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After a group of violent protesters attempted to reach the residence of Peruvian President Pedro Castillo on Saturday, July 31, security presence has been reinforced, as there are already early signs of a growing political siege against the new president who assumed the role only a few days ago on July 28.
Peru's Chief of Police, General César Cervantes, confirmed that the president’s safety would be guaranteed after a group of approximately 300 right-wing protesters reached up to a block from the president’s official residence.
The security restrictions, already preventing entry at the ends of the street, were extended to a wider perimeter in the face of possible new attacks by groups of radical followers of the three-time defeated former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori.
Meanwhile, the opposition, only three days after Castillo took oath, is already discussing, as well as the country’s hegemonic media, of ousting him.
The reason being invoked is the appointment of Guido Bellido as prime minister, a congressman of the ruling Peru Libre party, under investigation for allegedly being a “terrorism apologist,” as he had once commented that those who were members of armed groups in the past were not terrorists, but Peruvians who had made a mistake.
Bellido said that he “categorically rejects all forms of violence and terrorism in all its extremes” and added that “together we will overcome racism, classism, machismo and homophobia,” referring to controversial comments about Peruvian armed groups that he made years ago on social media.
Challengers insist he should be removed from the government for being close to the General Secretary of Peru Libre, Vladimir Cerrón, who faces charges of alleged corruption and, according to the opposition, has extremist positions and should not have contact with the executive branch.
Congresswoman Adriana Tudela, from one of the neoliberal groups that constitute the majority in the parliament, criticized the composition of the president’s ministerial cabinet, which consists mostly of young people and provincial leaders associated with social movements.
Adriana Tudela was born in Madrid and is the daughter of Francisco Tudela, a foreign affairs minister during the controversial government of Alberto Fujimori, father of Keiko Fujimori. Tudela is a member of the Peruvian right-wing elite and comes from a family of politicians and career diplomats, being the granddaughter of Ambassador Felipe Tudela y Barreda and great-granddaughter of diplomats Francisco Tudela y Varela and Casper van Breugel Douglas.
The lawmaker said that the presidential vacancy is a “possibility” and proposed “devising an intelligent strategy to win this battle against communism” and join the centrist groups Morado and Somos Peru “to recover our democracy.”
The neoliberal and far-right forces do not add up to the two-thirds of the votes necessary to apply the vacancy “due to moral incapacity,” a requirement for impeachment of a president, but they would have that majority if the could get on their side the two groups mentioned.
On the other hand, the parliamentary caucus of Peru Libre, the largest single block in the Legislature, met President Castillo on Sunday. After leaving the meeting, they said they would seek dialogue with the other parties in the parliament.
The projected talks will seek consensus so that the legislative branch gives its confidence to the ministerial cabinet.
In this context, the defeated candidate Keiko Fujimori launched a belligerent audio message in which she repeated her threat of not accepting the legitimacy of the new president, citing anti-communist arguments. Fujimori is awaiting the ruling for charges of corruption, and many analysts are of the opinion that she is seeking additional time to delay a court decision on her case.
She affirmed that “regardless of our political differences, we must begin to act with the sole purpose of saving our democracy and rescuing the country from a radical and totalitarian government,” and added that “there is no negotiation with terrorism.”