Lima, Peru — During an Independence Day speech last week to Peru’s Congress, President Dina Boluarte addressed key government measures and what she sees as the future of Peru, which has had a tumultuous year since Boluarte’s predecessor, Pedro Castillo, was arrested for attempting to dissolve Congress on December 7, 2022.
The president’s 72-page speech, delivered on July 28, lasted around three hours and focused primarily on how she received the country after Castillo’s impeachment and subsequent arrest.
Criticism of the previous administration and the fight against crime
Boluarte expressed regret for inheriting a nation in “grave material, moral, and political crisis, with officials appointed based on political and partisan connections.”
The president also highlighted her administration’s commitment to fighting corruption and cooperating with the Public Ministry to ensure there is no impunity for corrupt officials.
She addressed the growing wave of crime in the streets. “No one is safe from crime now. Citizen insecurity is our number one problem, and we must confront it with energy and determination,” she said.
An important announcement came as President Boluarte revealed that the budget for 2024 will allocate 300 million soles (USD $84 million) for the construction of two prisons. Additionally, she anticipates a more substantial investment of 1,630 million soles (USD $453 million) for several prisons throughout the country by 2026.
Furthermore, Boluarte disclosed that she has presented a bill aiming to obtain power to legislate on citizen security for 120 days.
She explained, “Our purpose is to produce a total of 50 norms, with 33 specifically aimed at minimizing the threats of crime.”
Among the proposed measures, the President emphasized the intention to “strengthen” the fight against extortion, fraud, and other crimes.
Boluarte apologized to the victims during protests this year
Addressing the protests that took place against her government from December to March, which resulted in at least 60 deaths, President Boluarte acknowledged the damage caused and apologized on behalf of the State to “the relatives of all the deceased, civilians, police officers, and military personnel, as well as the injured.”
The President added that the Government will comply with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. This international organization, in a report, concluded that there were “serious human rights violations” during the protests.
“I extend my hand and propose to sign a reconciliation pact, a pact for life, for peace, for justice, for equality,” added Boluarte.
Bicameral Congress Proposal
The president also proposed a modification to the way congressmen are chosen, suggesting the establishment of a bicameral legislature similar to the one that existed in Peru before the 1993 Constitution.
The President emphasized the need to find an alternative to improve the functioning of the political system.
“Let’s not fear the debate about bicameralism … The idea is to have a Chamber of Deputies based on majorities and a proportional Senate.”
Overall, the big takeaways from Boluarte’s speech include: her inheritance of Peru’s drastic political situation, her commitment to fighting corruption and violence, her apology for the deaths during the protests, and her proposals to strengthen citizen security.