When leftist schoolteacher Pedro Castillo became president of Peru in July, having won the election by a hair’s breadth the previous month, it didn’t require uncommon insight to predict that, sooner or later, the right wing would seek to impeach him and remove him from office. After all, Peru has gone through a jaw-dropping succession of unfinished presidencies, impeachments and presidential prosecutions in the past 20 years. What was less expected was that he would hand the opposition so much ammunition in its efforts to oust him.
It took less than four months in office for Castillo to face his first impeachment attempt. On Dec. 7, he survived that threat, but the odds that he will finish his term don’t look promising.
Castillo’s young presidency has been marred by policy and governance errors, but also by what looks like a distinct pattern of corruption and cronyism, the chronic malignancy afflicting Peruvian politics, which so many hoped he would avoid. As a result, Castillo has managed to anger and disappoint almost everyone, including his own supporters. By late November, his approval rating plummeted to about 25 percent, without majority support from any demographic.