Permanent coup d’état in Peru by Aníbal Garzón (Le Monde Diplomatic)

n On December 7, the Peruvian Congress impeached President Pedro Castillo. Congress then declared the head of state guilty of “crimes of rebellion” and had him jailed.The prosecutor asked the Constitutional Court to grant Castillo his 18-month pretrial detention period. bottom.

While the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) refers to “the supreme means of resisting tyranny and oppression”, Article 346 of the Peruvian Criminal Code states that rebellion shall last “at least 10 years and not more than 20 years.” ”. Those in power are clearly eager to denounce any rebellion as a threat to order. For social movements, on the other hand, rebellion can be a means of building the new world they aspire to. But what if it is power itself that is to be rebelled against?

On April 11, 2021, to everyone’s surprise, an unknown politician won the first round of the Peruvian presidential election with 18.92% of the vote. Free Peru (Peru, Peru) founded by Vladimir Theron who was indigenous and came from one of the poorest cities in the country. was a candidate for (named after the Peruvian intellectual José Carlos Maríategui, 1894-1930).

His victory was cynical to Lima’s neoliberal and often racist political elite. They were accustomed to leading the country without worrying about rural problems, and were quick to compare left-wing projects to the Shining Path guerrilla group and its exploits. Wanting to convene a parliament, he actuated the levers of power to thwart a threat from Castillo, who was seen as a “communist” who spoke of social change.

media smear campaign

As usual, this started with the media, especially the two major dailies, El Comercio When La RepubblicaComercio Group belongs to the Milo Quesada family, one of Peru’s richest families, and controls about 80% of the country’s publications. (1) It also owns tourism, mining, real estate and banking companies. This group took advantage of Alberto Fujimori’s dictatorship (1990-2000). In 2011, two journalists El Comercio, Patricia Montero and Jose Jara explained that they were “fired for refusing to follow instructions to support Keiko Fujimori’s candidacy.” [during the 2011 presidential campaign] and attack the then president [Ollanta] Humara (2). the second most read newspaper in the country, La Repubblica, It is run by the founder’s son, Gustavo Mohme Llona (died in 2000). He is a businessman with ties to another part of the neoliberal elite, which is centered around Popular Action (Acción Popular).

Together, these two publications launched a smear campaign against Castillo. Then, following his victory, he made a direct attack in the second round of elections on June 6, 2021, after taking office on July 28. In the analysis of the front page of El Comercio When La Repubblica From January 1, 2022 to November 30, 2022 (3)the Latin American Center for Geopolitical Strategy (Celag) concluded that the information presented was “negative” for Castillo in 79% and 78% of cases, respectively.

The media went on to say, “Pedro Castillo is an enemy of freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”La Repubblica, 31 October 2022); “Court investigates Castillo adviser on suspicion of organized crime” (La Repubblica, March 11, 2022); “The president and seven members of his family benefited from business leaders” (El Comercio, July 12, 2022). None of the accusations were substantiated.

Castillo won the second round of the vote with just 45,000 votes (50.13%), along with the former president’s daughter, Fujimori (49.87%). Even before the tally by the election authorities (Junta Nacional Electoral, JNE) was finished, when PL’s victory was taking shape, the Fujimori clan denounced “election fraud” and announced a new vote tally and 200,000 ” Requested cancellation of the “irregular” ballot. The mobilization of the masses in favor of Castillo cooled the enthusiasm of the conservative elite for some time. Castillo may have been president legally, but he never gave him legitimacy. The label “self-proclaimed president” began to haunt the new head of state.

Conservative controls were evident even within the military. On June 17, 2022, Francisco Sagasti, who served as interim president after Manuel Merino stepped down on November 15, 2020, urges the military to “not recognize Pedro Castillo’s victory in the presidential election”. Condemned the drafting of the letter by military personnel. (Four)‘. The men with guns sent a message to a unionist teacher.

presidential impeachment

During the presidential campaign, PL promised to organize a constitutional process to change the constitution, but had no credit inherited from Fujimori. This is not easy. The party held only 37 of the 130 seats in a fragmented parliament, represented by 10 parties, including the 24-seat Fujimorist party’s Popular Force. Congress enjoys considerable power in Peru, and the parliament’s ability to impede the actions of the executive branch explains in large part the country’s political crisis over the past few years.

