A few weeks after the electoral authorities proclaim him the winner, the leftist candidate Pedro Castillo has turned to the center in economic matters. The rural professor campaigned with a speech against the free market, foreign investment and the country’s business elites. Conservatives perceived this man they barely knew, who lived on a mountain farm, rode a horse and wore a wide-brimmed hat, as a threat. Lima was filled with posters warning of the arrival of communism. The establishment massively supported his rival, Keiko Fujimori. Castillo, who touches victory with his fingers (the electoral court needs to supervise only 270 requests for annulment), wanted to scare away fears about his presidency this Saturday and asked the president of the Central Reserve Bank, Julio Velarde, to continue in the position he has held for 15 years.
Peru’s economic agents perceive Velarde as a guardian of the Andean country’s monetary system and stability. Although Castillo and his economic guru Pedro Francke (a moderate left-wing university professor) had said they were in favor of the continuity of the leaders of the Central Reserve Bank, until now they had not asked directly. Yesterday the invitation was made official. Velarde said a week ago that, after three decades at the head of the entity, perhaps the time had come to retire. Castillo’s request may make him rethink retirement.
Peru lives turbulent days. Fujimori does not accept the victory by the minimum of his rival. They were barely separated by 40,000 votes. The right-wing candidate has requested the nullity of the polling stations in which Castillo devastated. They are secluded places, in the jungle and in the mountains. Neither the electoral authorities nor the international observers have detected any type of irregularity in the Peruvian elections. The appeals and the challenges have been broadcast on television. The United States and the European Union have certified that these are fair and transparent elections. However, Fujimori and the country’s media and economic apparatus insist that there was a fraud of which there is no evidence.
The speech has penetrated. This Saturday, followers of Fujimori and Castillo took to the streets, each for a different reason. “Respect my vote!” Shouted Irma and Míriam, two friends who were marching through the Miraflores neighborhood in Lima. They are followers of Fuerza Popular, Fujimori’s party. “These leftists want to steal the country from us. Only people without brains can think that Castillo has won, ”says Irma. Pedro Sagasti, the current president in transition? “A communist,” he says. The electoral authorities? “Pregnant with communists.” Joe Biden? “Full Communist.” Her intention, she explains, is to march to prevent the country from falling into the hands of those who she believes will harm the country.
That tension awaiting a final result has poisoned coexistence. Perio Corvetto, the head of the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), was attacked on Saturday at the Club Regatas Lima facilities, one of the most exclusive places in the capital. The irony is that before the result, it was Castillo’s party who doubted Corvetto’s neutrality as he was someone closer to the conservative sectors. The Public Ministry has also opened an investigation against former senior military officials who have encouraged a coup to prevent Castillo from being proclaimed.
The followers of Keiko Fujimori gathered in Plaza Bolognesi. They came from different parts of the city. They carried crucifixes and candles. His most heard motto is “no to fraud.” The theory that encourages them is that Castillo’s party managed to distort the result of the elections, although there is no evidence that this happened. Fujimori took the stand and invoked God’s help to reverse the results. “Lord Jesus”, he started, “we are here because we want to know the truth. We ask you sir to give wisdom to the authorities who have to make such an important decision. Lord, you who put and remove kings, we ask you to reach the consciences and hearts of those who can help us guide a better future for all Peruvians ”. The candidate has assured that she increased her faith in her time in prison for a corruption investigation. Right now he is accused of money laundering and belonging to a criminal organization.
In Plaza San Martín, at the stroke of seven o’clock at night, when the protesters had walked for almost three hours through the avenues of Lima, Castillo thanked the OAS, international organizations, and the presidents of Latin America and the Caribbean who have recognized your victory. “We are not Chavistas, we are not communists, we are not going to take away their properties from anyone, what has been said is totally false, that is sealed: we are democratic, we respect Peruvian governance and institutions,” Castillo added.
He added: “We are respectful of this Constitution and in this context I ask Dr. Julio Velarde that his work be permanent, coherent, in front of the Central Reserve Bank. It is necessary to give tranquility not only economic but to open the doors for the large investments that have to be made in Peru with clear rules, without stealing a penny from this country to give to the most needy: to give the men and women who need bread. , they need education, health ”.
Juan, a 36-year-old leather embossing craftsman, says that since June 6, election day, he has already been in five demonstrations in defense of Pedro Castillo’s votes. “The fight is permanent: as long as there is corruption, injustice, inequality, we have the right to leave. I await the proclamation, and if Castillo does not fulfill what he promises as president, I will also go out and complain, “he said.
Hundreds of protesters broadcast their “live” on Facebook or other platforms. Most TV channels and news radios in Lima give more space to Keiko Fujimori’s demonstrations, scheduled at the same time as those of Castillo’s voters. In the mobilization of Castillo’s supporters, full of bands of musicians and neighborhood, union and cultural organizations – in addition to the bases of the Peru Libre party and its left-wing allies – thousands of citizens have been, as in the previous two weeks, from the regions that voted en masse for Castillo.
Subscribe here to newsletter from EL PAÍS América and receive all the informative keys of the current situation of the region.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.