Peru’s ex-president faced bigotry for impoverished past

By | December 11, 2022

The Associated Press reports:

When Pedro Castillo won Peru’s presidency last year, it was celebrated as a victory by the country’s poor — the peasants and Indigenous people who live deep in the Andes and whose struggles had long been ignored.

His supporters hoped Castillo, a populist outsider of humble roots, would redress their plight — or at least end their invisibility.

But during 17 months in office before being ousted and detained Wednesday, supporters instead saw Castillo face the racism and discrimination they often experience. He was mocked for wearing a traditional hat and poncho, ridiculed for his accent and criticized for incorporating Indigenous ceremonies into official events.

Protests against Castillo’s government featured a donkey — a symbol of ignorance in Latin America — with a hat similar to his. The attacks were endless, so much so that observers from the Organization of American States documented it during a recent mission to the deeply unequal and divided country.

Castillo, however, squandered the popularity he enjoyed among the poor, along with any opportunity he had to deliver on his promises to improve their lives, when he stunned the nation by ordering Congress dissolved Wednesday, followed by his ouster and arrest on charges of rebellion. His act of political suicide, which recalled some of the darkest days of the nation’s anti-democratic past, came hours before Congress was set to start a third impeachment attempt against him. [Continue reading…]

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