There have been six presidents so far, three of whom have been impeached by Congress after being declared of “permanent moral incompetence.”, based on Article 113 of the current Constitution.In a country whose president has been tainted by a corruption scandal related to the Odebrecht scandal, in which five former presidents were suspected of involvement and in some cases imprisoned (Five)), PL’s weakness in Congress foresaw impeachment attempts coming.

The first of these incidents occurred in November 2021. When 29 MPs submitted the first motion to remove him, Castillo had been in power for only four months. He claimed PL’s illegal funding and influence peddling to secure certain promotions in the military. The operation only got 46 of his votes and passed with 87 votes. Four months later, a new motion was filed, which was also rejected, but received 55 votes.

Congress also managed to prevent Castillo from attending the Pacific Alliance summit, which was scheduled to take place on November 25, 2022, with the heads of state of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru. The excuse was that the president should not leave the country because he has to answer questions from the courts regarding corruption investigations. Ultimately, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in solidarity with his Andean counterparts, decided to postpone the meeting.

The wave of “legal battles” or legal battles that have swept progressive Latin America for years has not spared Peru (6)In just over a year, the judiciary has launched six investigations against Castillo, accusing him, among other things, of “manipulating a criminal organization within his government.” (7) This approach was futile, as the constitution gives immunity to the president. So it was a matter of tarnishing the president’s image, including attacking family members. Several of his nephews were accused of profiting from public infrastructure projects piloted by the Department of Transportation, his sister-in-law was accused of profiting from contracts with the Department of Housing, and Castillo himself Military and police promotions in exchange for large sums of money, etc. None of these accusations went beyond preliminary investigations.

Castillo responded to media, military, legislative and legal destabilization operations by committing a number of political missteps. During his 16-month presidency, he appointed 78 ministers to fill 19 government portfolios. Ten days after his inauguration, he asked former Gevalist his guerrilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs Héctor his Béjar, to resign. Against the progressive movement of the late 1970s — it’s hard to believe. Four months later, he sacked Prime Minister Guido his Berido and opened the government to right-wing politicians.

A president elected by those fed up with a dysfunctional and discredited institution who wanted a Constituent Assembly and structural reforms, it became his mission to appease an enemy who had no other purpose than to bring about impeachment. started. This attitude led Castillo to his separation from the PL in June 2022. The president could have mobilized his support base to defeat the plans of his opponents. Instead, he bowed to pressure from Congress. Congress lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the working class with each new misdeed.

“Without any evidence”

In recent months it has become clear that Castillo must choose. abdication or rebellion. To raise an insurrection risked opening the way for the enemy to condemn the coup. Facing his third no-confidence motion in parliament on Wednesday 7 December, with the opposition expected to win the necessary 67 votes, a weary and shivering Castillo finally addressed on television, Decided to condemn the permanent coup d’état it has suffered since taking office.

Few media outlets covered the first and most important part of his speech. Castillo explained, “The Congressional majority, which defends the interests of large monopolies and oligopolistic corporations, has done everything to destroy the presidential system.” It broke the rule of law and established a parliamentary dictatorship with the approval of the Constitutional Court,” he added. This was achieved not only through multiple condemnation campaigns, but also by boycotting “more than 70 of his national interest bills aimed at improving the lives of those in the most vulnerable sectors of society.” Achieved. He went on to turn to the camera, stating, “Without the slightest bit of evidence, Congress has indicted the president for crimes, many of them by mercenaries free to libel and slander, corrupt and cynical media outlets.” Castillo, who painted this dark but fair picture of Peruvian democracy, said that in order to restore national sovereignty, “the rule of law should be restored by temporarily dissolving parliament and calling for elections.” and made the decision to declare a state of emergency to restore democracy.” Convening a Constituent Assembly within nine months.

According to the opposition, the president just Autogolpe — a coup instigated by a president to stay in power. In fact, perhaps for the first time, the man who effectively prevented his opponents from becoming president represented those who elected him. was waving.

Since being in prison, the president, who has never invited people to mobilize on his behalf, has benefited from an immeasurable wave of popular support. Dina Bolarte declared a state of emergency, militarized the country’s rural areas and unleashed violent police repression. I asked for These include Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Argentina, but not Chile. Brazil’s President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva is also in a vulnerable position despite taking office on January 1, 2023, and has taken a cautious stance. At this stage, the future is uncertain for Peruvian conservatives. Permanent coup d’état in Peru by Aníbal Garzón (Le Monde Diplomatic)

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