By Raúl Allain
Peruvian President José Pedro Castillo Terrones took office on 28 July after defeating Keiko Fujimori, the candidate of the Fuerza Popular organisation, in a run-off election that was decided by less than one percent of the vote. Since then, the President of Peru has been facing a series of scandals caused by members of his organisation or his controversial decisions, as well as judicial investigations into his entourage and the alleged “secret meetings” outside the official agenda in Breña.
Something serious is going on. In this regard, the Peruvian Attorney General’s Office denounced President Pedro Castillo to the Attorney General’s Office on 17 December for allegedly committing the crimes of illegal sponsorship and influence peddling in the awarding of road works in the Amazon.
“The Attorney General of the State, Daniel Soria, presented a document to the Attorney General’s Office in which he denounces the President of the Republic, José Pedro Castillo Terrones, for allegedly committing the crimes of illegal sponsorship and influence peddling,” a communiqué from the institution indicates.
The international media are following these allegations step by step. The German website DW reported that the complaint is based on the alleged meetings between the businesswoman Karelim López and the president. According to Soria, these meetings were held so that Castillo could intercede for the consortium Puente Tarata III to win a public tender for the construction of a bridge over the Huallaga River in the Amazonian region of San Martin.
The consortium she represented won the tender with a contract worth some 57.6 million dollars. The meetings took place in a house in the Lima district of Breña, a Sunday programme reported.
The attorney general explained in the statement a series of facts for which there are suspicions that the president is also involved in the conduct of “influence peddling” that is being investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. For this reason, Soria asked the public prosecutor, Zoraida Ávalos, not to suspend the investigation once it has been opened.
In six months of government, the initial balance sheet is disastrous in economic matters. The prices of the basic family basket of goods are rising and bad government decisions are discouraging private investment. As if that were not enough, the anti-mining discourse and the soft hand in the face of vandalism by extremist groups and road blockades have forced three mines to close their operations: Antamina (the largest copper producer), Las Bambas and Cerro Lindo. In the latter, the illegal blockade prevented two thousand workers from leaving the mine and even deprived them of food during this time.
It is worth mentioning that the camp at the Apumayo mine in Ayacucho was looted and set on fire in October by a mob of vandals, which is in practice an act of terrorism carried out in the midst of government inaction.
The loss is going to be felt because these mines contribute their taxes and the mining canon, which is money that goes directly to local and regional governments. However, it is also known that because of corrupt authorities these funds are mostly misused. However, this is not the responsibility of the mining companies. The misuse of the mining canon is documented in several reports that we can detail in a forthcoming article.
In the article “Electoral crisis in Peru” I write about the presidential elections: “We must point out that a group of politicians asked President Francisco Sagasti to ask the Organisation of American States (OAS) for an audit of the second round of the presidential elections, in which Pedro Castillo beat Keiko Fujimori by 44,058 votes”.
In these six months of government, the representatives of the opposition bench presented a motion of vacancy against José Pedro Castillo Terrones, on the grounds of permanent moral incapacity to govern and to generate political instability in the country. Among the parliamentary groups that made up the proposal: Avanza País, Renovación Popular, Fuerza Popular.
Although the initiative of the third vice-president of the Congress of the Republic, Patricia Rosa Chirinos, did not get the 52 votes required to be admitted for debate, it is a sign that the mistakes of the leftist government have an impact on national representation.
It should also be pointed out that in the article “Political instability and presidentialism in Peru” I write about political instability: “The Peruvian Council of State, made up of the Judiciary, the Comptroller of the Republic, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office, asked the leftist president, Pedro Castillo, in an official letter for an emergency meeting due to the ‘growing political instability that has been affecting the smooth running of the public administration and the full exercise of human rights'”.
As if that were not enough, in its latest report, the Ombudsman’s Office registered 199 social conflicts as of November 2021 and alerts 25 cases that require timely attention. This figure has not been recorded since October 2018. What factors have generated the increase in conflict? The deputy ombudsman for the Prevention of Social Conflicts and Governance of the Ombudsman’s Office, Rolando Luque Mogrovejo, indicated that the difference with 2018 is that now we are living in a climate of political instability.
I would add, in addition to political instability, the signs of corruption in this government, where one of the most notorious cases is that of “Los Dinámicos del Centro”. According to the prosecutor’s thesis, there is an alleged criminal network related to the irregular issuing of driving licences in the Junín region. Although at the beginning it had been limited to investigating officials and people related to the Regional Government (GORE) of Junín, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has gathered testimonies that point to an alleged financing of the electoral campaign of Perú Libre (PL). This investigation began in 2019, following reports issued by the High Complexity Investigations Division – National Directorate of Criminal Investigation of the National Police of Peru. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the alleged crimes of criminal organisation, passive bribery and influence peddling.
One of those implicated is Vladimir Cerrón, questioned former regional governor of Junín and secretary general of the ruling organisation Perú Libre, whom the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office points to as the alleged ringleader of the criminal organisation Los Dinámicos del Centro. This was done during the pre-trial detention hearing against the 18 alleged members of this organisation, which was scheduled for Tuesday 28 September. The prosecutor in charge of this case, Vanessa Díaz, pointed out that the alleged aim of this organisation was to collect money for the governing organisation Perú Libre and for the economic benefit of Vladimir Cerrón.
(*) Writer, poet, editor and sociologist. President of the Peruvian Youth Institute (IPJ) and director of Editorial Río Negro.
- La edición en inglés de “Inestabilidad política e indicios de presunta corrupción en el Perú” fue traducida por la Agencia Internacional de Prensa Pressenza.