On Dec. 7, 2022, Pedro Castillo sat in his office on what would be the last day of his presidency of Peru.
Photo Insert: The pressure got to Castillo.
He was being impeached by Congress for the third time but his lawyers and allies said he would beat his foes as her enjoyed an approval rating of 31% against 10% for Congress, Vijay Prashad, and José Carlos Llerena Robles reported for Globetrotter.
Castillo had been under immense pressure for the past year from an oligarchy that disliked this former teacher. In a surprise move, he announced to the press on December 7 that he was going to “temporarily dissolve the Congress” and “[establish] an exceptional emergency government.”
This measure sealed his fate. Castillo and his family rushed toward the Mexican Embassy but were arrested by the military along Avenida España.
Why did Pedro Castillo take the fatal step of trying to dissolve Congress when it was clear to his advisers—such as Luis Alberto Mendieta—that he would prevail in the afternoon vote? The pressure got to Castillo.
Ever since his election in July 2021, his opponent, Keiko Fujimori, and her associates have tried to block his ascension to power. She worked with men with close ties with the US and its intelligence agencies.
A member of Fujimori’s team, Fernando Rospigliosi, for instance, had in 2005 tried to involve the US Embassy in Lima against Ollanta Humala, who vied in the 2006 presidential election.
Vladimiro Montesinos, a former CIA asset who is serving time in a prison in Peru, sent messages to Pedro Rejas, a former commander in Peru’s army, to go “to the US Embassy and talk with the embassy intelligence officer,” to try and influence the 2021 election.
Just before the election, the US sent a former CIA agent, Lisa Kenna, as its ambassador to Lima. She met Peru’s Minister of Defense Gustavo Bobbio on December 6 and sent a denunciatory tweet against Castillo’s move to dissolve Congress the next day (on December 8, the US government—through Ambassador Kenna—recognized Peru’s new government after Castillo’s removal).
A key figure in the pressure campaign appears to be Mariano Alvarado, operations officer of the Military Assistance and Advisory Group (MAAG), who functions effectively as the US Defense attaché.
Officials like Alvarado, who are in close contact with the Peruvian generals, gave them the green light to move against Castillo. The last phone call that Castillo took before he left the presidential palace came from the US Embassy. It is likely he was warned to flee to the embassy of a friendly power, which made him appear weak.