Pedro Castillo’s presidential win: A Peruvian trade unionist perspective
Fight Back! interviewed Cristiano Mayta, a trade unionist in Peru on June 10 as the country awaited the official results of the president election. Fight Back!: What is your organization?
Cristiano Mayta: I am the International Secretary of the union SINATREL at a Coca-Cola bottling plant. I am also a member of an organization called Socialist Left of Peru (Izquierda Socialista Perú).
Fight Back!: What were the conditions in Peru leading up the president elections?
Mayta: In 1990, Peru was transformed to a neoliberal model by the dictator Alberto Fujimori. We call this ideology “Fujimorismo” and we faced its consequences: lost labor stability and workers’ rights.
Since then there has been massively increased exploitation and underemployment. Basic rights in public services were converted into privatized services controlled by the so-called free market. Specifically, health and education were the most affected, because Fujimorismo also brought in high levels of corruption through lobbies that the businesses used to get contracts.
Fight Back!: Who is Pedro Castillo?
Mayta: He is the son of illiterate peasant parents. He stood out in his studies and rose to the level of a teacher with a Master’s in Educational Psychology. He worked in a small rural school long forgotten by the government. In 2017, he helped organize a national educators strike with his union. The strike was strong and prolonged until they won important victories that greatly benefitted students and families.
Fight Back!: Who is Keiko Fujimori?
Mayta: She is the daughter of the ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori. She was the first lady when he was in power. She went to university in the U.S., using Peruvian taxpayer money, to study business administration. She served in the National Congress from 2006 to 2011. In those five years, she was absent 500 times. She has run for president the last three elections, including this year’s, and has lost them all. She is in judicial proceedings for a variety of accusations, and the district attorney is seeking a 30-year prison sentence, and she is actually restricted in her travel for these reasons.
Fight Back!: Are there attempts to invalidate the election?
Mayta: Yes, there are attempts to not recognize and change the results by Keiko Fujimori. She is claiming there was fraud and sent a legal action to the National Elections Jury. She wanted to annul more than 800 voting certificates for locations that Pedro Castillo won. She wants to change the election results, fraudulently. Like the liar she is, a week ago, in front of the people, she signed documents promising to respect the outcome of the elections. It is clear that she is not accepting that she lost and is trying to use all the economic power and corruption to sabotage the results. With this, she is showing her real face to us, that she is part of the mafia that ruled our country for decades.
On the other hand, the people know that the winner is the teacher, Pedro Castillo. He made a call for calm and not engage with any provocations from the opposition.
Fight Back!: What needs to happen in Peru to achieve important victories?
Mayta: The first thing is to secure the victory of Pedro Castillo. The next thing to help transform the country is to have a popular constituent assembly to create a new constitution. This would change the model of political structure and economy and re-found the country as we head toward our bicentennial anniversary.