© Reuters. Police officers stand before people protesting after Congress approved the removal of President Pedro Castillo, in Lima, Peru, December 7, 2022. REUTERS/Alessandro Cinque
By Marco Aquino
LIMA (Reuters) – Peru, the world’s No.2 producer and for years one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies, has seen a series of presidents ousted from office or imprisoned on allegations of corruption over the past three decades.
On Wednesday Peru’s Congress voted to remove President Pedro Castillo in an impeachment trial, the third he had faced since coming into power in July last year, and hours after he had said he would dissolve the legislature by decree.
Here is a rundown of Peru’s recent political turmoil.
PEDRO CASTILLO (2021-2022)
A former teacher and farmer, Castillo gained strong support in poor rural areas to win election for a socialist party, but his approval ratings fell quickly and he faced constant opposition from a fragmented Congress and accusations of “moral incapacity.”
He survived two impeachment votes before finally being voted out on Dec. 7 in a dramatic day where he had earlier tried to dissolve Congress, sparking allegations of an attempted coup.
MANUEL MERINO (Nov. 10-15, 2020)
A former head of Congress who led impeachment proceedings against his predecessor Martin Vizcarra and lasted less than a week. He resigned after two deaths during protests against his government sparked an exodus from his cabinet and widespread calls for his removal.
Lawmakers had said that they would launch impeachment proceedings against him if he did not resign.
MARTIN VIZCARRA (2018-2020)
Lawmakers ousted Vizcarra after media reports alleged he had received 2.3 million soles ($640,000) in bribes from two companies that won a public works tender while he was a regional governor years earlier.
Vizcarra, who had long clashed with lawmakers, strongly denied the allegations, but was voted out of office after a second impeachment trial in as many months found him “morally incapable” of governing.
PEDRO PABLO KUCZYNSKI (2016-2018)
Prosecutors investigated Kuczynski for favoring contracts with Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht while he was a minister under former President Alejandro Toledo.
Kuczynski initially denied any ties to Odebrecht, a company at the heart of a political corruption probe that swept the whole region. But he eventually acknowledged his consulting firm advised the builder on project financing. Kuczynski resigned from the presidency in 2018 amid pressure from Congress.
OLLANTA HUMALA (2011-2016)
Humala is facing trial over allegations he received $3 million from Odebrecht during the 2011 presidential election campaign.
Prosecutors have requested 20 years in prison. Humala denies the allegations.
ALAN GARCIA (1985-1990 and 2006-2011)
Former president Alan Garcia killed himself in April 2019 with a gunshot to the head when Peruvian police arrived to arrest him over allegations he participated in another Odebrecht bribery scheme.
A charismatic political leader who served two terms, Garcia repeatedly denied the allegations of bribery.
ALEJANDRO TOLEDO (2001-2006)
Toledo is accused of receiving a $20 million bribe from Odebrecht during his tenure. He is free on bail in the United States, but faces extradition proceedings to Peru.
The former president, who has denied the allegations, spent nearly eight months in a California prison.
ALBERTO FUJIMORI (1990-2000)
Fujimori is serving a 25-year sentence in prison for human rights abuses, including commanding death squads that massacred civilians in a counterinsurgency campaign during his government. He was later also found guilty of corruption in a major scandal.