Attempts Continue to Remove Peru’s Socialist President

Peru President Pedro Castillo among the people
Peru President Pedro Castillo among the people. | Photo: Gian MASKO / AFP

By Abayomi Azikiwe

Daily efforts are continuing aimed at the overthrow of the recently elected administration of President Pedro Castillo of Peru.

Castillo, a member of the Free Peru Party, a socialist organization which grew out of the popular struggles of workers and farmers largely based in the rural areas of this South American state, won the national presidential elections during July.

The president is a former elementary school teacher, union leader and is a new participant in electoral politics in the often-volatile social atmosphere prevailing in Peru for several decades. Over the last five years, Peru has had the same number of presidents who departed due to impeachments and resignations.

A cabinet composed of progressives and socialists has to be approved by the legislative Congress of the Republic which is dominated by right-wing elements. There have already been demonstrations in the capital of Lima demanding the ouster of Castillo and his administration. The national currency, the Sol, has lost value as a direct result of the right-wing opposition allied with international finance capital committed to maintaining Peru and other South American and regional states under the domination of Washington and Wall Street.

Peru Foreign Minister Hector Bejar resigns
Peru Foreign Minister Hector Bejar resigns. | Photo: El Comercio

On August 17, Foreign Minister Hector Bajar, 85, turned in his resignation after the conservative press backed by the western corporate media launched a campaign citing comments he made during a lecture given long before the election of Castillo and the taking of office by Free Peru. Bajar, a longtime activist and socialist theoretician, joined the revolutionary movement in Peru during the 1960s.

Bajar was a leading member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) which waged a political and armed struggle against the neo-colonial regime of the period. He was arrested and spent five years in prison stemming from his guerilla activities.

In 1968, after a military seizure of power by General Juan Velasco Alvarado, Bajar was granted amnesty and asked to join the regime of what was called the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces. The coup in 1968 was motivated by the repressive and corrupt policies of President Fernando Belaunde. After being deployed to the rural areas where the poverty and deprivation of the peasants and farmers were revealed to members of the military, they pressured the leadership of the armed forces to seize power. Many believe that this coup was carried out in an effort to preempt a people’s revolution in the country. Although many ELN members were killed, arrested and forced into exile during the early to mid-1960s, the objective conditions remained ripe for widespread unrest.

Bajar was assigned to work on land reform in Peru after being released from detention. The Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces held power until 1975. Bajar would work in subsequent years as a writer, professor and community organizer.

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