Peru’s new president names cabinet one week before Summit of the Americas

World Today

Peru's new president names cabinet one week before Summit of the Americas

Peru’s new president Martin Vizcarra swore in his cabinet Monday. That’s less than two weeks after his predecessor resigned rather than be impeached over allegations of corruption. It’s also one week ahead of the Summit of the Americas in Lima.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

After months bogged down in a political crisis, Peru has the chance for a fresh start.

Less than two weeks into the job, the new president, Martin Vízcarra, named his first cabinet.

They’re new faces for a public sick of the sight of politicians, as well as what analysts consider to be ‘safe hands’ in strategically important ministries – such as finance and energy and mines in the world’s second-biggest producer of copper.

The Peruvian government has been on the defensive for months. Former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is fighting corruption allegations and is under attack from a hostile opposition with a majority in congress.

But this changing of the guard provides the government an opportunity to begin with a clean slate.

The new foreign minister Nestor Popolizio’s first job will be to oversee next week’s Summit of the Americas, which will play host to U.S. president Donald Trump and leaders from across Latin America.

The summit’s theme of ‘democratic governance against corruption’ seems oddly appropriate at a time when corruption scandals linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht are shaking democracies – like Peru’s – across the region.

Ricardo Cuenca, director of the Institute of Peruvian Studies, said the summit could be an opportunity to look more deeply at the problem.

“Corruption is a cause of our institutional weakness but it’s also a consequence of that institutional weakness,” Cuenca explained. “It’s a very perverse circle which must be broken, otherwise we’ll never become a more mature society.”

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who resigned last month, was the first sitting president in the region to be forced out due to corruption links to the Brazilian firm.

As the scandal grows, he may not be the last to be ousted.