Woot! Pedro Castillo Has Won the Peruvian Presidential Election

From sputnikews.com, July 19, 2021 (h/t Mr. wd)

‘Peru’s Election Jury Names Castillo Winner of Presidential Vote, Fujimori Calls Loss ‘Illegitimate’’

“On Monday evening, Peru’s National Jury of Elections (JNE) formally named Pedro Castillo, a socialist from the Peru Libre party, the winner of the June 6 election.

Following his victory, Castillo posted a statement on Twitter thanking the Peruvian people for his victory.

“Thank you Peruvian people for this historic triumph! The time has come to call on all sectors of society to build together, in this Bicentennial, an inclusive Peru, a just Peru, a Free Peru. Without discrimination and for the rights and all,” he said. “We call on the Afro, coastal, Andean and Amazonian peoples, the working class and their unions, the native and peasant communities and all of society to make this homeland beautiful. Today, sisters and brothers, a new stage in our history begins.”

Castillo is a union organizer, schoolteacher, and farmer, who has called for using the country’s resources to better the lives of poorer Peruvians, including the indigenous population often left out of policy decisions made in Lima, on the coast.​

Fujimori Calls for ‘Defense of Democracy’

Earlier on Monday, eight-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori admitted to defeat after more than a month of contesting the June 6 presidential election. In a television address, she said she said she “will recognize the results because it is what the law and the Constitution that I have sworn to uphold.”

‘The JNE said on Twitter on Monday afternoon that it had dismissed five appeals by Fujimori’s Fuerza Popular party and the body would “proceed to the preparation of the act of proclamation of general results.”

From minpressnews.com, June 8, 2021, ‘Rural Teacher Pedro Castillo Poised to Write a New Chapter in Peru’s History; In a cliffhanger of an election with a huge urban-rural and class divide, it appears that the rural teacher, farmer and union leader is about to make history by defeating–by less than one percent–powerful far-right candidate Keiko Fujimori’, Medea Benjamin and Leonardo Flores  (creative commons)

“Fujimori is challenging the election’s results, alleging widespread fraud. Her campaign has only presented evidence of isolated irregularities, and so far there is nothing to suggest a tainted vote. However, she can challenge some of the votes to delay the final results, and much like in the U.S., even an allegation of fraud by the losing candidate will cause uncertainty and raise tensions in the country.

Castillo’s victory will be remarkable not only because he is a leftist teacher who is the son of illiterate peasants and his campaign was grossly outspent by Fujimori, but there was a relentless propaganda attack against him that touched on historical fears of Peru’s middle class and elites. It was similar to what happened recently to progressive candidate Andrés Arauz who narrowly lost Ecuador’s elections, but even more intense. Grupo El Comercio, a media conglomerate that controls 80% of Peru’s newspapers, led the charge against Castillo.

They accused him of being a terrorist with links to the Shining Path, a guerrilla group whose conflict with the state between 1980 and 2002 led to tens of thousands of deaths and left the population traumatized. Castillo’s link to the Shining Path link is flimsy: While a leader with Sutep, an education worker’s union, Castillo is said to have been friendly with Movadef, the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights, a group alleged to have been the political wing of the Shining Path. In reality, Castillo himself was a rondero when the insurgency was most active. Ronderos were peasant self-defense groups that protected their communities from the guerrillas and continue to provide security against crime and violence.

Two weeks before the elections, on May 23, 18 people were massacred in the rural Peruvian town of San Miguel del Ene. The government immediately attributed the attack to the remnants of the Shining Path involved in drug trafficking, although no group has taken responsibility yet. The media linked the attack to Castillo and his campaign, whipping up fear of more violence should he win the presidency. Castillo denounced the attack and reminded Peruvians that similar massacres had occurred in the run-up to the 2011 and 2016 elections. For her part, Fujimori suggested Castillo was linked to the killing.

On the economic front, Castillo has been accused of being a communist who wants to nationalize key industries, and would turn Peru into a “cruel dictatorship” like Venezuela. Billboards along Lima’s main highway asked the population: “Would you like to live in Cuba or Venezuela?” referring to a Castillo win. As seen in the photos above, newspapers linked Castillo’s campaign to the devaluation of the Peruvian currency and warned that a Castillo victory would hurt low-income Peruvians the most because businesses would shutter or move overseas. Time and time again, the Castillo campaign has clarified that he is not a communist and that his aim is not to nationalize industries but to renegotiate contracts with multinationals so that more of the profits stay with the local communities.

Meanwhile, Fujimori was treated with kid gloves by the media during the campaign, with one of the newspapers in the above pictures claiming that “Keiko guarantees work, food, health and an immediate reactivation of the economy.” Her past as a first lady during her father Alberto Fujimori’s brutal rule is largely ignored by corporate media. She is able to claim that “fujimorismo defeated terrorism” without being challenged on the horrors that fujimorismo inflicted on the country, including the forced sterilization of over 270,000 women and 22,000 men for which her father is on trial. He is currently in jail over other human rights abuses and corruption, though Keiko promised to free him if she won. Also ignored was the fact that Keiko herself is out on bail as of last year, pending a money-laundering investigation, and without presidential immunity, she will probably end up in prison.

The international media was no different in its unbalanced coverage of Castillo and Fujimori, with Bloomberg warning that “elites tremble” at the thought of Castillo as president and The Financial Times headline screaming “Peru’s elite in panic at prospect of hard-left victory in presidential election.”

As I remember it, Castillo had run on a platform to nationalize many industries, including copper and other mineral mining, but was later reported to moderating that in order to ‘calm the markets’.  Who can say?

Sorry but I’ve lost track; had I included these items?

Seven Weeks of Disputing the Vote

​Earlier in the presidential race, Fujimori had taunted Castillo and his party, Peru Libre, for raising allegations of fraud. However, once the ballot count in the second round of elections on June 6 began to turn against her, Fujimori began attributing the changing winds to fraud, despite not having evidence of fraud. She sought the discarding of hundreds of thousands of ballots, which had the potential to reverse the result, since Castillo was 44,000 votes ahead.

International observers reported no evidence of fraud, either, even those like the Organization of American States that in the past have readily resorted to such accusations in order to run interference against socialist or left-wing candidates winning elections.

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

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