Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has been ousted and arrested. Following the earlier police statement, the U.S. State Department issued a notice acknowledging that “Castillo is now a former president.”
State representative of Peru’s Justice Ministry Daniel Soria has filed charges of a coup attempt and abuse of power against impeached President Pedro Castillo with the Prosecutor General’s Office, the ministry said on Wednesday.
Castillo has faced staunch resistance by the right-wing opposition since even before he took office in July 2021, which called him a Marxist and compared him to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The political neophyte rose to prominence promising to govern for the country’s poor, its peasantry, and its indigenous people. Hailing from the mountainous interior of the country, Castillo was a farmer, a trade union leader, and a schoolteacher before becoming president.
Media reports said:
Earlier in the day, the Peruvian president dissolved the country’s parliament prior to a new hearing on his impeachment, which was the third formal attempt to oust him. Following the order, Peruvian Foreign Minister Cesar Landa announced his resignation, calling the decision a coup.
“The Ministry of Justice state representative, Daniel Soria, has filed a criminal complaint with the National Prosecutor’s Office against citizen Pedro Castillo for the alleged commission of the crimes of rebellion, abuse of power and serious disturbance of public tranquility,” the ministry tweeted.
The Peruvian General Prosecutor’s Office said on Wednesday that it launched a criminal case against Castillo on charges of a coup attempt and crimes against the state.
“The national prosecutor’s offices decided to file a case against then-President Pedro Castillo on suspicion of committing a crime against state power and constitutional order in the form of a coup with damage to the state,” the office said in a statement.
A release earlier issued by the Public Ministry of Peru explained Castillo’s arrest was specifically ordered under article 346 of the country’s penal code, as well as under the supervision of state prosecutor Patricia Benavides Vargas.
In line with Peruvian law, the crimes detailed by officials carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
In Peru, state representatives are lawyers with similar functions to prosecutors, who must report cases that have damaged the state’s security. The state representative’s office is part of the Justice Ministry, while the prosecutor’s office is an independent body.
Earlier media reports said:
Wednesday’s proceedings marked the latest in a series of political hurdles posed by conservative lawmakers resisting Castillo’s presidency, which only began in July 2021 and saw a total of three impeachment efforts made against the figure.
On November 30, opposition lawmakers filed a motion against Castillo due to his “moral incompetence.” The previous motion was filed following allegations of corruption.
However, the proceedings failed to reach the necessary 87 votes in parliament, with only 55 congressmen voting in favor of the impeachment.
Dina Boluarte, Pedro Castillo’s vice president, was sworn in as president of Peru on Wednesday afternoon after Castillo was deposed by the parliament and arrested.
Hours after declaring rule by “decree law” and attempting to abolish the national legislature, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo was taken into custody by police as his base of support evaporated.
Peruvian police said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that in pursuance of our duties, prescribed in the law on the National Police of Peru, the officers detained the ex-president of Peru, Pedro Castillo.”
The announcement came after Pedro Castillo declared “an exceptional emergency government” on Wednesday morning and attempted to dissolve the Congress in order to block a planned vote on his removal from office, which in Peruvian politics is called vacating.
Despite Castillo’s move, the lawmakers met anyway, and all but six voted to impeach him for “moral incapacity.” It was their third attempt in a year’s time.
In a statement following his declaration, the Peruvian Armed Forces disavowed his actions, saying that “any act contrary to the established constitutional order constitutes an infringement of the Constitution and generates non-compliance by the Armed Forces and the National Police.”
According to Peruvian media reports, Castillo was believed to have attempted to flee the presidential palace, but instead went to the prefecture of police, where he was detained. Video and photos posted on social media showed Castillo in police custody, but not restrained.
Vice President Dina Boluarte was summoned to the Congress on Wednesday afternoon to take the oath and replace Castillo as president. She is the first female Peruvian head of state.