The giant wore a cowboy hat and carried a giant yellow pencil – the symbol of his political party – Pedro Castillo cut off an alluring, colorful figure while on a trip to Peru during his presidential campaign.
But none of the business classes in the boardrooms of Lima and the mining companies that generate the most wealth in Peru are surprised.
Castillo, a 51-year-old schoolteacher and union leader, emerged from political ambiguity To win the first round Shame on the Marxist ticket for last month’s election.
His party, Peru Libre (Free Peru), wants nothing less than a revolution in Latin America’s fifth most populous country, with the goal of bringing back the country’s free-market model for a generation.
The party said in a statement that foreign mining companies should be forced to pay 60 per cent of their profits to the state instead of the “unfortunate” 10, 20 or 30 per cent they now pay.
“If companies do not accept the new conditions. . . The state must move towards nationalization, “Peru warned Liber.
Vladimir Seren, the party’s founder, named Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Fibille, and Cuba’s Fidel and Raul Castro as “a group of presidents who give dignity to this continent.”
“The program dates back to the 1970s,” said Roxana Barents, a professor of economics at the Pontifical Catholic University in Lima. “You read it and you say ‘My God, what is it ?!” ”
Financial markets have plummeted – not only has Castillo won a landslide victory in the first round, but subsequent elections have shown that he has commanding leadership over his rival in next month’s vote, Kaiko Fujimori, the daughter of the country’s former authoritarian president. Alberto Fujimori.
In the two weeks since the first vote on April 11, the Peruvian currency has fallen more than 4 percent and hit a historic low against the dollar, while the stock exchange has fallen more than 12 percent. Spread between 10-year sovereign bonds and U.S. Treasuries with more than 71 basic points and the cost of confirmation against default shot-ups, five-year credit default swaps have reached their highest level this year since the first round.
One Recent business survey Three-quarters of Peruvian companies have postponed their investment plans until after the June election.
Former Finance Minister Alonso Segura said: “We do not yet have data on capital aircraft but all estimates prove that people are trying to get their money out.”
“I have friends who are asset managers and they are involved in the work, opening bank accounts for people in Panama and America. It is difficult to know how wide and representative it is, but it is definitely happening.
While it is unclear how much Castillo believes in Perry Liber’s Radical Manifesto, it also called for a new constitution drafted by a popular assembly and a reconstruction of the country’s free trade agreement.
Perhaps wary of the confusion of his leadership, he gave a few interviews and commented on the concept of presidential debate.
Knowing he would have to go on the offensive side, Fujimori traveled last weekend to the highest small town in the Andes in northern Peru, where Castillo has an electoral base. There, he challenged her to a heated debate on a stage arranged in a hurry on the city square.
True to his party’s manifesto, Castillo played to foreign multinationals who he said “dismissed the country”.
“Peruvians need to have gold, silver, zinc,” he said. “It is time to elect one of the people. There are no poor people in rich countries! ”
For those concerned about Castillo becoming president, there is comfort in the mathematics of Peru’s fragmented political landscape. In the next Congress, Peru Libre will be the largest party with only 37 seats out of 130.
Even with the support of other leftists fighting for a one-third parliamentary vote, Castillo will have to avoid impeachment at this point, leaving the two-thirds he needs to change the constitution.
“Look at his proposal. These cannot be implemented unless you have absolute control over Congress, “said Alfredo Thorne, a former finance minister.
“Where copper is priced, most mines around the world are profitable. You don’t have to be in Peru to mine copper.
With a month to go, Fujiomori still has a chance to win, although she is trailing by about ten percentage points and has been underestimated by many Peruvians who linked her to her father’s divisive rule in the 1990s and recently her own hurdle as a Congress woman.
More than two-thirds of the electorate voted for any candidate in the first round. About 10-18 percent said they did not know who would return in the second, and up to a quarter said they would cut their ballots.
“The problem with Fujimori vs. Castillo is that so many voters find both candidates fundamentally offensive,” said political adviser Tenio.