been aired incessantly by the main Peruvian media, which yesterday did not hesitate to call him a “dictator” within seconds of deliver the message to the Nation with which he tried to dissolve Congress.
The rebellion case is the seventh judicial process faced by Castillo, who was also subjected to three impeachments in Congress for corruption. The first two surpassed them. The third had to be voted on Wednesday and Castillo, certain that he was going to be dismissed, decided to take to the mountains, although without even having prepared a plan to flee the country.
If Fujimori’s coup had the support of the Armed Forces, the police, political sectors and part of the establishment, Castillo was left more than alone in his frustrated coup attempt.
Incidents between demonstrators and the police in a protest against the Congress of Peru
The Peruvian National Police (PNP) launched tear gas on Thursday against a small group of demonstrators who were protesting in the center of Lima to demand the closure of Congress, which the day before dismissed the now former president Pedro Castillo, after he announced the dissolution of the Parliament
The incidents began in the old town of the capital, where some 200 citizens gathered to demand the closure of Parliament and some of them the release of the former president, who since yesterday has been held in the Barbadillo prison.
The group of protesters wanted to go to the vicinity of the Legislative Palace, but the police officers intervened with tear gas.
The streets of downtown Lima also witnessed clashes on Wednesday between a group of supporters and critics of Pedro Castillo. (EFE)