A look at years of political chaos in Peru

Peruvian politics is marked by series of corruption cases and crises, the latest being removal of President Pedro Castillo.

A man waves a Peruvian flag in front of a line of police in Lima
A man waves Peruvian flag while police officers stand guard during a protest after Congress approved the removal of President Pedro Castillo, in Lima, December 7, 2022 [Alessandro Cinque/Reuters]

Peru has seen a series of presidents removed from office or imprisoned on allegations of corruption over the past 30 years.

On Wednesday, Peru’s Congress voted to remove President Pedro Castillo in the third impeachment trial since he came to power in July last year.

The move came just hours after Castillo had said he would dissolve the legislature by decree.

Here is a rundown of Peru’s recent political turmoil:

Pedro Castillo, 2021-2022

A former teacher and farmer, Castillo gained strong support in poor, rural areas of the country to win a divisive election campaign but his approval ratings fell quickly and he faced constant opposition from a fragmented Congress and accusations of “moral incapacity”.

He survived two impeachment votes before finally being voted out on Wednesday in a dramatic day where he had earlier tried to dissolve Congress, sparking allegations of an attempted coup.

Manuel Merino, 2020

A former head of Congress who led impeachment proceedings against his predecessor Martin Vizcarra and lasted less than a week.

He resigned after two deaths during protests against his government sparked an exodus from his cabinet and widespread calls for his removal. Lawmakers had said they would launch impeachment proceedings against him if he did not resign.

Martin Vizcarra, 2018-2020

Lawmakers removed Vizcarra after media reports alleged he had received 2.3 million soles ($640,000) in bribes from two companies that won a public works tender while he was a regional governor years earlier.

Vizcarra, who had long clashed with lawmakers, strongly denied the allegations but was voted out of office after a second impeachment trial in as many months found him “morally incapable” of governing.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, 2016-2018

Prosecutors investigated Kuczynski for favouring contracts with Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht while he was a minister under former President Alejandro Toledo.

Kuczynski initially denied any ties to Odebrecht, a company at the heart of a political corruption probe that swept the whole region. But he eventually acknowledged his consulting firm advised the builder on project financing. Kuczynski resigned from the presidency in 2018 amid pressure from Congress.

Ollanta Humala, 2011-2016

Humala is facing trial over allegations he received $3m from Odebrecht during the 2011 presidential election campaign.

Prosecutors have requested 20 years in prison. Humala denies the allegations.

Alan Garcia, 1985-1990 and 2006-2011

Garcia died by suicide in April 2019 with a gunshot to the head when Peruvian police arrived to arrest him over allegations he participated in another Odebrecht bribery scheme.

A charismatic political leader who served two terms, Garcia repeatedly denied the allegations of bribery.

Alejandro Toledo, 2001-2006

Toledo is accused of receiving a $20m bribe from Odebrecht during his tenure. He is free on bail in the United States but faces extradition proceedings to Peru.

The former president, who has denied the allegations, spent nearly eight months in a Californian prison.

Alberto Fujimori, 1990-2000

Fujimori is serving a 25-year sentence in prison for human rights abuses, including commanding death squads that massacred civilians in a counterinsurgency campaign during his government.

He was later also found guilty of corruption in a large scandal.

Source: Reuters