The 180 minutes that made Peru tremble | List of international codes

He began his presidency acclaimed in the squares by the crowd as the humble man who came to represent those who had never governed in Peru. He ended it after a crazy plan that lasted three hours trying to take refuge, according to various sources, in the Embassy of Mexico. Pedro Castillo, the rural school teacher who went to vote in the elections on the back of a horse, knew how to take advantage of the political crisis to prevail in the 2021 presidential elections, but he never managed to take over the Government. His own escort took him this Wednesday to a Lima police station with images of saints and virgins and a golden Chinese dragon crowning a small table. There they photographed him reading a magazine with apparent parsimony.

That tranquility was fictitious. Three hours earlier, Castillo had announced a self-coup, as Alberto Fujimori had done in his day. But unlike the president of Japanese origin, the professor who comes from the Andes did not have the support of the military, businessmen or the media. His tone on television was also not that of a true autocrat. The president of Peru’s hands trembled as he held the paper he was reading, his words came awkwardly out of his mouth and his eyes were as wide as those of an animal crossing the path of a trailer.

The fight against the constitutional order lasted for a while, which led the military to issue a brief statement announcing that they did not support his coup adventure. On Wednesday, the president faced the third attempt by Congress to impeach him. He was sure that they were not going to get it, because they did not put together the two thirds of the camera that is needed. Castillo was experiencing a surge in popularity for him, after he nearly hit rock bottom. His continued visits to the rural areas, where he engineered his victory, were paying off. No one predicted that he would jump out of the window.

But he did. Castillo has grown tired of dealing with Congress, which has even less political credibility than he does. He felt persecuted by a counterpower that prevented him from even traveling abroad. He blamed him for all his political ills, which are not few. In a year and a half he did not manage to have a single stable cabinet. Corruption cases around him and himself haunt him, with a pursuit more diligent than ever. He never got the support of the e.establishment, and that was seen more than ever in his political suicide. The president was left alone, with no one. His own Praetorian Guard was the one who handed him over to the authorities.

Castillo’s tenure has been a continuous succession of curves. In recent months he has received the support of the leftist presidents of the area after his ambassadors complained to the presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. He was alone and he let her know. Within the progressive alliance that has been growing since the last electoral events in the region, Castillo was a strange object, he never fit in.

She began her government with modern, feminist, educated, prestigious policies. But they soon ended up backing out of their project, given the erratic way in which the professor proceeded. Suddenly, he surrounded himself with ultra-conservative and conspiratorial people. He went from bad to worse. In the year and a half that he was in charge of the Government, he changed fifty ministers and appointed five presidential cabinets. Two motions of censure had passed and surely on Wednesday the third would have passed, but it is likely that there will be a fourth later. His government was a non-government. So he decided to blow everything up.

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If he came to power as a representative of change, like the stranger who came to break with the political crisis, ended up succumbing to the same fate as his predecessors. All living former presidents of the country since 1990 have been investigated. Castillo is now embarking on that path and to the penalties that he can add for cases of corruption, is added an accusation for rebellion that could keep him behind bars for ten to 20 years.

Peruvians who took to the streets Wednesday at noon to return home amid traffic chaos after hearing the president’s announcement, ended the day joking about the latest of their political disasters. But the situation is more drama than joke. Peru and its 33 million inhabitants have been plunged into a deep institutional crisis for six years. Corruption and clientelist networks dominate a fragmented Congress that ends up managing weak presidents and minority benches at will.

Castillo announced in a message to the country the closure of Congress, but the congressmen remained in their posts. They brought forward the session scheduled for the afternoon and approved by majority the dismissal of him. There the president knew that he no longer had anything to do, that the adventure had ended before it began. He asked his people to take him to the Mexican Embassy, ​​although it is not clear if he had communicated this to the López Obrador government. But his people were no longer anyone. They took him to the same place where others like him ended up, who one day tried to lead Peru.

Seeing a president in jail will not come as a surprise to a country that has seen it all in politics. Former President Alejandro Toledo is free on bail in the United States; Alan García committed suicide before being sentenced to pretrial detention; Ollanta Humala was in pretrial detention, although he is now free; Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is under house arrest; Martín Vizcarra is free, but under investigation. Alberto Fujimori is for now the only one serving effective prison. Castillo follows in his wake. But what the Japanese mocked for 13 years, until he was arrested in Chile in 2005, cost the rural teacher just three hours.

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