Castillo appoints a leftist party colleague as Prime Minister of Peru.
Peru’s President Pedro Castillo appointed a prime minister from inside his Marxist-Leninist Free Peru party on Thursday – 41-year-old Guido Bellido, who has never held public office and has only been a lawmaker for six days.
Castillo, who was inaugurated in Lima on Wednesday, presided over Bellido’s swearing-in at the Pampa de la Quinua, the site of the 1824 conflict that ended Spanish dominance in Peru and South America as a whole.
Bellido, an electronic engineer, promised to defend all Peruvians’ interests and progress “the fight against corruption.”
In April, he was chosen as one of 37 Peru Libre MPs to the 130-member Congress. Parliamentarians are allowed to occupy government positions in Peruvian legislation.
Bellido, like the president, comes from a peasant family. Both are dressed in typical white sombreros, while Bellido’s is from Cusco and Castillo’s, 51, is from Cajamarca.
Prosecutors are reportedly investigating Bellido for an alleged “apology for terrorism” made after he took up his parliamentary position last Friday, which guaranteed him protection from prosecution.
He appeared to defend persons who backed the Shining Path Maoist guerrilla group, which fought the state from 1980 to 2000 and was labeled a “terrorist” organization by Lima in statements to the Inka Vision online news site.
“The country was a mess; there were Peruvians who made a mistake and ended up on the wrong path – are they Peruvians or not?” “What do you have against the senderistas?” he said.
Some critics have attempted to link Castillo to the Shining Path movement as a “rondero,” or peasant patrol member, while he has stated he fought against it as a “rondero” or peasant patrol member.
The remaining 18 members of Castillo’s cabinet will be unveiled late Thursday, according to the president.
Castillo, a former rural schoolteacher and trade unionist, entered office on Wednesday, vowing a new constitution and an end to corruption. He has sworn to overthrow a quarter-century of neoliberal rule and provide impoverished Peruvians a better life.
On July 19, he was declared the election winner, more than six weeks after a rerun against rightwing free-market supporter Keiko Fujimori, whose charges of voter fraud had to be investigated by an electoral jury.
Under Castillo, Fujimori’s Popular Force party would be a “strong wall against the latent menace of a new communist constitution,” according to Fujimori, who is facing a corruption trial for allegedly receiving illicit money for two prior presidential bids.