The South American nation of Peru, despite having one of the continent’s strongest economies has also been one of the most politically unstable nations in recent years.
That was evidenced Wednesday when Peru’s now-former President Pedro Castillo was overwhelmingly impeached and removed from office and was then subsequently arrested and charged with attempted rebellion against the nation’s constitution, CNN reported.
Castillo was then immediately replaced by his former vice president, Dina Boluarte, who upon being sworn in became Peru’s sixth president in just five years.
Impeached, removed, arrested and charged
The far-left socialist Castillo had been dogged by multiple corruption investigations and had already faced two failed impeachment attempts by Peru’s Congress when legislators began to discuss a third effort at impeachment this week, according to the Associated Press.
In response to that effort, Castillo threatened on Wednesday to dissolve Congress, scrap the constitution, and rule by dictatorial decree until new elections could be held and a new constitution is written.
However, Peru’s Congress reacted to those threats by skipping over the formalities of the impeachment debate and moving directly to a vote, in which the lawmakers voted 101-6, with 10 abstentions, to immediately impeach and remove Castillo from office in light of his “permanent moral incapacity.”
Just a few hours after his removal, the AP noted that Castillo was transported to a police station where he was arrested and charged with rebellion against the constitutional order.
“We condemn the violation of constitutional order,” federal prosecutors said, according to the AP. “Peru’s political constitution enshrines the separation of powers and establishes that Peru is a democratic and sovereign Republic … No authority can put itself above the Constitution and must comply with constitutional mandates.”
Ordered to remain in custody pending further investigation
Reuters reported on Thursday that Castillo faced an initial court hearing on the rebellion and conspiracy charges lodged against him, and though he was extended an opportunity to address the court and explain himself, he declined to do so.
The court ultimately ordered him to remain detained for at least the next seven days while an investigation into his actions continues and, separately, the court also ruled that police had acted appropriately in arresting him and dismissed Castillo’s claim of unlawful arbitrary detention.
Meanwhile, Castillo has requested that he be granted asylum in Mexico and Mexico has signaled openness to grant that request, which has led to ongoing “consultation” between the two governments over the feasibility of the idea.
Unfortunately, per Reuters, the stunningly rapid transition has sparked some protests and unrest and even small-scale clashes with police by Peruvians who still support Castillo and reject the ascension of Boluarte to replace him.
Corruption charges are nothing new for Peruvian presidents
As noted, Boluarte is now Peru’s sixth president in just five years, as all of her recent predecessors have been sacked and removed or forced to resign for various reasons, typically involving allegations of corruption, prior to completing their five-year term, per the AP.
The AP noted that nearly all of Peru’s presidents for the past 40 years have faced corruption charges, though Castillo was the first to be openly investigated while still in office, and he is now the second Peruvian ex-president to be held in federal custody, joining former President Alberto Fujimori who is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and murder during his tenure in the 1990s.