“It is exhausting to exercise power in a macho country like Peru”


Correspondent in Lima

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In the first interview offered by the former prime minister to a foreign media, Mirtha Vasquez He said that the main reason for his resignation is because “there was no consensus with the president (Pedro Castillo) on a core issue: eliminate entrenched corruption” in the Peruvian police

Vásquez resigned from the Castillo Government in protest at the mistreatment suffered by the former Minister of the Interior, Avelino Guillen, who requested on January 14 the dismissal of Police Chief Javier Gallardo, who is part of the circle of friends of the Peruvian ruler.

Why am I resigning as Prime Minister?

Avelino Guillén’s successor in the Interior had to be chosen, a sector weighed down by serious complaints about corruption issues and the president and I did not reach a consensus on the person who should be appointed as minister.

It is a core issue because it shows the decision of the Executive to seriously confront or not the decomposition within the police system. As there was no consensus on a core issue: eliminating entrenched corruption, I chose to resign.

How did you manage to exercise power in a male space and where President Castillo distrusts everything and everyone?

In this country it is complex to exercise a position of power as a woman because machismo persists. It should be added that a woman like me, petite in size and petite in appearance, who does not have a loud voice or usually shout, is not seen as an imposing figure. In Peru, power is associated with strength and masculine ways of raising the tone when speaking. That is why it is complex to exercise power, because men refuse to take into account the opinion of someone who is apparently weak. You have to convince them that you can do it and it’s exhausting. I had to do extra work to earn the respect of the president and the cabinet itself.

What does the resignation of Avelino Guillen from the position of Minister of the Interior represent?

It is a bad sign of the fight against corruption because Avelino Guillén is a figure of integrity. His resignation is perceived as a victory for the endemic mafias in the interior sector.

When do you think the political crisis began in Peru, where there have been four presidents in the last five years?

It began in December 2017 with the illegal pardon of (Pedro Pablo) Kuczynski to former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000). Since then, a crisis of confrontation between the Executive and the Legislative has dragged on, which ended with the fall of several presidents and the closure of Congress.

The only logic in Peruvian politics is the logic of eliminating the other and this has made our already weak democracy precarious. We use legal mechanisms to end the other. It’s power for power’s sake. Politics is not used for the benefit of the great majority. It is the decomposition of an entire political class that takes advantage of the crisis to dispute what remains of power for subordinate interests.

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