Security & Strategic Review - January 2023

Disgraced Castillo fails to break the democratic order in Peru

Like many aspects of his presidency, Pedro Castillo’s attempt at a coup was a calamitous affair. It was unclear who he thought would rally to his side following a video address on 7 December in which he declared that he would shut down congress, “reorganise” the judiciary, and rule by decree until new legislative elections could be held. Peru had been here before; 30 years ago, former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) carried out a similar ‘self-coup’, albeit with the solid backing of the armed forces. Castillo, in contrast, had no one – the military remained in the barracks, and his ministerial cabinet deserted him en masse. With Castillo swiftly impeached and imprisoned, his vice president Dina Boluarte picked up the reins and has struggled to deal with the fallout of her predecessor’s actions, as violent protests swelled across Peru calling for immediate general elections.

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