Home Latin America Can Pedro Castillo Save His Presidency?: Foreign Policy

Can Pedro Castillo Save His Presidency?: Foreign Policy

Can Pedro Castillo Save His Presidency?: Foreign Policy
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: The President of Peru, Pedro Castillo, arrives to address the annual gathering in New York City for the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 21, 2021 in New York City. More than 100 heads of state or government are attending the session in person, although the size of delegations are smaller due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Mary Altaffer - Pool/Getty Images) Courtesy of Foreign Policy.

LIMA, Peru—After two months as Peru’s president, the responsibilities of leading a country ravaged by corruption and political turmoil were starting to sink in for Pedro Castillo. The country’s currency, the sol, was plummeting, and foreign investment had slowed to a trickle. Peru’s per capita COVID-19 death toll, meanwhile, remained the worst in the world. Castillo—an avowed leftist—was suddenly keen to ditch many of his populist, and potentially costly, campaign promises.

When Castillo addressed the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States in Washington last month, the former union leader and rural school teacher tried to soothe market fears, despite the explicitly Marxist-Leninist platform of his Free Peru party. In particular, he needed to assure Peru’s vast mining sector, which he had previously vowed to nationalize, that his government was not about to initiate any drastic reforms.

“We’re not communists. We haven’t come here to expropriate from anyone,” Castillo said. “We haven’t come to scare away investments. On the contrary, we’re calling on big investors, on businesspeople, to come to Peru.”

Yet less than a week later, any fences Castillo managed to mend with Peru’s business community were dynamited by his erratic, combative prime minister, Guido Bellido, whom Castillo later ousted on Oct. 6. Known for his homophobic and misogynistic views—not to mention his social media posts supporting the Shining Path, the Maoist fanatics who slaughtered thousands of Peruvians in the 1980s and 1990s—Bellido tweeted a threat out of the blue to seize Camisea, a natural gas field in the Amazon that is Peru’s largest ever energy project.

Read the full story.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here