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Security & Strategic Review - November 2021

PERU: Castillo battles claims of guerrilla sympathies in his cabinet

President Pedro Castillo’s first 10 weeks in office were almost completely overshadowed by a series of scandals in which key figures in his cabinet were alleged to support, or to have been members of, the Maoist guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso (SL). Castillo conducted a sweeping cabinet reshuffle on 6 October, in which he fired two focal points for this criticism – his prime minister, Guido Bellido, and his labour minister, Iber Maraví. The appointment of the moderate-left Mirtha Vásquez as Castillo’s new prime minister was an overt attempt to turn the page on these damaging allegations and get on with the business of governing. In order to truly distance his government from SL in the eyes of his opponents, Castillo will now need to conduct a strong crackdown on the guerrilla group.

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