Leftist country teacher declares presidential elect in Peru

Lima, Peru (AP) — Pedro Castillo, who turned from a local teacher to a political beginner on Monday, became the winner of the Peruvian presidential election after recording the longest number of elections in the country in 40 years.

Castillo, who included the poor and local citizens of Peru as supporters, defeated right-wing politician Keiko Fujimori with only 44,000 votes. Election officials announced the final official results more than a month after the final vote was held in South American countries.

Castillo, who wields a cane-sized pencil, a symbol of the Perú Libre party, spread the phrase, “No one is poorer in a rich country.” Peru’s economy, the world’s second-largest copper producer, has been crushed by a coronavirus pandemic, raising poverty levels to nearly one-third of the population and eliminating decades of profit.

The lack of public health services in Peru has exacerbated the outcome of the country’s pandemic, leaving the world’s highest per capita mortality rate. Castillo has promised to use income from the mining sector to improve public services such as education and health, whose inadequacies have been highlighted by the pandemic.

“People who don’t have a car should have at least one bike,” Castillo, 51, told The Associated Press in mid-April at his sun-dried house in Angia, Peru’s third poorest district. Told.

Since astonishing Peruvians and observers by advancing to the presidential election, Castillo has softened his first proposal for nationalization of multinational mining and natural gas companies. Instead, his campaign states that he is considering raising taxes on profits from soaring copper prices in excess of $ 10,000 per ton.

According to historians, he was the first farmer to become President of Peru, and so far, indigenous peoples have boasted that the country was a Latin American economic star in the first 20 years of Latin America. , Most of the time, have received the worst inadequate public services. century.

Cecilia Mendes, a Peruvian historian and professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told radio stations that “there are no cases in which someone unrelated to the expert, military, or economic elite becomes president.”

Former member of the House of Representatives, Fujimori, ran for the third presidential election with the support of the business elite. She is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who was imprisoned.

Hundreds of Peruvians from different regions camp for over a month in front of the election court in Lima, the capital of Peru, waiting for Castillo’s proclamation. Many do not belong to Castillo’s party, but “he will not be like other politicians who do not keep their promises and keep the poor,” said Marja Inquila, an environmental activist who arrived from a nearby town. Said. Inca mythical lake, Tichikaka.

Castillo’s sharp rise from the unknown to the presidential election has deeply divided the Andean nation.

Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa states that Castillo “represents the disappearance of democracy and freedom in Peru.” Meanwhile, the retired soldier sent a letter to the military commander asking him not to respect Castillo’s victory.

Fujimori said on Monday that he would accept Castillo’s victory without showing evidence after accusing him of a month of fraudulent elections. The accusation delayed his appointment to the presidential election as she asked the election authorities to invalidate thousands of votes. Many were in the Andean indigenous peoples and poor communities.

“Let’s not put obstacles to move this country forward,” Castillo asked Fujimori in his first remark in front of hundreds of followers in Lima.

The United States, the European Union, and 14 election missions have determined that voting is fair. The United States called the election a “model of democracy” in the region.

Harvard political scientist Steven Levitsky took office as president in a “very weak”, in a sense “very similar” position with Salvador Allende when Castillo came to power in Chile in 1970. I told the radio station. To Joanglar, who became President of Brazil in 1962.

Levitzki, a Latin American political expert, said:

When Castillo tried to change Peru’s constitution (enacted during Alberto Fujimori’s tenure in 1993), he said, “Without building consensus, without a partnership with Center Game, it is justified. Therefore, it is very dangerous. ” Coup d’etat. “

President-elect has never taken office. For the past 25 years he has worked as an elementary school teacher in the remote village of San Luis Depna in Cajamarca in the northern region. He campaigned with rubber sandals and wide-brimmed hats, like farmers in areas where 40% of their children were chronically malnourished.

In 2017, he led the biggest teacher strike in 30 years in search of better wages and sat down to talk to ministers, lawmakers and bureaucrats, although no substantial improvement was achieved.

For the past two decades, Peruvians have seen that the previous political experience and college degrees of the five former presidents did not help fight corruption. All former Peruvian presidents who have ruled since 1985 were involved in allegations of corruption, some of whom were imprisoned or arrested in their mansions. One died of suicide before police detained him. South American countries toured three presidents last November.

Castillo recalled that the first turn of his life happened as a child when his teacher persuaded his father to finish primary education at school two hours from home. .. It happened while both adults were chewing on coca leaves. This is an Andean habit to reduce fatigue.

“He experienced a lot of suffering as a kid,” his wife, Lilia Paredes, told AP while cooking at home. The couple has two children.

He got used to a long walk. He arrived in the classroom with peasant sandals and had a wool saddlebag on his shoulders, a notebook, and a lunch consisting of sweet potatoes and tamales that cooled over time.

Castillo said his life was not only due to the work he did as a child with his eight siblings, but also to the memory of the treatment his illiterate parents received from the owner of the land they lived in. Said it was characterized. He cried when he remembered that the landowner had the best crops if the rent was not paid.

“You keep looking at what you sow, you grabbed your stomach, and I don’t forget it, I don’t forgive it,” he said.


Garcia Cano reported from Mexico City.

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