Peru’s president faces court to face rebellion charges

Peru’s president faces court to face rebellion charges

The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, has appeared in court to face charges of rebellion and conspiracy as his successor, Dina Boluarte, the country's first female leader, pledged to set Peru on a new course and called for a truce after months of political turmoil.

Castillo looked sombre during Thursday s hearings, giving simple yes or no answers, while his lawyer argued that he had been arbitrarily detained and forced from Peru's presidency on trumped-up charges.

The court is expected to decide if Castillo will be held in preliminary detention as he faces charges of breaching constitutional order after his failed attempt to shut down Congress and rule by decree until new elections.

Castillo s precipitous fall from power came just hours later as lawmakers accused him of staging a coup and voted to remove him in a scheduled impeachment vote, thwarting his last-ditch attempt to hold on to power.

The reversal of fortunes is the latest episode in the political crisis in Peru. The Andean nation is on its sixth president in six years. Since 2018, two previous presidents have been forced out by Congress. Castillo, 53, who won a narrow election victory in June 2021 by just 44,000 votes, is the latest casualty.

As the US and the Organisation of American States condemned his attempt to dissolve Congress, Bolivia s president Luis Arce defined Castillo's ousting as a symptom of the constant harassment of anti-democratic elites against progressive governments. From the beginning, the Peruvian right wing tried to overthrow a government democratically elected by the people, by the humble classes seeking more inclusion and social justice, Arce tweeted on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Mexico's president Andr s Manuel L pez Obrador, who has yet to recognise Boluarte as Peru's president, said on Wednesday that an atmosphere of confrontation and hostility had led Castillo to take decisions that ultimately served his opponents and led to his removal from office.

Mexico s ambassador in Per Pablo Monroy, visited Castillo on Thursday at the police base where he is being held on the outskirts of Lima.

Boluarte, a 60-year-old leftist lawyer who was born in the rural Andes, invited the leftist Mexican leader to visit Lima or hold a virtual meeting with the media on Thursday.

She promised to reorient what has been done with the country and pledged to govern until the end of the term in 2026, and diplomatically ruled out bringing forward elections, saying it was a democratically respectable option.

Late on Wednesday, Castillo supporters clashed with riot police who used teargas to disperse themselves, while other Lime os rejoiced at the removal of the president who had cycled through five cabinets, survived two impeachment attempts and faces six investigations for alleged corruption and influence trafficking.

The streets of the capital were calm on Thursday, a scheduled public holiday.

I would have liked him to finish his five years, but he was very poorly advised, said Rosita Tapia, 34, a housekeeper working in Lima's Barranco neighbourhood, of Castillo, whom she had voted for.

Tapia, who is originally from Chota, Cajamarca, the same province as Castillo, said he promised he would govern for the poor.

For many people from the provinces, we believed in Pedro, but he didn't live up to our expectations, she said.

She said that he was under too much pressure from the media and they didn't leave him in peace so he could govern. The people who have the power created this situation and pushed it to this point.