Can the Peruvian Constitution survive a Marxist assault? – Reason.com
On June 6, Peruvians voted in a presidential runoff between Pedro Castillo, a previously obscure teachers’ union leader with a neo-Marxist agenda, and Keiko Fujimori, a former congresswoman and daughter of the former president became dictator Alberto Fujimori.
Although Castillo won the official count with 50.1 percent of the total–by a margin of only 44,000 votes–Fujimori attempted to invalidate around 200,000 ballots. His efforts to reverse the election result, however, are likely to fail. On the contrary, Fujimori’s desperate tactics, which drew comparisons to former President Donald Trump’s election fraud allegations to justify his 2020 election defeat, gave credence to Castillo’s claims that he faces an establishment. policy that is not just corrupt.—Keiko Fujimori spent time in prison because of a notorious corruption scandal–but also clings to power by any means necessary.
The battle in Peru is no longer over who won the elections; it is about preserving the constitution of the country. Written in 1993, the current constitution underpins free market policies that have helped the country reduce its poverty rate by about half, nearly triple its per capita income, and even reduce inequalities (as measured by a reduction of 12 percentage points in the Gini coefficient between 1998 and 2019). Like Ian Vásquez and Ivan Alonso write for the Cato Institute, in recent decades, “Peruvians have experienced dramatic and widely shared improvements in well-being”.
Peru’s economic success is a fairly new development. As recently as August 1990, the country experimented a monthly inflation rate of 397 percent. Previously, dictator Juan Velasco Alvarado, a military officer who led a coup in 1968, had nationalized key industries, creating state monopolies in oil and mining, fishing and food production, among others. key sectors. It has also expropriated large tracts of land and severely restricted imports, all under a five-year national production plan. The economists César Martinelli and Marco Vega Argue that Velasco Alvarado’s state program has cost Peru “huge losses” in economic growth for two decades, leading to the hyperstagflation from the late 1980s.
Once in power, Alberto Fujimori, winner of the 1990 presidential election, took drastic measures to stabilize prices, in particular by restricting the money supply and fiscal deficits. During this time, he deregulated markets and reduced the size of the state by privatizing state-owned enterprises.
The 1993 constitution reinforced Fujimori’s free market reforms, but was approved a year after the notorious coup or “Fujimorazo“, when the strongman dissolved the legislature, where the opposition parties held the majority, and ruled by decree until a new pro-government Congress was elected. However, since Fujimori’s resignation and his impeachment in 2000, a series of democratically elected governments In fact, Peru’s Supreme Court tried and convicted Fujimori of human rights violations during the war against Shining Path, a communist guerrilla group, as part of existing constitutional law.
Today the constitution is the only obstacle in the way of President-elect Castillo’s party Platform, which praises Vladimir Lenin and Fidel Castro while promising a backward agenda of nationalizing the mining sector and other major industries, expropriating land and getting rid of the Peruvian private pension system, which administers approximately $ 40.7 billion in citizens’ savings. Like Velasco Alvarado, who nationalized newspaper companies, Castillo’s “Free Peru” party plans to “regulate” the press, claiming that “muckraking” media is “fatal” to democracy.
The Peruvian Constitution, however, declares private property–including one legally owned by foreigners–be inviolable. It also guarantees free enterprise, foreign investment, market-based competition and freedom of the press. Tellingly, Castillo’s “Free Peru” party calls for a new constitution to replace the existing one, which it rejects as “individualist, mercantilist, privatizing and defeatist” in the face of foreign interests.
Since the elections, Castillo and his allies have insisted on the alleged need to convene a new constitutional assembly once in power. However, parts of the current Congress, elected in 2016 and whose term ends on July 26, have acted to protect the constitution. On June 23, the Constitutional Commission Posted a verdict–which has yet to be approved by a plenary session–declaring that the executive could not use a defeat in a vote of no confidence, which allows the president to dissolve Congress, to carry out constitutional reforms. This method was suggested by Castillo’s political mentor, Vladimir Cerrón, a Cuban-trained physician who was forced to resign as governor of Junín province due to a criminal conviction.
According to a recent survey, 77 percent of Peruvians are against the abolition of the current constitution. As YouTuber Mirko Vidal remarks, this suggests that much of Castillo’s vote was not as much pro-Marxist as it was anti-Fujimori.
It remains to be seen whether Peruvian institutions will be able to withstand Castillo’s certain onslaught once in power. It wouldn’t be surprising if he tried to get rid of term limits, a classic recipe of 21st century socialists such as Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia, caudillos who, like Alberto Fujimori, won an election and changed the rules of the game to retain power. Another similarity to Chávez and Morales is Castillo’s mixture of anti-capitalist dogma with a strong sense of social conservatism; he opposes same-sex marriage, a “gender approach” in education and large-scale immigration. On several occasions he has promised deport all illegal immigrants–which means a lot of the million Venezuelans who arrived in the country while fleeing Chavist socialism–72 hours only after taking office. Although these positions are electoral, they make Castillo a strange fellow-traveler of foreign progressives who praise him with titles such as son of the earth.
Although Castillo is not yet in power, his electoral success has already shaken the Peruvian economy and its financial markets. The day after his election, the soil, the currency of Peru, has sunk to an all-time low against the US dollar, while the main Lima stock index fell more than 7%. When the market opened on June 30, the iShares MSCI Peru ETF, which tracks the country’s underlying index and is heavily weighted in favor of the copper mining sector, was down more than 20% since the 8th. April, three days before the first ballot. JP Morgan warned on possible capital flight from Peru if Castillo is confirmed as chairman, but a Miami-based wealth manager Noted “Important outings [of money] of the country “even before the second round of June 6.
The press has noticed how Lima’s elite began to take their money out of Peru, but it’s a familiar story. When Marxists came to power in Cuba and Venezuela, the rich were the first to withdraw their assets before emigrating themselves. Under socialism, it is only a matter of time before the middle class is hit, and ultimately the desperate masses follow in their wake.