The president of the council of ministers of Peru, Aníbal Torres, one of the four survivors of the first Cabinet of President Pedro Castillo, has made public his letter of resignation this Wednesday, although in May he had already commented on his willingness to leave. Since then, his ability and legitimacy as a government interlocutor has declined, especially when he got involved in some very serious public speeches defending that Hitler, although he was a genocide, had improved the infrastructure of Germany. His resignation now deepens the crisis of the Castillo government, which faces the lowest popular acceptance since he took office more than a year ago, according to the Ipsos Peru firm.
Torres arrived in the inaugural Cabinet as Minister of Justice on July 30, 2021, as did then-Minister Pedro Francke, who were the only ones to take the oath separately. The Castillo government began with Guido Bellido as prime minister, the right-hand man of Vladimir Cerrón, the head of the far-left party that invited Castillo to be a candidate.
The lawyer was one of Castillo’s three legal advisers in the weeks after the ballot, in June 2021, when Fujimorism and allied conservative and ultra-conservative political formations questioned thousands of votes before the electoral court that gave victory to the rural teacher. Torres was born in the province of Chota, in Cajamarca, the same province from which the president is from, a factor that has been influential in some appointments to public office in this government.
The former teacher’s union leader won the elections qualifying his initial conservative and anti-system populist discourse, as a result of an alliance with the progressive left, represented by former presidential candidate Verónika Mendoza. However, the president broke that pact in February of this year when he fired minister Francke and progressive leftist prime minister Mirtha Vásquez. Torres took office a few days later, replacing Héctor Valer, who replaced the lawyer for less than a week.
Last Friday, as part of the reactions to the balance without self-criticism of President Castillo, a congressman from the Peru Libre party. “He believes that he has fulfilled his cycle and that he should give way to another person,” Américo Gonza said on television channel N.
”I take this opportunity to thank you for the trust placed in me, first as Minister of Justice, and then as Premier. I retire unloaded after having served, together with you, our country, especially the most neglected and forgotten people, “said Torres in the letter he sent to the president early on Wednesday. In the communication, the lawyer added that he wanted to return to university teaching and academic research.
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Pedro Castillo faces the lowest level of approval since he was elected, 76% dissatisfied according to an Ipsos Peru survey last month, and in addition, he is pressured by five prosecutorial investigations of corruption during the exercise of his functions. However, a similar rejection faces Congress, which has 79% disapproval, according to the same poll.
The first investigation of the president was opened at the end of his term by the former prosecutor, Zoraida Ávalos, for influence peddling in the 2021 military promotions. In May, the acting attorney general Pablo Sánchez initiated another investigation of Castillo, the former secretary general of the presidency, two nephews of the president, and the former Minister of Transport, Juan Silva for criminal organization, influence peddling and aggravated collusion in the bidding for a million-dollar public work in the Amazon.
In this case, known as Puente Tarata, his relatives, one of them a fugitive, would have colluded with interest managers of a construction consortium, and with Silva. Former secretary of the presidency Bruno Pacheco turned himself in more than a week ago, and has given information to prosecutors, and former minister Silva is still at large. The two interest managers involved are acting as informers before the Public Ministry.
In addition, the new attorney general, who took office at the beginning of July, opened a new investigation of the president a couple of weeks ago for the alleged crime of cover-up after the deposed interior minister, Mariano Gonzales, attributed his dismissal to Castillo’s discomfort. towards the creation of a special group of police officers requested by the team of prosecutors that investigates the corruption of the head of state and his entourage. Aníbal Torres was the prime minister who has remained in office the longest, just over five months, compared to those who preceded him in that position.
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