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Peru defeats far right, indigenous union educator is new president

By Jim Byrne |
July 21, 2021
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Pedro Castillo
Pedro Castillo

Tucson, AZ - After a record six weeks of ballot counting and false claims of fraud by right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, Pedro Castillo was officially announced the newest president of Peru, on the evening of July 19. Castillo, from a poor peasant background and the candidate of the Peru Libre party, found support in the masses of poor and working Peruvians fed up with the lack of response to COVID-19 and the high rates of unemployment. Equally important is the defeat of “Fujimorismo” the far-right ideology of neoliberalism and chauvinism of former President Alberto Fujimori, Keiko’s criminal father.

In the days and weeks after the election, indigenous organizations, trade unions and popular organizations mobilized to defend the validity of the election and continued to call for a declaration from national authorities that Castillo won fair and square.

Castillo rose to national prominence in 2017 when he helped his union lead a teachers strike that won important demands. The Peru Libre party also recently won 37 seats in the 150-member national Congress, automatically giving him 13% of the legislature to work with if the lead holds.

Castillo will join a new wave of elected leftists in Latin America, such as President Luis Arce in Bolivia, from the socialist MAS, or Movement Towards Socialism, party that won outright in November with 55% of the vote. In December in Venezuela, the party of “Worker President” Nicolas Maduro won again, as the PSUV or United Socialist Party of Venezuela gained 69% of the parliamentary election vote. Like Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega and Mexico President Manuel Lopez Obrador, the U.S. corporate press and politicians often attack and vilify their policies.