A new coup in Peru (Update: Boluarte sworn in)

The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, has announced he is dissolving Peru’s congress and plans to hold new elections and revise the constitution. He made the announcement hours before opposition parties that control congress were set to vote on his impeachment. This move is being called a coup by a number of people both inside and outside the government.


Peru’s president on Wednesday announced the dissolution of Congress and the installation of an emergency government to rule by decree on Wednesday, in a stunning move that political leaders across the spectrum were quick to denounce as a coup attempt.

President Pedro Castillo, who made the public address just hours before a scheduled impeachment vote by Congress, also imposed an immediate national curfew and called for all citizens to turn in illegal firearms.

“We have taken the decision to establish a government of exception, to reestablish the rule of law and democracy to which effect the following measures are dictated: to dissolve Congress temporarily, to install a government of exceptional emergency, to call to the shortest term possible to elections for a new Congress with the ability to draft a new Constitution,” Mr. Castillo said…

“A coup d’état has been produced,” Francisco Morales, the head of the Constitutional Court said. He said Vice President Dina Boluarte should take office to replace Mr. Castillo and called on the armed forces to help reestablish order.

Here’s his announcement:

Most of Peru’s government resigned in the wake of the announcement. Castillo’s brief tenure as president has been marked by frequent replacement of all of his cabinet ministers. He has had more than 80 different ministers in just 18 months in office.


A least seven cabinet ministers have announced their resignations following Castillo’s announcement, including Minister of Environment Wilbert Rozas, Finance Minister Kurt Burneo, Foreign Relations Minister Cesar Landa, and Justice Minister Felix Chero.

Elected in July 2021 by a narrow margin in a runoff, Castillo faces six ongoing investigations by the office of the National Prosecutor, five of which are for alleged acts of corruption.

The government of the leftist leader has also been mired in chaos since inauguration, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, sacked or resigned in little over a year – piling further pressure on the beleagured president.

Castillo is a former school teacher and union leader who went from being an unknown to running for president and winning as part of the Free Peru party. Free Peru is a Marxist party which has very few seats in congress. During his run for office, Castillo was mocked and compared to Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, a former bus driver who was elected to replace Hugo Chavez and has since become a dictator. However, Castillo tried to break from the far left of his party and announced he was not a supporter of “Chavismo” (Venezuelan communism):

“Openly tell Mr. Maduro that, please, if there is something he has to say, first fix his internal problems and take away his compatriots who came to commit crimes,” he asserted…

“We have fought against terrorism and we will continue to do so. (…) We are going to defend the constitutional rights of the country, there is no Chavismo, there is no communism, there is no need to take away your house », he sentenced.


In June of this year, Castillo left the Free Peru party to further distance himself from the party’s ideology. Political turmoil has been the norm in Peru.

Since 2016, Perú has been entrenched in political crises, with congresses and presidents trying to eliminate each other in turn. President Martín Vizcarra (2018-2020) dissolved Congress in 2019 and ordered new elections. That new legislature removed Vizcarra the next year. Then came President Manuel Merino, who lasted less than a week before a crackdown killed two protesters and injured 200 more. His successor, Francisco Sagasti, lasted nine months before Castillo took over.

At the moment, it’s unclear what is going to happen next. Congress refused Castillo’s order to dissolve and went ahead with the vote to impeach him.

In a swift vote two hours after Mr. Castillo’s announcement, Congress voted to impeach and remove the president from office. Local television showed images of Mr. Castillo and his family leaving the presidential palace.

Vice President Dina Boluarte was scheduled to [be] sworn in as president at 3 p.m. local time.

Mr. Castillo’s announcement echoed a move by President Alberto Fujimori, who was elected democratically in 1990 and then two years later staged a coup with the support of the military and ruled as a dictator until 2000. He is now in prison on charges of corruption and human rights abuses.

Video appeared to show Castillo and his family leaving the presidential palace. There were unconfirmed reports he might be heading to the Mexican embassy.


I don’t know if those reports are true but people are blocking the streets in front of the Mexican embassy to block his escape: “Peruvian citizens block access to the Mexican embassy in Peru before a possible escape and refuge of Pedro Castillo.”

There will undoubtedly be more developments. I’ll update this post later today.

Update: Castillo has now been arrested.

The country’s national police tweeted on Wednesday that “former president” Pedro Castillo had been detained, shortly after congress voted to remove him. In a photograph tweeted by the police, which was later erased, Castillo was seen sitting inside the station surrounded by officers.

There’s a brief clip of Castillo inside the station.


And confirmation from the police:

I’m also seeing a few tweets claiming that Castillo was arrested attempting to enter the Mexican embassy.

The left is already claiming that Castillo himself was a victim of a “legislative coup” and just ignoring the part where he attempted to dissolve congress and set up an emergency government.

Update: Peru has its first woman president.

The leftist lawyer Dina Boluarte was sworn in before the plenary session of Congress on Wednesday as the first [woman] president in the history of Peru , after the dismissal of Pedro Castillo , who hours before had decided to dissolve Parliament to avoid the vacancy process against him for alleged acts of corruption.

During the swearing-in ceremony, Boluarte called for dialogue to install a government of national unity and a request to the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the acts of corruption that have plagued Peruvian politics in recent years.

“There has been an attempted coup d’état… that has not found an echo in the institutions of democracy and in the street,” she said. She added that one of his commitments will be to “defend” national sovereignty and that “he will comply and enforce” the Constitution and laws of his country.


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