With the justification that they will coordinate to repatriate thousands of people (will Venezuelans return to their country in acute and persistent collapse?) and that they will “buy from Peru a set of products for the Local Supply and Production Committees, CLAP” —a socialist scheme of food assistance and state purchases with even international accusations of mega-corruption—, Pedro Castillo and Nicolás Maduro met in Mexico taking advantage of the CELAC summit.
The political effect of this almost surreptitious meeting remains to be seen internally. The Congressional Foreign Relations Commission has asked for explanations. However, outwardly, it confirms a matter that not a few denied —especially during the second electoral round—: the realignment of Peru in favor of Chavista Castroism in the major regional geopolitical game board. Something could be seen coming in this sort of underestimation —perhaps even complicity— of risks.
The same “centrist” former President Francisco Sagasti himself dismissed the dangers: “To fear a Havana-Caracas-Lima axis is to not know how things work”, he said relaxed in July of this year. Before that, former President Martin Vizcarra tried to become the secretary of the OAS in 2019 to remove Venezuela from the “center of attention” of urgent regional problems; and he promoted Cuba’s candidacy as nothing more and nothing less than a member of the UN Human Rights Council in 2020. As we can see, there have been and still are supposed and self-labeled “political centers” rather functional to the extremes. Do the moves that today the pro-Sandinista and pro-Chávez government is making in foreign policy represent all Peruvians?
Resistance to these ideological and political realignments with one of the most sinister dictatorial and continental schemes of recent times may be growing among the population. Is Castillo, his foreign ministry and his premier unaware that the International Criminal Court (or Court of the Hague, Holland) will formally open an investigation against Maduro and the high civilian and military hierarchy of Chavism for crimes against humanity as of 2017? Maduro’s head, by the way, already has active rewards. The Attorney General’s Office and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) are offering US$ 15 million.
Maduro is considered —together with Diosdado Cabello and others such as Minister Tareck El Aissami for whom a $10 million reward is being offered— the leader of a drug cartel, “Los Soles”, in collaboration with the Colombian narco-guerrilla group FARC since 1999. Since Chavism took power in Venezuela, Peru has had a certain distance in not giving it direct support (except in 2013 when the presidential duo Heredia-Humala and via UNASUR legitimized Maduro in Lima amid serious accusations of electoral fraud). The Peruvian square was hard to conquer for the resilient network of the transnational extreme left. Much was done to maintain that distance -now relaxed- by the pressure of public opinion. Not only was there an obvious political tyranny in office that attacked and violated all human rights and freedoms, but it had adopted -and continues to do so- an open criminal and criminal logic of power.
Thus, more than one million Venezuelans arrived in Peru. As that distance with Chavism is reduced by decision of the presidential prosenderism installed in the House of Pizarro in Lima, what happens —simple in form but decisive in substance— is that it helps to its external “stabilization” (betraying the yearnings of citizen liberation and of the real democratic oppositions of the plains); to the oxygenation not only of a simple or traditional despotic regime of political sign, but also of a project connected to dark criminal networks of transnational dimension.
It must be repeated: Chavism is a far-reaching power project that not only strengthened itself on the basis of a “revolutionary” and ideological process, but also, in the process, forged tactical collaborations and real strategic links with both drug trafficking and international terrorism. Peruvians would do well to assume greater caution and attention to the steps Pedro Castillo’s regime is taking to cooperate with the survival and expansion of this lethal power.