Can President Pedro Castillo rule Peru? | International


In order not to fall into fatalism, we must answer yes! But unfortunately, on this occasion, we also have to consider a double dilemma. On the one hand, the absence of a State endowed with capacities and autonomy, and the precariousness of political organizations at different levels, make the governance of the country very difficult. On the other hand, the political and personal origin of President Castillo, rural teacher, farmer, leftist trade unionist, is not only the most shocking symbolic event of Peruvian politics of the new century, but at the same time constitutes a difficult reality. Neither President Castillo nor the left in Peru have government experience, and this is not an assessment but a reality.

But there is always a first time. Even though mistakes and bad decisions were inevitable, President Castillo showed great inexperience in forming his first cabinet. There is no doubt that he was forced to negotiate with the Peru Libre political party, which helped him get started, and that he did not want to show a cabinet that had rallied to his main proposals for change. However, the President lost his moment of greatest political capital to carry out a better negotiation. The election of Prime Minister Guido Bellido was bad, not necessarily because his ideas could be questionable, but because Bellido had his own political agenda, not bothering to sabotage the president’s own agenda and create an atmosphere of uncertainty. An example is his tweet on Gas de Camisea, where the problem is not the legitimate intention of the Peruvian government to renegotiate contracts with the company, but the threat of nationalization of the field in the same direction, while it was not always in dialogue with the company, and a few days after President Castillo announced to the OAS that his government was not going to expropriate anyone.

The appointment of Mirtha Vázquez as Prime Minister has already drawn strong criticism from right-wing sectors. The first She was a lawyer for the peasants and ronderos facing the mining industry. He notably defended Máxima Acuña, the peasant woman who refused to cede her property to the giant Newmont Mining Company and won the Goldman Prize for the defense of the environment. However, her stint at the Congress of the Republic, where she held the post of president, under the previous government of Francisco Sagasti, has left the proof of her integrity, her commitment to democracy and an attitude of dialogue. His election represents a radical change in the Castillo government. In his first statements, the first seeks to lower tensions by stressing that the proposal for a Constituent Assembly is not a government priority, while the right is seeking to strengthen its networks against the government with a signature campaign to avoid said assembly.

However, politics is not like mathematics, and the order of the factors changes the product. The need for political negotiation with the ruling Peru Libre party continues to be a necessity and the president’s political capital is much more deteriorated. The threat of a collision between Congress and the Executive could be heightened with Bellido’s departure from government and his return to his seat in Congress.

In this context, President Castillo must recall that public opinion is and always has been an important source of power for the presidency. The government has so far had a terrible communications strategy; you cannot try to rule a country without wielding power or without communicating it. While you need to establish clear and open channels with the press, you also need to find complementary communication strategies that compensate for your limited communication skills. A Prime Minister like Mirtha Vázquez with experience and skills in this area can be of great help in overcoming these limitations.

The new government faces several challenges, including building political alliances, which will not be easy, but Minister Vázquez has experience in Congress. However, building alliances with social organizations is also essential. Social organizations not only lead struggles for demands that lead them to confront the state, but they can also be excellent allies in change and in its construction. Since the 1990s, the State has sought to do without these organizations, and even to clientize them mainly at the local level. President Castillo and a renewed left should change this situation and take advantage of the fact that the pandemic has awakened new experiences of organization and solidarity between the urban and rural sectors to survive crises (covid committees, common funds, etc.).

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In economic and redistributive terms, there is no doubt that there are needs and profound changes to be made. However, these changes, as in the example of Camisea gas, require less belligerent expressions and show much more daring and means to be able to renegotiate and find solutions. The revenues of the extractive industries are essential and sensitive for the national economy, but also the local impacts of their operations. It is an important but thin line to walk, and the strengthening of government in these areas is unclear.

Finally, in the field of culture, there is a gigantic task in a country deeply divided and flogged with discrimination in various ways. The new minister, a human rights activist whose brother was the victim of the La Cantuta massacre, has the challenge of making culture a space for intercultural dialogue and respect among Peruvians. This at a time when different visions of the country, its identity and its memory, in particular that of the internal armed conflict, seem to be disputing and pushing us away.

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Disclaimer: This article is generated from the feed and is not edited by our team.

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