Peru’s Political Nightmare: A Coup Attempt Leading to Unwanted Leadership

Peru’s 2021 presidential elections ended with Pedro Castillo, a left-wing teacher from the rural state of Cajamarca, winning by a narrow margin. Though a victory for Castillo, the narrow margin of victory showed that the Peruvian people were split on whether to accept their country’s new leader. 

While some praised his socialist policies, others argued that he was an inexperienced and unqualified leader. Many cited a contentious Jan. 2022 interview hosted by renowned Mexican CNN television presenter, Fernando del Rincon, in which Castillo’s ignorance of domestic and geopolitical issues was evident.

However, once Castillo was impeached by the Peruvian Congress as a result of a botched coup attempt on Dec. 7, 2022, his inexperience was no longer at the forefront of political discourse. Castillo’s exit from the political spotlight provided Dina Boluarte, Peru’s vice president, the opportunity to ascend to the highest position in the country. But she was left in charge of stabilizing a country that lacked stability in every respect. Unrelenting protests that started in the first quarter of 2023 have primarily been brought on by Peru’s political, economic and social unrest, which has significantly increased public mistrust of the administration.

Boluarte initially focused on calming Peruvian citizens and ensuring a peaceful transfer of power. However, she quickly faced a formidable obstacle as nationwide demonstrations broke out soon after Castillo’s impeachment. The public requested that the government be held accountable for a variety of problems, including political divisiveness, corruption and economic instability. Because of her lack of political experience and the precarious situation of the region, she has had trouble exercising power and gaining majority legitimacy. Since then, her popularity has reached an all-time low, and her administration has been dogged by allegations of corruption.

The rising cost of living, high unemployment rates and the perceived poor handling of the COVID-19 epidemic by the government were the main causes of the demonstrations that began in the first quarter of 2023. These have been the biggest protests the country has seen in years, with participants calling for an early election and a change in Peru’s political structure. 

As of right now, almost 2,000 people were injured and at least 60 people have died from the protests. In order to disperse the masses, Peruvian police were accused of employing excessive force and repression, further inflaming the populace’s resentment. 

Many Peruvians have criticized Boluarte’s handling of the protests, feeling that she hasn’t done enough to solve the problems that led to the demonstrations. The government’s response has been delayed, and the president has come under fire for allegedly making surface-level adjustments that fail to address the underlying reasons behind the growing crisis.

The public’s top issue is corruption, which has been a problem in Peru for years. Peru was placed 101 out of 180 countries in recent international corruption assessments. Many Peruvians think that the government hasn’t gone far enough in battling corruption and holding people in positions of authority responsible for misconduct. 

The Boluarte administration has made an effort to deal with Peru’s issues by putting economic reforms into place, such as raising public spending and making investments in infrastructure. However, these actions, have not been sufficient to placate the protesters and have even raised more concerns. This is a regressive step, as research has shown that economic reforms harm democracy’s capacity to combat corruption. Instead, increasing civil liberties and public rights may be among the most effective anti-corruption measures.

The country’s economic situation is another significant issue that is widely debated. The epidemic and the worldwide economic slump have had negative impacts on Peru’s economy, which is heavily dependent on commodities exports and tourism. The country registered the highest profit loss in history, even though other fellow Latin American countries are showing signs of market growth post-pandemic. Thus, the administration has come under fire for failing to support vulnerable groups and small enterprises adequately.

On the other hand, lack of transparency under Boluarte’s administration contributed to public decline in confidence toward the government. Her administration has been under fire for not disclosing enough information about its policies and intentions, and she has been accused of being distant and not interacting with the public. Boluarte, however, has resisted calls for her resignation, saying that she is dedicated to bringing about national stability and attending to popular concerns. 

In fact, recent reports of Boluarte inviting Peruvian politicians from all parties — confirmed by the head of Boluarte’s opposition Keiko Fujimori — showed that, during the event, politicians discussed strategic plans to take the country out of crisis.

However, the political scene has recently taken a turn on May 29, 2023, as Boluarte is now officially a suspect for allegedly laundering money as part of a criminal organization and is being investigated by Peruvian prosecutors. This is an ongoing probe, concurring with an investigation on Castillo for similar charges throughout Peru’s 2021 election presidential race.

As a result of Boluarte’s ascent to power, there have been persistent demonstrations, rising popular disapproval of the regime and growing difficulties. It remains to be seen if she will be able to maintain her political composure in the face of continuing violent protests and the public’s demand for early elections, or if she will be removed from office before any change is achieved.


News from the World

Leave a Reply