Latin American Weekly Report

17/09/2020 - Peru’s congress precipitates fresh political crisis

Peruvians are becoming inured to political crises. The country seems to be plunged into one every other month. Events of the last week, however, were sufficiently highly charged to shock even the weariest onlooker into jumping up and taking notice. Out of the blue, congress voted to file impeachment proceedings against President Martín Vizcarra for ‘moral incapacity’ on 10 September after the emergence of audio tapes suggesting that he had sought to deceive deputies over his dealings with a musician, Richard Cisneros, who received contracts with the culture ministry, the nature of which have been investigated by the congressional oversight commission since June. It was an extreme response to a minor scandal. Vizcarra promptly denounced a plot against democracy. When it was revealed that the president of congress, Manuel Merino (who would replace Vizcarra in the event of his impeachment), had sought to sound out the military top brass, the charge of ‘moral incapacity’ swung back towards him.

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