Peru Welcomes New President Pedro Castillo, a Former Teachers' Union Leader
Peru has sworn in a new president, Pedro Castillo, who is known to be a leftist former teachers' union leader. Castillo is reported to be facing challenges in building his government.
Aside from his forming his government, he is also being challenged to address the COVID crisis in a deeply divided country, according to an Aljazeera report.
A military parade is set to take place in Lima on Friday.
Castillo as Peru's President
Castillo has vowed to make changes to the country in his inaugural speech. He also paid tribute to Peru's indigenous people and teachers, while promising to fight corruption and ramp up the public budget on education and health, according to The Guardian report.
He noted that the country is founded on the sweat of his ancestors, adding that the story of the silenced part of Peru is also his story.
He also cited the Spanish colony that colonized the country and created a "caste system," which had differentiated Peruvians.
Castillo said that three centuries the country to the Spanish crown and allowed them to exploit the minerals that sustained the development of Europe.
He said that he would not be governed from the capital's presidential palace, which is the "House of Pizarro."
The newly sworn president said that he will be giving up the palace to the ministry of cultures so it can be used to display the country's history and origins.
Spanish King Felipe VI sat in the audience while Castillo was delivering his speech.
Castillo said that his first priority would be to fight the pandemic, which already killed more than 196,000 Peruvians and cause one in every 100 children orphaned.
He has loosened his grip on some of his more radical positions, including proposing to nationalize key economic sectors such as mining, oil, hydroelectric power, and gas.
The former union leader had also promised to respect private property, according to a BBC News report.
Peru President Pedro Castillo
Castillo was born in a tiny village in an area that is considered to be Peru's poorest places. He grew up helping his illiterate parents with farm work.
He eventually became a schoolteacher and did the job for 25 years. He was also a union leader for teachers.
During his campaign rallies, his usual message was never again a poor man in a rich country, voicing the frustration of struggling Peruvians.
He once said that he knows how it is to sweep a school.
His political opponents have pictured him as a left-wing extremist with ties to communist guerilla groups.
Castillo had denied those allegations, even moderating his rhetoric. However, critics remain concerned that some of his plans could affect one of the most stable countries in Latin America.
He started his political career in 2002 and ran for mayor, but did not win the position.
Castillo rose to his position in 2017 when teachers had a strike over pay and performance evaluation.
He defeated Keiko Fujimori, who is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori was also the favorite among business leaders.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by Mary Webber
WATCH: Peru's new president Pedro Castillo sworn in - from Al Jazeera English
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