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The new president of Peru, Pedro Castillo appointed his ministerial cabinet. A decision that generated controversy and concern among the Peruvian people due to the background of the new officials: one minister accused of terrorism and another is a former guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN).
On his first day in office, the leftist Pedro Castillo surprised many with the appointment of Guido Bellido as Prime Minister. He is a 41-year-old electronic engineer with no previous experience in a position of popular representation and who is also facing an investigation for the alleged crime of terrorism apology.
The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Bellido after the broadcasting of a video in which he had difficulty defining members of Sendero Luminoso, a terrorist group in Peru, as “terrorists.”
Bellido’s appointment immediately generated the rejection of the majority of parliamentary benches, including leftist and liberal groups. In fact, members who would be part of Pedro Castillo’s cabinet decided to withdraw from the decision.
“We demand that President Castillo rectify his actions and comply with what he promised in the second round and lead a consensus government that fights inequalities and promotes development, liberties and the exercise of full citizenship”, concluded the statement of the Morado party after the designation of Bellido.
Besides appointing as prime minister the engineer linked to terrorism, Castillo also designated Héctor Béjar as his chancellor, a sociologist and former guerrilla of the ’60s who is identified as an “admirer” of Fidel Castro.
Béjar is known for his involvement with the guerrilla in Cuba in 1962, where he met Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Upon his return to Peru, he participated in the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) and founded the ELN (a terrorist and guerrilla group).
In 1965 he led the ELN. In 1966 he was arrested in Lima and imprisoned for sedition. In 1970 he was released by a general amnesty granted by General Juan Velasco Alvarado.
As if that were not enough, Pedro Castillo also decided to appoint judge and university professor Walter Ayala as the new Minister of Defense, who recently filed a complaint against opposition journalists alleging organized crime.
The accused opposition journalists, Milagros Leiva, Beto Ortiz, and Phillip Butters, claim that Ayala’s complaint has “no legal or juridical basis”, and only seeks to harass and intimidate freedom of opinion.
Thus began the government of Pedro Castillo in Peru, with a speech in favor of more state controls, a cabinet with ministers of dubious credibility, and taking legal action against freedom of the press in the country.