It is important to bear in mind that Vizcarra has been ousted under the allegations of corruptions during his tenure. There is also a wide – spread belief among the voters that Vizcarra has been ousted due to his differences with the lawmakers and some other members of the Peruvian Congress.
The recent developments in the South American nation Peru are unique only in terms of the rapid frequency with which presidents were forced to leave after allegations of corruption and widespread protests sadly with loss of innocent lives. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Peru is in an estranged relationship with its own politics. There aren’t any convenient titles for Peru, neither has the country followed some sort of predictable path in the past. It is a strange amalgamation of political and economic characteristics much like the demography of the country that begins to define the disposition of the Peruvian nation.
“In a country that is roughly a couple of centuries-old; leaders have only occasionally been able to come to power with a clear voter mandate. Presently the country has a single Chamber of Congress which comprises of a hundred and thirty seats and a grand total of nine political parties; some of which have begun to expose the cracks that exist in their foundation,” opines Dr Aparaajita Pandey, Asst. Professor, Institute of Public Policy, Amity University, NOIDA.
“The Peruvian President, Martin Vizcarra was ousted earlier this month and his ouster has given him the requisite the qualifications needed to join the long list of Presidents who have either been impeached, imprisoned, or are being sought in criminal investigations,” says Dr Aparaajita, PhD from Centre for Latin American Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
However, it is important to bear in mind that Vizcarra has been ousted under the allegations of corruptions during his tenure. There is also a wide – spread belief among the voters that Vizcarra has been ousted due to his differences with the lawmakers and some other members of the Peruvian Congress.
“Vizcarra’s ouster and protests are not unique by any stretch of the imagination; neither is his alleged corruption. Peru has often been called the most corrupt country in Latin America and the unravelling of the Odebrecht Scandal led to a greater understanding of the patterns of corruption is not just Peru but across the continent,” she opines.
Views of a former ambassador to the region
“Peru is no stranger to such dramatic developments, in this decade it has seen 5 presidents in office. Alan Garcia was the second leader of the Peruvian Aprista Party and the only party member ever to have served as President (1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011). In April last year he committed suicide as the police neared to arrest him on corruption charges,” Ravi Bangar, former Ambassador of India to Colombia & Ecuador tells Financial Express Online.
Earlier, Alberto Fujimori, the first Japanese descent president in the continent resigned as he travelled from Brunei to Tokyo. He submitted his presidential resignation via fax. The Congress refused to accept his resignation, instead voted to remove him from office on the grounds that he was “permanently morally disabled.”
“Though it was to his credit that he brought an end to Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) and Tupac Amaru terrorism to an end and tamed inflation in the country and put the Andean nation on path to solid economic growth and development of social and physical infrastructure. He was arrested while visiting Chile in 2005 and tried and convicted for corruption and human rights violation. He is currently serving 25 years sentence in a jail outside Lima, the capital,” explains Ambassador Bangar.
Present situation & COVID-19
Peru, like many countries in the region, is facing Coronavirus pandemic challenges. Peru imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in the region to stop the spread of COVID-19 – but has still witnessed cases rise rapidly. As of date, its caseload is close to a million and more than 35 thousand deaths for a population of 32 million.
According to Ambassador Bangar, “The economic situation has been facing headwinds due to political uncertainty and low commodity prices. Peruvian economy in the earlier part of the decade was one of the fastest-growing in the world. However, it started to slow down since 2018. This year it is expected to contract over 12%, deepest nose-dive in three decades.”
The Coronavirus pandemic, low commodity prices, shuttered tourism sector, natural calamities (hurricanes Iota and Eta in Honduras, Nicaragua) add to the woes of the region exacerbated by high rates of pervasive inequality and expanding unemployment and underemployment.
However, the impact of these domestic developments in Peru in the region is unlikely to cause much turbulence. Chile has just held a referendum for a new constitution; Bolivia has elected a new president, reversing last year’s “coup”.
Next month there will be Congressional elections in Venezuela amidst fractured opposition, some calling for boycott and concerns on vote’s fairness. In April 2021, Peru will hold presidential and congressional elections. These will add to the region’s declining investment and trade climate as several countries continue to experience social, political unrest and economic uncertainty.
“The WTO projected a contraction in the value of the region’s exports in a range of between 13% and 31% for the first half of the year, due to the semi-paralysis that caused the spread of COVID-19 on the global trade. The value of Latin American exports contracted by 16% in the first half, at the bottom of expectations, amid continuing uncertainty about the region’s recovery” opines Ambassador Bangar, former Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO.
In conclusion, Ambassador Bangar says, “At present, the post-COVID 19 forecast for the global and Latin American economies do not appear very promising. The countries in the region will struggle to meet socio-economic targets. It will be interesting to watch the stand of the new US administration under Biden on global trade and investment and to the Latin America and Caribbean region as well as.