The Peruvian Left Aligns Behind Pedro Castillo. By Boyanovsky Bazán
Nuevo Perú, the political movement led by former presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza, has just announced that it will support Pedro Castillo for the June 6 run-off against right-wing Keiko Fujimori.
After a rough campaign in which there was no lack of criticism from both sides, the progressive force that came sixth (within the Juntos por el Perú alliance) with 7.8% of the votes in an atomized election where 18 candidates shared the few valid votes (Castillo came first with only 19%), the NP movement considered that the option for the left-wing leader “expressed a will for change and could make viable a democratic and popular solution to the crisis, closing the way to the authoritarian and corrupt option represented by Fujimorism”.
The main leaders of both forces are getting ready for a key meeting in which they will discuss the terms of support and a possible government coalition in case of winning in the ballot. The meeting may take place this weekend, according to what was confirmed to Tiempo by the spokeswoman of Nuevo Perú in Argentina, Giovana Bendezú Aquino. The decisions taken there will be considered at the meeting of the NP National Political Commission, on May 8.
“In this second round, to defeat the mafia and to re-found Peru, with the broadest unity of our people. Let’s go for the real change!”, stated the document.
Castillo’s party, Peru Libre, defines itself as socialist. Its president, the former governor of Junin, Vladimir Cerron, signed the founding document stating that “Peru Libre is a left-wing socialist organization that reaffirms its ideological, political and programmatic orientation. To be of the left it is necessary to embrace Marxist theory and under its light interpret all the phenomena occurring in the world, continental and national society, its causes and effects, and from that diagnosis propose criteria for solutions that lead to the satisfaction of the majorities”, said the text signed by the medical graduate from Cuba.
Castillo consolidated his triumph with declarations of radical changes in economic and social matters, with which he won the massive support of the most neglected sectors of his country. His war horse (the discursive one, since he was mobilized on horseback for a good part of the campaign) was and still is the call for a Constituent Assembly to reform the Constitution, as long as the people accept it.
Since the April 11 triumph, the campaign of the right-wing has been to link him with the Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, with the warning that “we do not want to be Venezuela”. They also link him to the political arm of the extinct guerrilla organization Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). Beyond denying these links, Castillo lowered the tone of his statements, perhaps to gain frightened voters and dispel the ghosts that conservative sectors love to stir up.
“We are not communists, we are not Chavistas, we are not terrorists,” said Castillo two days ago in an improvised demonstration from the balcony of a house in Mancora, northern Peru, in the middle of a promotional tour. “We are workers, like all of you, we have found ourselves in the streets and in that framework we ask you for peace of mind”, added the rural teacher and unionist.
In the previous debate with other leftist sectors, Castillo showed a conservative position regarding current demands, such as legal abortion, gender and sexual diversity policies. Issues that will surely be on the table at the weekend meeting and those to come. There is a closed agreement on the need to reform the Constitution, in addition to submitting it beforehand for popular consideration, on the construction of a sovereign economy that taxes those who have the most and on the guarantee of the basic needs of food, health and education.
“We consider it indispensable to contribute to the electoral triumph of this option for change by voting for Pedro Castillo and calling for the broadest unity of the Peruvian people”, the communiqué of Nuevo Peru concluded. So far, the force led by the former congresswoman and member of the Puebla Group, is the only one within progressivism that declared itself in favor of the candidate.
Peruvians in Latin America call to organize and vote against Fujimori
“Castillo’s voters are from deep Peru,” says young Peruvian migrant Giovana Bendezú Aquino. Different groups in the region are calling to unite in view of the June elections.
Aware that every vote counts, the campaign that is beginning to take shape for the second round on June 6 in Peru between the left, of Pedro Castillo, and the right, of Keiko Fujimori, not only involves the inhabitants of the Peruvian territory. In Argentina, a wide community -the third-largest in the world- is in a position to participate and contribute to tip the balance towards one or the other candidate.
In addition to the hyper-polarized scenario of the ballot, there is a high level of disenchantment with the political class, with blank or null votes exceeding 20%. In spite of the high abstention rate in the April 11 election, something that had not been registered until then occurred for the first time. “Here in Argentina there is a great tendency of Peruvian voters to support Fujimorism, but this time a left-wing party came third, when historically the left did not even reach 1%”, Giovana Bendezú Aquino, a young Peruvian immigrant, told Tiempo. The votes from the center-left did not go to Castillo, a candidate who gained prominence in the last part of the campaign, and after the elections, but to the former congresswoman Verónika Mendoza, of the Juntos por el Perú front.Bendezú, who settled in Buenos Aires eight years ago to study law, is the spokesperson of the Argentinean branch of the Nuevo Perú movement, organization led by Mendoza, and was also appointed president of the “Peruvian-Argentinean Committee of support to Pedro Castillo”,which will coordinate a campaign in the country to add votes for the rural teacher and trade unionist who obtained 19% in the first round.
“Just as Castillo has a chance, Mrs. Fujimori also has a chance. And for the moment the only ally that Castillo has is Juntos por el Perú”, comments Giovana, and added that this will be the third consecutive time that Keiko Fujimori is running in a runoff. According to the data she shared, the candidate, who is also a member of the Puebla Group, had a better electoral performance abroad than Castillo himself. “In Argentina, she came third. In Europe, first. In America in general, traditionally the right-wing always won and this time was no exception”, she acknowledged. That is why she emphasized the importance of the Support Committee and the alliances that may occur in terms of an eventual coalition government.
“We call on the other left-wing, progressive forces to join. It is polarized between the ultra-right and the left. That is why we believe it is important to help Castillo and we emphasize our main proposals, which are the reform of the Constitution, the sovereignty of wealth, the nationalization of gas, greater investment in health care and education”, he points out.
Today, polls show that Castillo would win with close to 40%, doubling Fujimori, who would obtain 21%. But that same percentage is also measured in null and blank votes, according to the latest poll by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) published by the newspaper La República. The numbers, however, are taken with great caution and even distrust. Almost all pollsters claimed before April 11 that the winner by a wide margin would be Yonny Lescano, who came in fifth. No one measured Castillo above 5 points.
“Already the polls have shown us that there is manipulation, we are a bit disconcerted. We should not trust the polls, even more, because these studies are done in urban areas, the main capitals, and Castillo’s voters are from deep Peru, where there is not even internet”, explained Bendezú.
Source Tiempo Argentino
Translation by Internationalist 360°