Will Vizcarra’s Strong Response Be Enough for Peru to Weather COVID-19?

Soldiers stand guard after the start of a curfew to slow the spread of the coronavirus, in Lima, Peru, April 22, 2020 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).
Soldiers stand guard after the start of a curfew to slow the spread of the coronavirus, in Lima, Peru, April 22, 2020 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).
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LIMA, Peru—Even before his quick, decisive response to the novel coronavirus, the irony of Martin Vizcarra’s accidental yet popular stint as president of Peru was not lost on many of his constituents. When voters here are asked to explain their reformist leader’s apparent honesty and effectiveness, they often respond cynically, “We didn’t vote for him.” They have a point. All five of Peru’s elected presidents between 1985 and 2018, when Vizcarra stepped up from the vice presidency to replace the scandal-plagued Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, have been linked by prosecutors to corruption. One, Alberto Fujimori, is serving a 25-year jail sentence. […]

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