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News > Latin America

‘Progress and Social Justice for All’, President Castillo Vows

  • President Pedro Castillo, Lima, Peru, July 28, 2021.

    President Pedro Castillo, Lima, Peru, July 28, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @Agencia_Andina

Published 28 July 2021
Opinion

At the end of his inaugural speech, Pedro Castillo clearly stated that he will return to his work as a rural teacher in 2026 when his presidential term ends.

On the date in which Peruvians remember the 200th anniversary of their country's independence, the rural teacher and farmer Pedro Castillo assumed the Presidency amidst the ovation of his people.

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In his inaugural speech, he recalled the political process that led him to victory and outlined the transformations his government will carry out in the coming years. The following is a summary of the main proposals to be promoted by a leftist government, which will not have the support of the traditional elites or a parliamentary majority.

Health and social protection

COVID-19 vaccination will be a priority of the new Peruvian government. Policies will be created to guarantee universal access to health care and decent pensions. A new social protection system and a unified health system will be established in the public sector.

A national system of care for dependent persons will be established for the benefit of children, the elderly, and the disabled. The Peruvian state will assume the costs of physical and psychological rehabilitation for victims of sexual violence.

Agriculture and food

Castillo plans to end malnutrition in the shortest possible time through a system of public purchases. The popular organizations that cook food in a communitarian way will be integrated to the public programs.

A plan for the industrialization of the countryside will be implemented, which will include the provision of state-of-the-art equipment for farmers. Irrigation will be prioritized and livestock will be encouraged for the benefit of 1.7 million poor families.

Science and technology

Given that Peru exports commodities with very little added value, Castillo will create a ministry of science, technology and innovation in order to gradually transform the country's insertion into international markets. This institution will promote research careers among young people to ensure that Peru takes advantage of its human talent.

Oil Industry

PetroPeru will participate in all links of the oil value chain in order to regulate final prices and prevent consumers from being exploited for the benefit of monopolistic companies. Public policy will not be based on subsidies but on public sector participation in the markets. Actions will be taken to recover the natural resources that the contracts of previous governments established to favor mainly foreign companies.

Citizen Security and an "Army for Development"

The citizen security system will include grassroots organizations ("rondas") that citizens have created to protect themselves from crime. Young people who do not study or work will have to go to the military service.

In times of peace, the armed forces should assume pro-development functions by participating in the construction of infrastructure such as roads and dams. The institutionality of the Armed Forces will be reinforced through promotions based on merit and not on political connections.

An Intercultural State

Castillo proposes an intercultural approach to transform the State. All public institutions should communicate with their users in Indigenous languages. A larger budget will be granted to promote the rescue of cultural and publishing industries.

Environment

Castillo will promote and respect the commitments made by his country in multilateral environmental agreements. He will transform the Ministry of Environment to curb deforestation, guarantee environmental quality standards, promote a low-carbon economy, protect the Amazon, and sanction environmental criminals. He promised Peru will be a carbon neutral country by 2050.

Fight against corruption

The new government will promote actions that will allow legislation to be reformed to strengthen sanctions against officials and private agents involved in acts of corruption. State advertising in the media will be controlled to prevent public spending from being used for political purposes.

A new politics

At the end of his inaugural speech, Castillo announced that he will not govern from the house of Francisco Pizarro because this building is a symbol of colonial domination. This Spanish-era construction will be converted into a historical museum by the future Ministry of Cultures.

So that there are no doubts about his aspirations, the leftist leader clearly stated that he will return to his work as a teacher in 2026 when his presidential term ends. Then, using Quechua, the Indigenous language of his ancestors, he summed up his agenda in one sentence:

"One force, one heart, one direction. And that direction will be progress and social justice for all."

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