Pedro Castillo, a labor union leader and socialist, will be inaugurated next week as Peru’s new president.
Fifty-one-year-old Castillo has vowed to rewrite the country’s constitution in order to nationalize copper mines and earmark more money for social welfare programs.
Having reported the highest number of covid-19 deaths per capita, Peru is the worst victim of coronavirus. Castillo faces the daunting task of vaccinating millions of people quickly, as there is a looming fear that a third wave of the pandemic is just around the corner.
With barely 12% of the country’s 32 million people fully vaccinated, Peru is clearly far from achieving herd immunity. Furthermore, the pandemic pushed 10% of its population back into poverty.
However, in his victory speech, Castillo spoke more about politics than the pandemic. “We are not going to rob a single cent from the Peruvian people” said the President-elect, who was a school teacher and peasant until a few years ago.
Peru has long been plagued by corruption scandals and cronyism. Five of its former presidents are under criminal investigation. Another former President Alberto Fujimori, the father of Castillo’s rival Keiko Fujimori, is serving a jail sentence, while his predecessor is fighting extradition from the United States.
Analysts say Castillo lacks experience and support in Congress to fulfill his campaign promises.