Latin American Weekly Report

07/10/2021 - Castillo steps out from Cerrón’s shadow

Not for the first time Peru’s President Pedro Castillo’s attempt to regain the initiative by announcing a major reform proposal has been completely overshadowed by political developments. On 6 October Castillo replaced his prime minister, Guido Bellido, and six cabinet ministers. Replacing Bellido, an unreconstructed Marxist under investigation for alleged ‘apology for terrorism’, with a predilection for misogynistic and confrontational remarks, with a moderate leftist feminist lawyer and advocate of gender equality, Mirtha Vásquez, looked like a statement of intent. Judging by the fierce criticism of Perú Libre (PL), the far-left party that brought Castillo to power, it has interpreted the move as an attempt by the head of state to cut himself loose from its Marxist-Leninist leader Vladimir Cerrón. This will play well to the opposition-controlled congress, but it will not suddenly begin supporting Castillo, and estranged relations with PL could leave him isolated and struggling to advance a legislative agenda.

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