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Who is Pedro Castillo, the teacher who can lead the left to power in Peru

2021-06-07T16:21:04.516Z

The Peru Libre candidate surprised by winning the first round of April. Now he is almost tied with Keiko Fujimori.



Luis Jaime Cisneros

06/06/2021 10:01

  • Clarín.com

  • World

Updated 06/06/2021 10:01

Pedro Castillo,

a rural school teacher who came out of anonymity four years ago as the leader of a national teacher strike, broke in with a leftist speech and

the promise of "no more poor in a rich country"

, thereby seeking to become the Sunday in President of

Peru

.

The candidate of

Peru Libre

, a minority leftist party, reaches the ballot

practically tied

with the right-wing leader Keiko Fujimori, according to the latest polls released after he hit the ball when he won with 18.9% the first round of April 11, which had a record of 18 applicants.

At the age of 51, Castillo has the merit of channeling the

feeling of indignation

from a part of Peru that he connected with his simple message: "No more poor in a rich country."

He was born in Puña, a town in the Chota district, in the northern Cajamarca region, where he has lived and worked as a teacher in a rural school for 24 years.

His name began to sound in 2017, when he

led a prolonged national strike

by teachers.

A propaganda poster of candidate Pedro Castillo, in his hometown, Catabamba, in Peru.

Photo: AP

Religion and social demands

He is married and has three children.

His wife is evangelical, but he is Catholic.

The mix of conservative morals and social demands for change has tuned in well in a country where religion is often an electoral factor.

He is used to citing biblical passages when he appeals to morality to justify his

rejection of abortion, homosexual marriage and euthanasia

.

Wearing a white high-top hat typical of Cajamarca, he patiently traveled the regions of Peru, even on horseback, to get votes.

"Castillo is a kind of Lula from the countryside, without the union skills of the former Brazilian president, but he proves to be a good communicator," journalist and analyst Sonia Goldenberg told AFP.

"He is a much better candidate than Keiko Fujimori to convey emotions," he adds.

Facts about Pedro Castillo and his rival Keiko Fujimori.

/ AFP

He promises to create a million jobs in a year

and denies that he intends to confiscate workers' pension funds, as his critics claim.

"The people feel identified with a person who is born from the same town," said the candidate when he went on horseback to vote in the first round in Tacabamba (Cajamarca), the traditional means of transport in that rural area.

Union leader

The

2017 national strike

lasted almost 80 days, demanding a salary increase and the elimination of a questioned teacher evaluation system.

The strike left 3.5 million students in the country's public schools without classes and cornered then-president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

He initially refused to dialogue with the strikers until he relented and accepted most of the demands, except to end the evaluation system.

In an attempt to delegitimize the strike, the Minister of the Interior at the time, Carlos Basombrío, said that the leaders of the magisterium were linked to Movadef, the political arm of the defeated Maoist guerrilla of the Shining Path, an illegal group considered "terrorist" in Peru. .

Ireño Castillo, the father of Pedro Castillo, at his home in the town of Puña, department of Cajamarca, Peru, this Friday.

Photo: EFE

"I categorically reject the complaints," replied Castillo, who had integrated in Cajamarca the armed "peasant rounds" that resisted the incursions of Sendero in the harsh days of the internal conflict (1980-2000).

"

We plan changes, not patches or reforms like other leftist candidates,"

Castillo said during the campaign.

The proposals

The Peruvian left came to the elections divided with four candidates, among them Verónika Mendoza and the former Catholic priest Marco Arana, as well as Castillo.

Peru Libre's electoral proposal was based on a triad:

health, education and agriculture, the priority sectors to promote national development, according to Castillo.

It also

plans to convene a Constituent Assembly

to draft a new

constitution

in six months to replace the current one, which favors the free market economy.

The 1993 Constitution is a legacy of the right-wing populist government of Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), Keiko's father.

Castillo's rival is opposed to changing the Magna Carta.

The candidate

also promises to expel foreigners who commit crimes

, in tacit allusion to the Venezuelan migrants who arrived since 2017 and who exceed one million.

"(We will give a) 72-hour period to illegal foreigners to leave the country, those who have come to commit crimes," said Castillo, who in order to combat insecurity proposes that Peru withdraw from the Pact of San José to

restore the penalty death to criminals

.

Peru Libre is one of the few left-wing Peruvian parties that defends the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Castillo announced that, if he comes to power, the country will regain control of its energy and mineral wealth, such as gas, lithium and gold, now under the control of multinationals.

But he did not say how he will do it.

Source: AFP 

CB

Look also

Peru chooses president between two extremes and under the siege of the coronavirus

Ballot in Peru: whoever wins loses the rights of women and the LGTB community

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-06-07

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