Monday, March 4

A new political crisis in Peru leads Pedro Castillo to form his third government team in six months

The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, has decided to renew his cabinet, the third government team since he took office on July 28. The announcement came this Monday in response to the resignation of the Prime Minister, Mirtha Vásquez, three days after the departure of the Interior Minister, Avelino Guillén. 14 ministers have left office in less than 200 days of government in the Latin American country.

“As I have always announced in my speeches, the cabinet is constantly being evaluated. For this reason, I have decided to renew it and form a new team,” Castillo said in a tweet on Monday.

The Government has not yet announced the names of the new members. It is also not known which sector of its multifaceted political space will occupy the place, nor if this decision will push or not the departure of the moderate Pedro Francke as head of Economy. What has become clear is that the internal crisis hitting the Executive is stronger than expected and changing names is not the solution.

In October, the president seemed to have opted for the moderate wing among his allies when, after removing seven members of the government, he replaced Prime Minister Guido Bellido with the environmental lawyer and human rights defender Mirtha Vásquez. This stage ended on Monday.

The opposition proposes the dismissal of Castillo

In parallel, the opposition advances. The third vice president of the Peruvian Congress, Patricia Chirinos, of the right-wing opposition party Avanza País, announced on Tuesday that she will present a constitutional accusation against the Peruvian president that could end her term. It is not the first time that Chirinos has moved in this way. Last November, she presented the motion to impeach Castillo, which did not get enough support in Congress.

“I have decided to present a Constitutional Accusation against President Castillo for his permanent constitutional infractions, his flagrant incapacity and the evident corruption of his Government. Now Congress will decide on his dismissal, through the corresponding political trial,” Chirinos said.

Castillo is going through his worst moment, with a cabinet that is falling apart and without strength in Congress, with the Peru Libre caucus divided and without political organizers in the Legislative that allow him to dodge the blows that will come from the opposition. The Peruvian president will have to evaluate if his trade union power and his territorial support, known as the “group of the Chotanos”, is enough to govern a country.

The Guillen case

Avelino Guillén resigned on Friday as Minister of the Interior in the midst of a state of emergency due to citizen insecurity in Lima and Callao. The official’s argument is that he did not feel the support of the president to remove the chief of police, Javier Gallardo, who was finally fired by Castillo.

The friction between Guillén and Gallardo has been developing for several weeks. The minister had publicly questioned the system of relays, promotions and appointments to key positions within the security forces. To this are added the allegations of corruption within the Police such as those reported by the IDL-Reporteros portal, whose sources affirm that in the promotion process directed by Gallardo, bribes were allegedly paid that reached 25,000 dollars in some cases .

“That is a thunderous silence, because it says a lot. He has expressed a position of clear and direct support for the Commander General of the Police,” Guillén said in a interview published on Sunday in the newspaper La República.

Vasquez’s resignation

Vásquez announced his resignation on Monday, a day after the president accepted the resignation of the interior minister. Vásquez took office after the resignation of the representative of the most radical wing of the Free Peru party, Guido Bellido. He came to the Government with a fresher air within the left, with a progressive, feminist profile and focused on human rights.

However, the rapprochement was short-lived. “We have reached a critical moment. The crisis in the sector of the Ministry of the Interior is not just any matter or circumstantial, it is the expression of a structural problem of corruption in various instances of the State,” said Vásquez.

In the letter, the former prime minister shows the tensions within the ruling space that have been accentuated by the crisis unleashed within the Ministry of the Interior by the management of the Police.

For Vásquez, the president’s condemnation of the head of the security forces should be categorical and without doubt. Vásquez, as well as Guillén, understood that it was not an isolated case, but rather a root problem that runs through all of Peruvian politics. After failing to influence the president’s position, he decided to join the long list of ministers who have left the Castillo government only half a year after he took office.