Immediately, the Armed Forces and the National Police, in a joint communique, disengaged themselves from the presidential announcement
HAVANA TIMES – Peru’s president, Pedro Castillo, staged an unprecedented and fleeting coup d’état on Wednesday 7 without the backing of the armed forces and police, and the legislative Congress responded by removing the ruler and replacing him with Vice President Dina Boluarte.
The already former president, who was apparently on his way to the Mexican Embassy to seek asylum, was intercepted by agents of the National Police and was detained in the capital, accused of violating the Constitution.
In the morning, shortly before the parliament voted a motion of vacancy in the presidency -the third since Castillo assumed his five-year mandate on July 28, 2021-, the president went ahead and declared the dissolution of the other public powers in a televised address.
He thus resuscitated, amid Peru’s long institutional crisis, the ghost of “Fujimori’s coup,” when then President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) dissolved other state powers 30 years ago and initiated an authoritarian government invoking the need to fight against terrorism, with the full support of the Armed Forces and the Police.
On this occasion, however, as soon as Castillo made his announcement, the Army commander, General Walter Cordova Aleman, resigned from his post.
Immediately, the Armed Forces and the National Police, in a joint communique, disengaged themselves from the presidential announcement and demanded respect for the Constitution.
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Lima to protest against Castillo’s announcement and even blocked access to the Mexican Embassy, to prevent the 53-year-old former president from taking refuge in that embassy with his family.
The United States Embassy in Peru issued a statement “categorically rejecting any act by President Castillo to prevent Congress from fulfilling its mandate,” and “emphatically” urged him to reverse his decision.
While Castillo read his address, which included a six-hour night curfew and declared respect for private enterprise and worker’s rights, the Parliament mobilized to activate his ousting and replacement.
The full Congress declared Castillo’s permanent moral incapacity with 101 votes in favor, six against and 10 abstentions. Even some left-wing parliamentarians, the political tendency of the former president, voted in favor of his vacancy.
Immediately afterwards, the president of the Parliament Executive Council, Jose Williams, summoned a plenary session to swear in Vice President Dina Boluarte as the new Peruvian president.
Boluarte, a 60-year-old lawyer who joined Castillo’s electoral ticket in 2021 with the support of her left-wing party Peru Libre, and served as Development and Social Inclusion Minister, will be Peru’s first female head of state.
The new president has expressed her rejection “of Pedro Castillo’s decision to perpetrate the breakdown of the constitutional order with the closing of Congress.”
“It is a coup d’état that aggravates the political and institutional crisis that Peruvian society will have to overcome with strict adherence to the law,” she added.
Betssy Chavez, president of Castillo’s Council of Ministers, and the other members of the Cabinet, resigned from their posts.
Boluarte’s swearing-in was expected to take place at the end of the day, which completes a chapter of a year and a half of incessant confrontation between the different powers and institutions of the Peruvian State.