Ricardo Cuenca, former Minister of Education and IEP researcher, speaks with Infobae.
The political crisis does not have when to end in Peru. In the Congress of the Republic they did not agree to approve the advancement of the general elections and the Government does not contemplate the possibility of a resignation of President Dina Boluarte. At the center of this entrapment, the mobilizations in Lima and regions of the interior of the country do not stop and it is envisioned that they can resume with more force in the coming days.
The government of Dina Boluarte is the second with the highest number of deaths in Latin America since 2000
According to a study by the Latin American Strategic Center for Geopolitics (Celag), the Peruvian president is only surpassed by the Colombian Iván Duque, who had 83 victims during his administration between 2018 and 2022.
Infobae sought out Ricardo Cuenca, former Minister of Education and researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP), so that he can provide us with his vision regarding the enormous polarization that is growing more and more, and that there is no horizon of when it can go down.
A few days ago he asked Congress to do politics and think strategically. What reading do you have that they rejected three projects to advance the general elections this week?
Raúl Molina presented his resignation letter to the technical cabinet of the Presidency of the Republic
The former vice minister of territorial governance asked President Dina Boluarte that there can be no dialogue without having established responsibilities for the more than 50 deaths during the protests.
Without any political vocation. What they have [los congresistas] it is a set of particular interests that are ahead of the public and national interests that are the best expression of making a good policy.
From the benches of the right they proposed an electoral advance, but with the term ‘complementary’. Let’s say, there was a possibility that the current parliamentarians were able to apply. How did you see this project that even opened the door for former President Pedro Castillo to present himself again?
Dina Boluarte would not have met with leaders of Ica’s Chinatown, but with her cousin and relatives
An investigation discovers that the President of the Republic received her relative Adolfo Ramirez Zegarra and leaders of some political parties such as Peru Libre.
It is an expression, and your example seems very good to me, very clear from what I say that there is a precariousness and a renunciation of politics. Because once again they are thinking of their particular interests, even under the risk that the same thing would have happened with former President Castillo. So, it is so much that they finally end up not having any political idea of the common, general and strategic good of the country.
Do you perceive the message that parliamentarians want to stay until 2026?
They want to stay until 2026 to carry out their personal projects.
On the other hand, the left proposed an advance plus a Constituent Assembly. Do you think it should go as a query?
The constituent is a kind of object of desire of a political group. That is, to pursue behind it to achieve the achievement of a series of struggles that they have had for so long. However, we must be very clear about two things regarding the constituent.
Which is it?
A first that has to do with the icing on the cake, which is the economic chapter of the Constitution. That is the one who wants to fight and is the one in the dispute, it is not true. Maintain the economic model or modify it. The second thing to be clear about is that there is also a risk that those who promote a Constituent Assembly for a change in the Constitution are not fully measuring. Because some of the surveys such as the IEP have also shown that the most conservative characteristics of the population are beginning to emerge. When asked if, for example, issues associated with the gender approach or the LGBTI population would appear in the constituent, the answer is no. So, I think that the obsequiousness for continuing behind a Constituent Assembly, as well as for private interests, are again forgetting to start from the analysis of the country that we are and of the risks and possibilities of making a change of magnitudes as big as the change of a Constitution.
The left focuses too much on the economic aspect, but as you rightly point out, the IEP survey reveals that the population is more in tune with reinstating compulsory military service and the death penalty for the corrupt.
The entire Peruvian authoritarian tradition.
Could it be a boomerang for the left to promote a constituent assembly when the points they propose, in the end, are not the highest priority for the people?
There is a huge double jeopardy to be noted. On the one hand, if you actually ask everyone about the economic model, which has the goodness of having reduced poverty in general, you end up having a better public image than it really is because I think that situation has improved. [la disminución de la pobreza], but it did nothing for the inequalities. But this issue of inequalities is very remote from the population, unless now a particular discourse is being seen.
So, if you ask people if they want to change the economic model, it is most likely that there is a percentage that does not want to change it, even of people who do not belong to the high socioeconomic levels because they have achieved, in some way or another thanks to this model, get out of poverty. It has not solved inequalities, I insist, but I think it should be reviewed and thought about. I think it has a lot of attachment among people.
And the second thing, taking Chile as a case, is that maximalist agendas are always ethical, but not efficient. So, behind this is something that I have always maintained that the right and the left come together because they are both very conservative. There they will agree, as they have done so far, in an anti-gender, anti-rights discourse that goes against a progressive social agenda. I mean the most radical right and left.
Constitution Commission is chaired by Hernando Guerra García.
They also rejected the Government’s proposal despite the fact that there was a schedule from the National Election Jury.
They are going to look for possible shortcuts so as not to advance the elections because they do not want to leave. That’s clear. On the other hand, the Executive, which has been wrong from day one in its way of acting, is cornered by the idea of a resignation that would mean, among other things, a public demonstration by the president [Dina Boluarte] that it has failed and that is not easy to convince a person either. So there is probably a trap that, if this is pushed further, the solution will be the resignation of the president. But not because she has chosen that option, but because effectively there are no more options because it is clear that Congress is not going to do it. I believe that there are a series of shortcuts and tricks on the part of Congress, but also an inexperience on the part of the Executive.
Is the only way out at this time is the resignation of President Boluarte?
Right now, yes.
President Boluarte is not going to resign. Some versions indicate that she wanted to do it on two occasions, but Alberto Otárola made her reconsider so that she did not do it. How do you see this relationship between the president and the prime minister, who seems to be in charge of the Palace?
What I believe is that both President Boluarte and the President of the Council of Ministers [Alberto Otárola]They do not have any leadership capacity and, therefore, they resort to much more authoritarian actions. They don’t have the ability to lead and I don’t think there is one that is behind the other. What they show is an enormous inexperience in how to govern, a lack of leadership, and this is expressed in the permanent and successive errors that they are having, not only to face the crisis, but to govern in general. In the ability to do politics, even though it is difficult with this Congress that has no vocation. Everything possible must be drowned out with dialogue and democratic instruments. What the president and the president of the Council of Ministers did so much is alienate the very few allies that he should have had among the citizens when at first he was very much in favor of Castillo, who later turns against Congress and, now, ends being inevitable because both Castillo and Congress are diluted because the departure of the president is demanded. They [Boluarte y Otárola] they took a very wrong route from my point of view.
The letter from Raúl Molina, former head of the technical office of the presidency, indicates that there must be an acknowledgment of political responsibilities for the more than 50 deaths before starting a dialogue. Alberto Otárola, who was Defense Minister during the December repression, was awarded the PCM and the Interior Ministers ended up being changed. There was no self-criticism.
One more example of the enormous political impertinence. When leadership cannot be exercised, one becomes authoritarian. And what they do permanently is show some very authoritarian traits that are typical of Peruvian culture in general. We are far less democratic than we think we are. So, given the impossibility of leading by seeking responsibilities and political solutions, what they do is continue to show strength, thinking that this is the way to lead a country in the midst of a crisis. For this reason, every time the president apologizes, she comes “but these are the bullies and we are not going to allow it.” Deep down, what I believe is that he wants to demonstrate a gift of leadership that is mistakenly supported by force and not by democratic dialogue.
President Dina Boluarte and Prime Minister Alberto Otárola.