Eyes On Peru.

Lima, Peru

We don’t normally talk about elections in other countries, but this one is hitting home for us.

If you notice on the right hand side of this blog, under the “Com-patriots” category, you’ll see a link to “Calvary Chapel, Peru.” We have friends in Peru who established a church in Lima that is a varied as you can imagine. They do things with schools, make treks to help people in the mountains of Peru, help build schools, run classes and social clubs so Peruvians can learn English as a second language, help with the sick and infirmed, and a host of other things. (The pastor, who has known one of our people here for a long time, has established a tradition of getting people together to watch and root for the Florida Gators. In a soccer mad country, this guy is bring American football to the masses.)

Today, the people of Peru will head to the polls in what is being described as the closest election in Peru’s history.

Peruvians have the choice of electing the daughter of a disgraced and convicted president, and a far left leaning socialist.

Sunday’s runoff pits Pedro Castillo, a socialist newcomer, against the right-wing Keiko Fujimori, who is mounting her third presidential bid. Fujimori has dubbed the vote a choice between “markets and Marxism” while Castillo has described it as “a battle between the rich and the poor, the struggle between the … master and the slave.”

Princess vs. peasant.

The candidates’ respective backgrounds are as polarized as their views. Castillo, a rural schoolteacher and the son of illiterate peasants, squares off against Fujimori, the daughter of former dictator Alberto Fujimori. She is a polarizing figure due to her father’s record and her own political career, which has been marred by accusations of corruption. Fujimori had to abandon a campaign stop last week after a crowd pelted her with garbage.

No more poor Peruvians.

In a country with steady economic growth but where poverty jumped from 20 percent to 30 percent between 2019 and 2020, Castillo’s campaign slogan of “no more poor people in a rich country” is bound to resonate. And according to recent polls, Castillo is the slight frontrunner. An Ipsos poll taken last Sunday showed Castillo 2 percentage points ahead of Fujimori with 42 percent support. Crucially, 18 percent of those surveyed had yet to make up their mind. Any poll should be taken with a pinch of salt but especially in Peru’s case as first round surveys completely missed Castillo’s rise, with the final pre-election poll predicting a seventh place finish.

Castillo’s candidacy initially spooked markets. When he won the presidential first round with 18 percent of the vote, Peruvian stocks fell by 3.2 percent. On Wednesday, Peru’s currency reached a historic low against the U.S. dollar as wealthy Peruvians scrambled to move their money overseas.

Since his surprise first round of success, Castillo has tempered the more radical aspects of his platform. After accusing mining firms of plundering the country, he has backed off on a proposal to nationalize Peru’s mining industry—worth roughly 10 percent of its GDP—in favor of negotiating more favorable terms with mining companies.

Compounding this is that Peru has the highest per capita rate of deaths due to COVID and only 8.7% of the population has begun the vaccination process (received only one dose of the vaccine.)

One of the things that socialist Castillo has not backed away from is his plan to seize property owned by foreigners.

Such property would include the very modest home of the pastor of Calvary Chapel, Lima.

The pastor, his wife and his daughter would be kicked out of their home (most likely to return to the United States) without being compensated for the home they purchased and paid taxes on.

They would lose all of the equity they had in the home simply because socialists believe they own and control everything.

It would be a case of “thanks for the home and the money! Now get out!”

While Peru is a long way south of the US, there is a lesson to be learned for the US if the socialists are voted into power. There are many here in the US who want to do the same thing – seize private property for the benefit of the “state.” After all, the government knows how to run your lives and spend your money better than you do.

Sounds like some politicians here in the States.

We know that the path of what happens is in God’s hands, but we think that it is appropriate to ask that people, if so inclined, pray for this election, and the people or Peru.


One Response to “Eyes On Peru.”

  1. Rick Heilman says:

    Thanks A. Afterwit for the story. An update on the election. Monday at noon it is still too close to call. Castillo 50.076% to 49.9245. There are threats of military coups and rioting in the streets no matter who wins.