Peru reached the presidential elections with an extremely complicated social and health background. That scenario opens up a long list of challenges ahead. The recurring crises generated a collapse of public interest in the elections and the perception of the usefulness of the vote. Part of those challenges for the next government, be it Keiko Fujimori or Pedro Castillo, and the antecedents that feed them, are the following:
* The health emergency has devastated the country’s economy in such a way that poverty has increased considerably and unemployment, amid a slow vaccination program peppered with corruption that leaves many citizens frustrated and apathetic in the face of the elections.
* The next government will receive a country not only with great economic and social challenges, but the nation with the highest mortality rate per capita in the world by Covid-19.
* More than 180,000 people have lost their lives in Peru due to the virus, according to the latest update released by the government on June 1, which exposes the severity of the outbreak. This is almost triple the revised previous official figure.
A mototaxi transports health personnel on a vaccination mission in “Cerro El Agustino”, in Lima (Peru). Photo EFE
* In a nation where traditionally informal employment has cornered much of the economy, trade closures, in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus, further deepened poverty. This problem closed 2020 hitting 30% of the population, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INEI).
* Peru ended 2020 with a financial performance in the red. The economy fell -11.12%, the worst setback in 30 years, according to the National Institute of Statistics.
* Poverty reached 30% of its inhabitants. This is a 10% increase over the previous year, which is equivalent to more than three million new poor. One third of the Peruvian population cannot meet their basic needs.
* Although almost 50% of the population, around 15 million citizens, ended the year 2020 with a job, of them, half could only get an informal job, highlighted the INEI. It is also estimated than 83.9 percent of workers under 25 do not have formal jobs.
* Peru needs to recover from the abysses in its public coffers, because to alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic the country used part of its savings and increased its indebtedness.
* Last November, after weeks of protests and instability with three changes of presidents, Peru decided to borrow with a bond for 4,000 million dollars to one hundred years. “It was a very strong boost from the capital market and from global investors,” said José Olivares, director general of the Public Treasury of the Ministry of Economy.
* In a country where the vast majority of presidents elected to the polls since 1985 have ended up incarcerated or investigated, corruption is an unavoidable factor.
* Corruption has even crept into the national vaccination program, in a case known as ‘Vacunagate’, in which it was revealed that dozens of powerful people were inoculated with tricks and in secret. Scandal splashed to the then president Martín Vizcarra, and his wife.
* At least 487 people were immunized against Covid-19 before populations at risk and priority groups, according to the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, which worked on the Sinopharm vaccine trials.
* Keiko Fujimori has campaigned with a speech by “firm hand” against corruption in all its expressions, but his left-wing adversary, Pedro Castillo, has accused Fujimorism of being precisely a benchmark of this scourge in his country. Castillo is pointed out by his detractors as a promoter of communism, although he clarified that he did not belong to that party.
Source: AFP, AP, EFE and Clarín