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Peru: Pedro Castillo removed from his post and sent to prison

The Peruvian president was removed from office and charged with rebellion after dissolving Congress and decreeing a state of emergency
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Ernesto Arias/Congreso de la República de Perú vía REUTERS  -   Peru's President Pedro Castillo addresses Congress

Political upheaval in Peru. The Peruvian president, Pedro Castillo, was removed from his post after dissolving Congress and establishing a government of exception and has been provisionally sent to prison for alleged crimes of rebellion and conspiracy, as confirmed by the Peruvian Public Prosecutor's Office. 

Pedro Castillo is accused of a kind of self-coup d'état; in fact, the Peruvian Constitutional Court called this governmental intervention by the Peruvian president a "coup d'état". He was sent to Barbadillo prison, where another former president, Alberto Fujimori, is also being held, having been charged at the time for alleged crimes against human rights, corruption and usurpation of office. 

The Peruvian president's decision to establish an emergency government and dissolve Congress unleashed a political storm in the Andean country on Wednesday, and Castillo was immediately removed from office and arrested after he lost the support of the Peruvian army.

Pedro Castillo's measures included the dissolution of Congress and also included a reorganisation of the judicial system and a curfew. 

He was replaced by Vice President Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in as president on Wednesday, becoming the first woman to govern Peru. Dina Boluarte took the oath of office "for God, the homeland and the Constitution" and said she was assuming her new task "in accordance with the Political Constitution of Peru, from this moment until 28 July 2026", when the term of the current government ends. "Before being a politician, I am a Peruvian citizen and mother, who is fully aware of the high responsibility that history places on my shoulders," she said, before affirming that "there has been an attempted coup d'état promoted" by Pedro Castillo. Dina Boluarte is a lawyer and women's rights advocate and was elected as the first female vice-president in Peru's history after also being appointed Minister of Development and Social Inclusion. 

Castillo's term in office was marked by instability and ends after a year and a half of unfulfilled promises and corruption scandals. Pedro Castillo, a teacher by profession, began his career as president of Peru to the acclaim of a population that saw him as a humble man who would represent and defend the most disadvantaged against the elites who were seen as responsible for corruption and abuses. And, in the face of the uncertainty generated around his political figure and following accusations of corruption that pointed directly at him and even his own wife, he ended up dissolving the Cortes and carrying out a process that has been denounced as a coup d'état. Pedro Castillo sought refuge in the Mexican Embassy, as various sources suggested, although in the end his access to the Mexican Embassy was blocked for fear that he might seek asylum or try to flee the country with his family, and the Public Prosecutor's Office ordered his arrest, and he was provisionally sent to prison. 

Thus ends the presidential career of a rural schoolteacher who went to vote in the elections on horseback and who was able to take advantage of the political crisis in Peru and the discontent of the citizenry to win the 2021 presidential elections, but he never managed to win the government and had to face internal divisions in his executive and in his leftist Peru Libre party. The political upheaval in Peru was total, as Pedro Castillo had suffered up to three motions of censure for "permanent moral incapacity". 

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AP/MARTIN MEJIA - Supporters of Pedro Castillo

The Public Prosecutor's Office is now continuing to gather evidence for the judicial process in which Pedro Castillo is accused of rebellion and conspiracy. According to the Twitter account of the Public Prosecutor's Office, a judicial action is underway that aims to "gather elements of conviction with regard to the investigation being carried out against the former president". Pedro Castillo will be in Barbadillo prison for at least the next 48 hours. 

America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.